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Hamas Accuses U.S. of Trying to Thwart Palestinian Unity After Statement by Trump's Envoy

Hamas calls the appeal by Jason Greenblatt to recognize Israel and disarm a 'blackmail attempt,' accuses U.S. of meddling in internal Palestinian affairs

Hamas issued a statement on Thursday rejecting what it called the "blackmail attempts" by the U.S. administration and the one-sided support of Israel, reflected in remarks made earlier by Jason Greenblatt, U.S. President Donald Trump's special envoy for the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.
According to Hamas, Greenblatt's statement constitutes a blunt pursuit to meddle in internal Palestinian affairs and was meant to throw a wrench in the works of Palestinian reconciliation between Hamas and Fatah. Hamas added that it was determined to continue with all aspects of the rapprochement efforts and that any bids to thwart or delay the process will not distract the organization. 
A member of the PLO's executive committee and an advisor to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas struck a similar tone on Thursday, saying that Greenblatt's position constitutes a blatant intervention in internal Palestinian affairs.
Greenblatt issued Washington’s first official response to the reconciliation deal earlier on Thursday, just hours before landing in Egypt to discuss the agreement and Israeli-Palestinian peace with officials in Cairo. 
According to Greenblatt, any Palestinian government must "unambiguously and explicitly" commit to the conditions set by the Quartet: Refraining from violence, recognizing Israel, and accepting previous agreements, including disarming terrorists and committing to peace.
The statement was released two days after Israel’s security cabinet decided that the country will not engage in political negotiations with a Palestinian unity government, if such a government is indeed established. The ministers set conditions that must be met for Israel to negotiate with the Palestinian government, including the demand that Hamas abides by the Quartet’s conditions of recognizing Israel and ceasing terrorist activity.
On Monday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that while Israel would not recognize or accept the reconciliation agreement, it would refrain from preventing its implementation or breaking off relations with the Palestinian Authority.

Jack Khoury
Haaretz Correspondent
read more: https://www.haaretz.com/middle-east-n…/palestinians/1.818165

Hamas Accuses U.S. of Trying to Thwart Palestinian Unity

Tags: #HAMAS

Video of the Week New Clashes Erupt Between Israeli Security Forces, Muslim Worshippers

Temple Mount temporarily closed to Jewish visitors after clashes with police




The Temple Mount was temporarily closed to Jewish visitors on Wednesday at the order of Jerusalem District Commander Yoram Halevy after Jews broke visitation rules at the holy site, police said. The Jewish visitors were expelled from the compound for bringing sacred books to the Mount and trying to pray there. After one of the individuals was cautioned, another took out a holy book, and the group was expelled. Meanwhile, renewed clashes erupted between protesters and Israeli security forces near the Lion's Gate in the Old City, where police used stun grenades against the demonstrators. A regular dynamic has developed involving clashes between Palestinians and Israel Police over the past several days near the Lion's Gate. Dozens of Palestinians are present at the site on a regular basis, urging devotion to the Al-Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount and condemning Israel. During Muslim prayer times, particularly the midday and nighttime prayers, hundreds and sometimes even thousands have been gathering there.

There have been outbreaks of violence during these periods, including stone-throwing or physical confrontations with the police. In most of these incidents, the police have been using stun grenades and sponge-tipped bullets to disperse the crowds. In a number of cases, journalists in the area have also suffered violence at the hands of the police. On Tuesday, Hassan Shaalan, a reporter for the Ynet news website, was struck by a policeman even after he identified himself as a member of the press. A group of Jerusalem-based journalists released a statement of condemnation over the incident and called on the police to permit reporters to do their jobs. The Jerusalem Police responded: "This involved an incident that took place in the course of violent disturbances of the peace that occurred in Jerusalem while the police were acting to remove the demonstrators from the street after some of them refused to vacate. The forces working on the scene are under constant threat to their lives. http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/1.802141

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