Hamas rejects US demand for recognising Israel

Gaza : The Hamas rulers of the Gaza Strip Saturday condemned as intervening in internal affairs a US demand that the Palestinian government recognise Israel.

“Hamas does not rule out that the recent visit of the US National Security Adviser Susan Rice to Ramallah last week was meant to spoil the Palestinian national reconciliation,” Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum said in a press release.

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He called for accelerating efforts to implement the reconciliation agreement signed last month between his movement and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah party, Xinhua reported citing the release.

During her meeting with Abbas Thursday, Rice reiterated the US’s policy that any Palestinian government must unambiguously and explicitly be committed to non-violence, recognition of the state of Israel, and acceptance of previous agreements and obligations between the two parties.

Abbas previously reiterated that the future unity government would stick to his policies of non-violence and recognising Israel.

Late in April, rival Palestinian Hamas movement and Abbas’s Fatah party announced a reconciliation agreement to end a Palestinian political rift that started when Hamas took over Gaza in June 2007 after routing forces loyal to Abbas who now rules the West Bank.

Under the agreement, which is opposed by Israel, Abbas would start discussions to form a unity government within five weeks and call for general elections six months after forming the new administration.