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Hamas: Gaza paying for Arab 'political sin'

Aug. 1, 2010 2:21 P.M. (Updated: Aug. 3, 2010 6:31 P.M.)
GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Hamas said Sunday it was holding the Arab League responsible for the recent escalation in Israeli military action against the Gaza Strip.

Fawzi Barhoum said the Arab League's follow-up committee decision to endorse the resumption of direct talks was a "sin" providing cover for Israeli violations.

"Our people in Gaza are paying a toll for the huge error and political sin committed by the Arab Peace Initiative’s follow-up committee against the Palestinian people. The committee has given the Israeli occupation the pretext and coverage they needed to attack our people and continue with settlement activities and displacement,” Barhoum said.

The Hamas spokesman further accused President Mahmoud Abbas, as well as the Arab League's committee, of "submission" to US and Israeli pressure, saying the decision to resume direct talks would "endanger Palestinian interests and inalienable rights."

Barhoum called on Arab states to revoke its decision in authorizing Abbas to go enter direct talks.

“Obama’s message to the Palestinian president exposed the falsity of his policy and disappointed the Palestinian people,” Barhoum said, adding that counting on the US administration to support Palestinian rights is a “waste of time.”

On Thursday, the follow-up committee of the Arab Peace Initiative met with Abbas in Cairo, agreeing in principle to reentering into direct negotiations but said the Palestinian president would have the final say on their actual resumption.

Hamas leader, Salah Al-Bardawil, speaking at a press conference, said Israel escalated its attacks on Gaza in response to the Arab League decision, rather than in response to projectiles launched from the Strip, as Israeli President Benjamin Netanyahu claimed.

Al –Bardawil added that Hamas is doing everything it can to protect Palestinians from Israeli attacks.

Direct talks with Israel were broken off in December 2008, as Israel launched Operation Cast Lead. The US has been mediating indirect talks between Israeli and Palestinian leaders since May, which the Arab League gave a four-month deadline.
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