Hamas Accuses U.S. of Trying to Thwart Palestinian Unity After Statement by Trump's Envoy

Hamas calls the appeal by Jason Greenblatt to recognize Israel and disarm a 'blackmail attempt,' accuses U.S. of meddling in internal Palestinian affairs

Members of Hamas attend a funeral in Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip, August 17, 2017.
IBRAHEEM ABU MUSTAFA/REUTERS

Hamas issued a statement on Thursday rejecting what it called the "blackmail attempts" by the U.S. administration and the one-sided support of Israel, reflected in remarks made earlier by Jason Greenblatt, U.S. President Donald Trump's special envoy for the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.

According to Hamas, Greenblatt's statement constitutes a blunt pursuit to meddle in internal Palestinian affairs and was meant to throw a wrench in the works of Palestinian reconciliation between Hamas and Fatah. Hamas added that it was determined to continue with all aspects of the rapprochement efforts and that any bids to thwart or delay the process will not distract the organization. 

A member of the PLO's executive committee and an advisor to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas struck a similar tone on Thursday, saying that Greenblatt's position constitutes a blatant intervention in internal Palestinian affairs.

Greenblatt issued Washington’s first official response to the reconciliation deal earlier on Thursday, just hours before landing in Egypt to discuss the agreement and Israeli-Palestinian peace with officials in Cairo. 

According to Greenblatt, any Palestinian government must "unambiguously and explicitly" commit to the conditions set by the Quartet: Refraining from violence, recognizing Israel, and accepting previous agreements, including disarming terrorists and committing to peace.

The statement was released two days after Israel’s security cabinet decided that the country will not engage in political negotiations with a Palestinian unity government, if such a government is indeed established. The ministers set conditions that must be met for Israel to negotiate with the Palestinian government, including the demand that Hamas abides by the Quartet’s conditions of recognizing Israel and ceasing terrorist activity.

On Monday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that while Israel would not recognize or accept the reconciliation agreement, it would refrain from preventing its implementation or breaking off relations with the Palestinian Authority.