The Palestinian resistance movement Hamas says US President Donald Trump is smearing the reputation of Palestinian "resistance" in favor of the Israeli occupation.
Hamas Spokesperson Fawzi Barhum made the remarks on Monday, a day after Trump, speaking at a summit of Arab and Muslim leaders in the Saudi capital Riyadh, called for unity against "Islamic terror," specifically naming Hamas and drawing parallels between the resistance movement and the Daesh Takfiri terrorist group.
Trump's comments had been "aimed at besmirching the reputation of the Palestinian resistance," said Barhum, adding that the movement refused to be treated as a "terrorist" organization.
Meanwhile, top Hamas official Mushir al-Masri also lambasted Trump's provocative remarks, saying the US president was "aligning himself with the policies of the [Israeli] occupier" regime.
The resistance movement is a leading force in the fight against Israel in Gaza Strip, which has waged three wars against the territory since 2007, killing thousands of Palestinians.
The last war began in early July 2014 and ended on August 26 the same year. It killed nearly 2,200 Palestinians and wounded over 11,100 others. The Gaza Strip has been under an Israeli siege since June 2007. The blockade has caused a decline in living standards as well as unprecedented unemployment and poverty in the coastal enclave.
The Palestinian resistance movement has ruled over the Israeli-blockaded Gaza sliver since 2006, when it scored a landslide victory in legislative polls.
Hamas officials' remarks came as the US president is visiting the occupied territories after concluding his two-day visit to Saudi Arabia on Sunday.
The US president on Monday visited the so-called Western Wall in the Old City of the occupied East Jerusalem al-Quds, becoming the first American president to make such a trip, a highly controversial move because the site is a lightning rod in ongoing confrontations between Palestinian worshipers and Jewish extremists and Trump's visit is likely to be seen as taking sides in the row.
Later in the day, Trump held talks with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and will also have a meeting on Tuesday with Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas.
Trump's visit to the occupied territories has faced a general strike carried out by Palestinians and activists both in the occupied West Bank and inside Israel, showing solidarity with over 1,500 Palestinian hunger strikers in Israeli prison.
They also expressed their opposition with the resumption of the so-called peace process between Israeli regime and the Palestinian Authority (PA). Clashes were also reported on Monday afternoon erupted between Israeli soldiers and Palestinian protesters.