US President Barack Obama's AIPAC speech will not force Hamas to recognize Israel, the group's spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said on Sunday in criticism of Obama's comments.
Obama explicitly referenced the need for Hamas to adhere to the Quartet principles after it recently entered into a Palestinian national unity government, whose formation he called “an enormous obstacle to peace.”
“No country can be expected to negotiate with a terrorist organization sworn to its destruction,” Obama said to cheers from the more than 10,000 AIPAC activists filling the massive convention center hall. “We will continue to demand that Hamas accept the basic responsibilities of peace, including recognizing Israel’s right to exist and rejecting violence and adhering to all existing agreements."
In response, Abu Zuhri was quoted as saying that, "The US administration will fail, just as all others have in the past, in forcing Hamas to recognize the occupation," and that Obama's speech showed the US was "not a friend to the people of the region."