US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton today said Hamas not only needs to shun violence, but also recognise Israel as a pre-condition for it to be involved in the Middle East peace process.
She also said that the Obama administration will work with all parties to help create an independent and viable Palestinian state in both the West Bank and Gaza, and provide Israel with the peace and security that it has sought.
"We have a very clear policy toward Hamas, and Hamas knows the conditions that have been set forth. They must renounce violence. They must recognise Israel. And they must agree to abide by prior agreements that were entered into by the Palestinian Authority," Clinton told reporters during a joint media availability with the Special US Envoy to the Middle East George Mitchell.
Mitchell returned from more than a week-long trip to the Middle East – his first in this new position. He is expected to head back to the region later this month.
"We are just at the beginning of this deep and consistent engagement that we are part of, that Senator Mitchell is leading for our Administration but our conditions with respect to Hamas have not and will not change," Clinton said in response to a question.
"It is our hope that the work that needs to be done to move the parties towards an effort to settle many of the disputes that they currently confront will be effective," she said, adding Hamas knows that it must stop the rocket fire into Israel.