The Middle East advocacy group J Street is urging the United States to negotiate with the terror group Hamas, which announced that it has formed a unity government with the opposing Fatah Palestinian political party.
J Street is now advocating that the United States include Hamas in its efforts to form a peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians.
J Street’s announcement was issued after a top Hamas official made it clear that the new Palestinian unity government would not recognize Israel or renounce terrorism.
"J Street regards today's news of a preliminary agreement on political reconciliation between Fatah and Hamas with caution and urges the United States to press forward with an even more assertive effort to forge a two-state solution," the group said in a statement.
The group said that it recognizes "several important realities: first, that one makes peace with one’s enemies not one’s friends; second, that Hamas—although weaker today—still has a significant base of political support within Palestinian society; and, third, that overcoming the split between Fatah and Hamas (and between the West Bank and Gaza) has always been a condition for effective resolution of the conflict."
One top official with a pro-Israel organization expressed disgust with J Street’s statement, saying: "A pro-Israel organization would suggest that strong Palestinian support for Hamas is a reason NOT to make security concessions that endanger Israelis."