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Haniyeh: Door still open for reconciliation

Nov. 16, 2010 12:07 A.M. (Updated: Nov. 18, 2010 11:07 A.M.)
GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Despite the wind-down that followed the end to the latest round of unity talks, "the door is still open for reconciliation," Gaza's Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh said during his Eid speech in Gaza City.

The announcement came the day after Palestinian factions rejected an American proposal for a 90-day Israeli extension to a settlement moratorium excluding East Jerusalem, reportedly in exchange for a US veto over UN recognition of a Palestinian state at the UN, and the provision of 20 new fighter jets to the Israeli airforce.

Haniyeh said he would continue to "adhere to an end to division," despite his disavowal of the relationship between the Fatah-lead Palestinian Authority's relationship with the United States. The Hamas leader has accused Fatah of bowing to American influence over the reconciliation issue. The United States put Hamas on its list of terrorist organizations in 2005, the year before it was elected to power in the West Bank and Gaza.

"Some are depending on the will of the Americans," Haniyeh told tens of thousands gathered in the Gaza City Stadium for the Eid prayer, explaining that Hamas preferred to rely on "unity and reconciliation with our land and our nation," for an ultimate solution to the struggle or a Palestinian state.

While "it is true that there are political differences in the Palestinian arena, the only enemy is the occupation," the official continued.

Haniyeh stressed the strength of Palestine as a member of the "Arab and Islamic nations," and appeared to brush off the prospect of a strengthened Israeli airforce through the American-Israel deal for a return to negotiations, saying "our enemy is small, no matter how many weapons the Americans give them, they will remain an isolated entity geographically and historically. This land is ours, Jerusalem is ours."
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