The Islamic Hamas movement on Thursday said U.S. President Barack Obama's speech reflected a change in diplomatic approach different from that of his predecessor George Bush's, but criticized the way in which Obama addressed Hamas.
"It is full of courtesies and depends on soft diplomacy," Hamas spokesman Fawiz Barhoum said, adding that the speech was "different from the languages of former U.S. presidents."
In his speech to reach out to the Muslim world, Obama stressed the need of a Palestinian statehood alongside Israel, renewed the U.S. commitment to maintaining alliance with Israel and called on Hamas to renounce violence and recognize the Jewish state's right in existence.
"He did not talk about respecting the democratic choices of the Palestinian people who voted for Hamas," Barhoum said in an interview with Xinhua.
Israel and Egypt maintained the closure of the Gaza Strip in 2007 after Hamas took over security installations in the coastal territory.
"Obama's speech lacked practical steps to lift the siege, ending the Israeli aggression and stopping settlement in West Bank," Barhoum continued.
The United States classifies Hamas as a terrorist organization, but Barhoum argued that Hamas was a "movement using legitimate resistance to defend the people."
He also slammed the speech for not "talking about war crimes Israel has committed" during its major offensive in the Gaza Strip in December and January.