MIDDLE EAST

Hamas calls US comments on unity deal ‘blatant interference’

Palestinians celebrate after Hamas said it reached a deal with Palestinian rival Fatah, in Gaza City October 12, 2017. (File photo: Reuters)

Islamist movement Hamas accused the United States of “blatant interference” in Palestinian affairs Thursday after US President Donald Trump’s envoy demanded they disarm and recognise 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 Israeli 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 a deal that should see the Islamists hand over control of Gaza to the internationally recognised 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 any such government must commit to non-violence and “disarm terrorists,” an apparent reference to Hamas.

Hamas and Israel have fought three wars since 2008.

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Last Update: Thursday, 19 October 2017 KSA 11:16 - GMT 08:16
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