In her daily press briefing Friday, State Dept. Spokesperson Victoria Nuland responded to a reporter’s question regarding the “major show of unity today between Hamas and Fatah within the Gaza Strip.”
The reporter asked: “Does that give you pause and particularly when it comes to U.S. aid to the Palestinian Authority?”
Nuland: “You know that our view on Hamas hasn’t changed, which is that any Palestinian reconciliation has to meet the conditions that we’ve all put forward, and that the Quartet has put forward for some time. There has to be a commitment to non-violence. There has to be a willingness to recognize the state of Israel, and there has to be an acceptance of previous obligations. So the fact that they were allowed to go celebrate their birthday in Gaza doesn’t change our view on whether or not and under what conditions we would see Hamas able to play a positive role in the Palestinian Authority.”
The next question was about the upcoming Quartet meeting which will be held in Cairo, Egypt, rather than in Amman, Jordan. The obvious speculation here would have been that Cairo was picked because of President Morsi’s close ties with Hamas.
Nuland did not offer any substantial explanation for the change of venue, saying she wouldn’t “read too much” into it.
Nuland also said that her department continues to work with Congress on releasing the funds intended for the Palestinian Authority, which were frozen by the House following the UN vote on Palestinian statehood.