"Hamas is a hostile group in the eyes of the United States," US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Wednesday during a Jerusalem press conference with Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni.
Rice's remarks came hours after the Israeli cabinet declared the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip a hostile entity and pledged to curb energy supplies to the 1.5 million Palestinians living in the coastal territory.
"The US will not abandon the innocent Palestinians in Gaza," Rice said, but voiced concern over Hamas's takeover of the Strip.
Livni said Israel expected the Palestinians "to understand that Israeli security is in their own interests," adding that the Palestinians must acknowledge "that supporting Hamas won't help them."
Rice said earlier Wednesday her visit to the region was aimed at creating momentum to bring Israel and the Palestinians closer on key issues ahead of the US-sponsored peace conference in November.
On the Iranian front, Rice said that following the diplomatic track to bring Iran to abandon its nuclear program could work but diplomacy needed "to have teeth."
Rice added that threats by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to wipe Israel off the map could not mean "business as usual in Iran."
Rice refused to comment on recent reports that North Korea had supplied Syria nuclear equipment.