U.S. officials and members of Hamas have been meeting in Jordan, Egypt, and Qatar, sources say.
The meetings were held between U.S. intermediaries and Hamas’ leadership, which lives outside the Gaza Strip in third-party countries ranging from Egypt to Qatar and Jordan. Topics included the ceasefire agreement with Israel and the recently formed unity government between Hamas and Fatah.
During the talks, Hamas gave assurances that allowed the U.S. to support the unity government, despite heavy pressure by the Israeli government for them to condemn it, the diplomatic officials — one American and one Palestinian — said. They said those assurances including a commitment to maintaining a ceasefire with Israel.
“Our administration needed to hear from them that this unity government would move toward democratic elections, and toward a more peaceful resolution with the entire region,” said one U.S. official familiar with the talks. He spoke on condition of anonymity, as the U.S, government’s official stance is that it has not, and will not, talk to Hamas until certain preconditions are met. “It was important to have that line of communication,” the U.S. official said.
State Department deputy spokesman Marie Harf denied the talks. “These assertions are completely untrue,” Harf told BuzzFeed. “There is no such back channel. Our position on Hamas has not changed.”
Full article: The U.S. Has Been Speaking To Hamas Through Back Channels For More Than Six Months (Buzzfeed)