Well, if he will negotiate with the Taliban, why not with Hamas? Nonetheless, at some point, surely this becomes a violation of federal law — not that Obama is likely to care about that. And with Boehner on the verge of tears and capitulation across the aisle, and the mainstream media ever anxious to make him look good, there is absolutely nothing to hold him accountable. “The U.S. Has Been Speaking To Hamas Through Back Channels For More Than Six Months,” by Sheera Frenkel, BuzzFeed, June 4, 2014 (thanks to Jerk Chicken):
JERUSALEM — United States officials have been holding secret back-channel talks with Hamas over the last six months to discuss their role in the newly formed unity government, according to two senior diplomatic sources with direct knowledge of the talks.
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.”
Harf said she told a press briefing yesterday: “As you all know, Hamas is a designated foreign terrorist organization. The United States does not and will not provide it assistance. Per longstanding U.S. policy, we do not have any contact with Hamas. No members of Hamas and no ministers affiliated with Hamas, as I said, are part of this government.”
The U.S. government has categorically denied it was speaking to Hamas for years. Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Victoria Nuland said in 2012 while she was still State Department spokesperson that claims that the U.S. and Hamas had a back channel were “bizarre.”
“I want to say here that these assertions are completely untrue. There is no such back channel. And our position on Hamas has not changed,” Nuland said in a press briefing. A State Department spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Wednesday.
On Wednesday, Secretary of State John Kerry confirmed that the U.S. would work with the new Palestinian government as needed.
“We are going to be watching (the government) very closely, as we said from day one, to absolutely ensure that it upholds each of those things it has talked about, that it doesn’t cross the line,” Kerry said. The U.S. has said that the new transitional government, led by Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah and with ministries run mostly by technocrats, represents a significant step toward ending a seven-year feud between the Palestinian political factions Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip, and Fatah, which controls the West Bank.
Israeli officials slammed the announcement by Kerry, saying the U.S. was sanctioning terrorism….