While lauding reconciliation talks between Palestinian rival factions, the American special envoy to the Middle East called on any future Palestinian government to recognize Israel and reject violence.
“The United States stresses that any Palestinian government must unambiguously and explicitly commit to nonviolence, recognition of the State of Israel, acceptance of previous agreements and obligations between the parties, and peaceful negotiations,” Jason Greenblatt said on his Twitter page Monday, reaffirming the United States’ position.
The militant Islamic group Hamas, currently the ruling power in the Gaza Strip, has refused to concede to these demands and repeatedly calls for the destruction of Israel.
The statement was made in context of current negotiations between Fatah, the party of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, and Hamas. Hamas will give up its governing responsibilities but not its arsenal of rockets and mortars, according to reports.
Greenblatt praised the efforts to reach an agreement which many hope will relieve a dire humanitarian crisis in Gaza where residents receive only three hours of electricity a day, very little potable water and have an unemployment rate of 40 percent.
Greenblatt, who praised Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah and his Fatah delegation for visiting Gaza for talks with the party’s rival political faction.
“As the Palestinian Authority Cabinet visits Gaza today in preparation for the October 3 cabinet meeting, the United States welcomes efforts to create the conditions for the Palestinian Authority to fully assume its responsibilities in Gaza, as noted in the September 28 Quartet statement,” he said. “We will be watching these developments closely, while pressing forward with the Palestinian Authority, Israel, and international donors to try to improve the humanitarian situation in Gaza.”
Hamdallah crossed into Gaza, which is geographically separated from the West Bank, with a 30-vehicle motorcade full of Fatah officials and dozens of armed bodyguards.
Hamdallah noted that Israel is the only party that benefits from Palestinian division.
“It is time to take responsibility. The only factor that benefits from our division is the Israeli occupation,” he said. “We praise Hamas for the dispersion of the administrative committee and look forward to working closely with all factions and components of civil society for the benefit of our people in the Gaza Strip.”
Though prospects for Palestinian reconciliation are bright, Hamdallah was less than conciliatory toward Israel.
“We will continue to resist the Israeli occupation until the blockade over the Gaza Strip is lifted and the crossings are opened,” he said.