MIDDLE EAST

Hamas slams ‘racist’ remarks of US envoy to Israel

HAMAS SLAMS ‘RACIST’ REMARKS OF US ENVOY TO ISRAEL

Hamas has said the remarks of U.S. Ambassador to Israel on Palestinian reactions over the controversial American move to recognize Jerusalem as an Israeli capital is a "reflection of his racism".

On Thursday, U.S. Ambassador David Friedman in an interview with the Jerusalem Post described Palestinian reactions as "ugly, needlessly provocative, anti-Semitic".

In a statement Saturday, Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum said: "Friedman's description to the Palestinian reactions … reflects this ambassador's racism, his ignorance of history as well as his disregard for Palestinian rights and international law".

Barhoum added: "With this policy, they [Americans] are partners of the occupation in all its crimes against our people and sanctities."

Friedman's statement would justify Palestinian moves to cut ties with the U.S. administration and ending Oslo agreement, the statement added.

In September 1993, the Palestinian Liberation Organization and Israel inked the Oslo Peace Agreement that resulted in the establishment of self-ruling for Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

The agreement stipulates Palestinians must refrain from armed resistance and have security cooperation with Israel.

Tension has mounted in the Palestinian territories since Dec. 6 when U.S. President Donald Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel's capital, sparking angry demonstrations in the West Bank and Gaza.

Since then, at least 15 Palestinians have been martyred -- and thousands more injured -- in fierce clashes with Israeli security forces.

Jerusalem remains at the core of the Middle East conflict, with Palestinians hoping that East Jerusalem -- occupied by Israel since 1967 -- might eventually serve as the capital of a Palestinian state.

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