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October 19, 2017 10:06 am

Trump Aide Jason Greenblatt: Palestinian Unity Government Must Recognize Israel, Disarm Hamas

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Members of the Hamas terror group’s Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades in Gaza in January 2017. Photo: Abed Rahim Khatib / Flash90. – President Donald Trump’s international negotiations representative, Jason Greenblatt, called on Thursday on the Gaza-ruling Palestinian terror group Hamas to disarm and renounce violence amid new attempts to form a unity government with its longtime rival Fatah.

“The United States reiterates the importance of adherence to the [Middle East] Quartet principles: any Palestinian government must unambiguously and explicitly commit to nonviolence, recognize the State of Israel, accept previous agreements and obligations between the parties — including to disarm terrorists — and commit to peaceful negotiations,” Greenblatt said in a statement.

“If Hamas is to play any role in a Palestinian government, it must accept these basic requirements,” he said.

Greenblatt’s statement marked the first public comments made by an American official following the latest reconciliation attempt between Hamas and the Palestinian Authority’s ruling Fatah party.

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The US envoy’s remarks echoed Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s official position on the matter. Israel will not negotiate with a Palestinian unity government as long as Hamas does not recognize the Jewish state, disarm and renounce terrorism, in accordance with the Quartet principles, the Prime Minister’s Office said earlier this week.

Israel also conditioned negotiations on Hamas’s return of two Israeli civilians and the bodies of two Israeli soldiers it is currently holding, and called on the terror group to sever ties with Iran.

Hamas member Bassem Naim called Greenblatt’s statement a “blatant interference in Palestinian affairs,” and accused the American official of bowing to Israeli pressure, AFP reported.

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