Hamas must recognize Israel as a condition for talks with the administration to be formed by President-elect Barack Obama, his spokesman Dennis McDonough said Saturday night.
He was responding to a Hamas statement on Friday that it wanted to talk with the President-elect Obama despite negative statements Hamas made during the recent presidential campaign.
During the US presidential election campaign, Obama's spokesman stated, "Sen. Obama strongly opposes talking to Hamas, a terrorist group committed to Israel's destruction. As president, he will work to isolate Hamas and target its resources, and rejects any dialogue until Hamas recognizes Israel, renounces terrorism, and abides by previous agreements."
Khaled Mashaal, leader of the Syrian-based political office of Hamas, told British Sky News Saturday that the terrorist organization is ready to talk with the new Obama government "on the basis that the American administration respects our rights and our options."
On Friday, de facto Gaza prime minister and Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh commented, "We are ready to hold a serious dialogue with the new United States president."
Mashaal cautioned the U.S. that if it wants to be involved in the Middle East, it has "no other option than deal with Hamas because we are a real force on the ground."