Hamas spokesperson Hazem Qassem denounced Jason Greenblatt, President Trump's envoy to the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, in a statement on the organization's official website, after Greenblatt suggested that the terror group disarm and relinquish its control over the Gaza Strip.
"Greenblatt's attack on Hamas and its leadership, and his demand that the movement disarm, is a continuation of America's partnership with the Israeli occupation’s continuous aggression against the Palestinian people," Qassem said.
“These calls, which are carbon copies of the Israeli demands, afford a coverup for the Israeli crimes and confirm that the US is involved in the same Israeli propaganda machine that justifies the oppressive Israeli siege on the Gaza Strip.”
The Hamas spokesman was responding to a statement Greenblatt, the US special representative for international negotiations, wrote on Twitter Wednesday that the terrorist organization must relinquish control over the coastal strip in order for Palestinians living there to join the “real world.”
Reuven Rivlin meeting with US Middle East Envoy Jason Greenblatt on March 15, 2017 (credit: GPO)
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“In a speech a few days ago, Hamas’s Gaza leader, Yahya Al-Sinwar says (in Arabic) that they will ‘tear down the wall and tear out their (meaning Israeli’s) hearts.’ This message is monstrous,” Greenblatt wrote. “Is this what a leader does? This only hurts the Palestinians of Gaza. This old-line of thinking and ideology hurts all Palestinians. This can cause the situation to escalate and many lives could be lost. Will Hamas ever learn?”
“Hamas must relinquish its control of Gaza to the PA and disarm,” he continued. “If it wants to join the REAL world, it must renounce violence, recognize Israel, and decide to abide by past agreements. It’s time for Hamas to make some real decisions.”
Greenblatt has repeatedly condemned Hamas
, on Twitter and in interviews, and says that the US believes wrestling control of Gaza from the group is critical to the success of any effort to forge a lasting Israeli-Palestinian peace.Adam Rasgon contributed to this report.