In January, reports revealed that the United States had been involved in back-channel negotiations with Hamas for at least six months while discussing the formation of a new unity government in the Gaza Strip. According to a report from Buzzfeed’s Sheera Frenkel, topics discussed include a ceasefire agreement with Israel:
During the talks, Hamas gave assurances that allowed the U.S. to support the unity government, despite heavy pressure by the Israeli government for them to condemn it, the diplomatic officials — one American and one Palestinian — said. They said those assurances including a commitment to maintaining a ceasefire with Israel.
So, how has Hamas repaid the Obama administration for conferring such legitimacy on an organization the United States has designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization since 1997? By declaring an intifada against Israel, of course.
“Hamas called on Palestinians Friday to declare an intifada throughout the West Bank and to confront Israeli ‘forces of Occupation,’” Haaretz’s Jack Khoury reported on Friday, “be it through a popular uprising or individual action.
Hassan Badran, Hamas’ international spokesman in Gaza, posted Friday on Facebook calling for Palestinians in the West Bank to impede the Israeli army’s movement around the West Bank, particularly in the Hebron area, where three Israeli teens are feared kidnapped.
In 2008, the president expressed indignation over the suggestion that his government would open up negotiations with terrorist organizations, and specifically Hamas. “I have been adamant about not negotiating with Hamas, a terrorist organization that has vowed to destroy Israel and won’t recognize them,” Obama insisted.
That’s probably one promise the president wishes he had kept.