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Hamas leader in exile slams 'illegal president' Abbas

Oct. 12, 2009 11:44 A.M. (Updated: Oct. 13, 2009 11:00 A.M.)
Bethlehem - Ma'an - In a speech in Damascus on Sunday evening, Hamas politburo chief Khaled Mash'al reiterated the Islamic movement's position that President Mahmoud Abbas's term ended in January.

The Ramallah-based Palestinian Authority's leader is "an illegal president," Mash'al insisted at the start of an expansive speech that touched on the Goldstone report fiasco in Geneva and PA security arrangements with Americans and Israelis.

He also called for rebuilding the Palestine Liberation Organization, which is dominated by Fatah and excludes Hamas, insisting, "Fatah deserves better leadership."

The PA "cooperates with [US General Keith] Dayton against us, and takes bribes from those who would impose force on the resistance [in Gaza] in exchange for bribes for Palestinians in the West Bank," he added. "The one we expect to lead - is leading us to doom."

"This is a group that doesn't even bother to deny [Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor] Lieberman's claim that the PA asked to extend the war on Gaza," he said. "This is a group that cooperates with stifling Palestinian resistance."

He said the PA "provides free services to the Israelis, persecutes the resistance, and turns a blind eye to settlements... How can we believe that they'll fight for Jerusalem and the Right of Return?" he asked. "They must be prosecuted."
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