A senior Hamas leader denounced demands by the Trump administration that the terror group be disarmed, and that its leadership must recognize the State of Israel following the reconciliation agreement between the Palestinian Authority and Hamas.
Last week, Hamas and the Palestine Liberation Organization-led Palestinian Authority inked a “final” reconciliation agreement, forming a united government for the first time in a decade.
Following the signing of the agreement, Israel announced it would not negotiate with the Hamas-PLO unity government.
On Wednesday, President Trump’s special envoy to the Middle East Jason Greenblatt demanded that in light of Hamas’ new position in the PA, the terror group must disarm, recognize Israel, and adhere to all other agreements and commitments the PA has made over the past quarter century.
"All parties agree that it is essential that the Palestinian Authority be able to assume full, genuine, and unhindered civil and security responsibilities in Gaza and that we work together to improve the humanitarian situation for Palestinians living there," Greenblatt said.
"The United States reiterates the importance of adherence to the 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.
"If Hamas is to play any role in a Palestinian government, it must accept these basic requirements."
Hamas on Thursday blasted Greenblatt's statement, accusing the United States of "blatantly interfering in matters that belong only to the Palestinian people. We have the right to choose a government that is suitable for the Palestinians."
A spokesman for the terror group added that "Jason Greenblatt's statement contradicts previous statements that supported the internal Palestinian reconciliation, and was put out under pressure from Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and his extremist government."
At a rally in the Gaza Strip on Thursday, Hamas’ second highest ranking military leader, Yahya Sinwar, not only denounced Greenblatt and the Trump administration’s demand, but declared that Hamas still has every intention of annihilating the State of Israel.
"Gone is the time in which Hamas discussed recognition of Israel. The discussion now is about when we will wipe out Israel," said Sinwar.
"No one has the ability to extract from us recognition of the occupation."
"No one will disarm us. No one can disarm Hamas."
Prior to the reconciliation agreement between the PA and Hamas, President Trump had pushed for a Middle East peace summit intended to reboot final status negotiations between Israel and the PA, which have been frozen since 2014.