Secretary of State John Kerry told the BBC on Tuesday that any moves to “open crossings and get food in and reconstruct and have greater freedom” in the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip must be coupled “with a greater responsibility towards Israel, which means giving up rockets.”The necessary disarming of Hamas terrorists in order to stabilize Gaza and make reconstruction possible is a topic that reporters have pressed Psaki on. It remains to be seen how committed the US State Department is to agreements to keep illegal weapons out of Gaza.
...Kerry’s statement echoes comments by U.S. officials stretching back to the opening of the current round of hostilities, with Obama administration officials being explicit that disarming Hamas must be part of any Israeli draw-down or ceasefire.
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel had explicitly called for Hamas to be disarmed as long ago as last month.
On Tuesday State Department Spokeswoman Jen Psaki was explicit that the demilitarization of the Gaza Strip is “certainly something we support.”
The Palestinian Authority is obligated by the Wye Accords to “establish and vigorously and continuously implement a systematic program for the collection and appropriate handling” of any weapons in the Gaza Strip except those permitted by the earlier 1995 Oslo II agreements [PDF], which quite pointedly exclude Hamas’s arsenal.Not surprisingly, Hamas leaders claim they will not give up its rockets.
It remains to be seen if the Obama administration is going to take no for an answer.
|Ismail Haniyeh, a senior political leader of Hamas|
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