Hamas calls US demand that it disarm before unity ‘blatant interference’

The Gaza-based terrorist group Hamas on Thursday accused the United States of “blatant interference” in Palestinian affairs after US President Donald Trump’s envoy demanded it disarm and recognize Israel in any unity government.

“This is blatant interference in Palestinian affairs because it is the right of our people to choose its government according to their supreme strategic interests,” senior Hamas official Bassem Naim told AFP.

He accused Jason Greenblatt, Trump’s special representative for international negotiations, of bowing to pressure from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s right-wing government.

“This statement comes under pressure from the extreme right-wing Netanyahu government and is in line with the Netanyahu statement from two days ago,” Naim said.

Hamas and rival party Fatah have agreed on a deal that should see the terrorist group hand over control of Gaza to the internationally recognized Palestinian Authority by December 1, with talks also expected on forming a unity government.

Earlier Thursday, Greenblatt said in his first detailed response to the reconciliation agreement that Hamas must disarm and commit to nonviolence before being allowed to implement a highly touted unity deal with Fatah.

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

In the wake of the agreement, Israel said it would not negotiate with a Palestinian unity government that includes Hamas unless it complied with the Quartet principles.

The security cabinet of senior ministers further demanded the terrorist organization sever all ties to Iran, and return the Israeli civilians and bodies of soldiers being held in Gaza.

At the time, Hamas similarly accused Israel of interfering.

Though Israel said it would not engage in peace talks until the conditions are met, it did not sever ties with the PA.

The latest reconciliation efforts come as Trump has sought to revive peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians.

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