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Hamas: International troops in Palestine would be same as 'occupation'

Feb. 15, 2014 10:33 A.M. (Updated: Feb. 16, 2014 4:21 P.M.)
GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- A spokesman for Hamas said Friday that the faction would regard any international military presence within a future Palestinian state as "occupation" forces.

During a rally in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip late Friday, Sami Abu Zuhri said that any international forces stationed in Palestine as a result of a peace agreement with Israel would be treated the same as the Israeli occupation.

Abu Zuhri called on Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to withdraw from negotiations with the US and Israel, saying the talks only served to "terminate the question of Palestine and what is left of Palestinian rights and principles."

"Nobody has authorized you (Abbas) to speak on behalf of the Palestinian people, or on behalf of Hamas or any other faction," he said.

"Why don't you tell the truth about what is going on in the secret negotiations? If you are honest, go out to your people and tell the truth and give them details."

Abu Zuhri urged all Palestinian factions to oppose the ongoing peace talks and any emerging agreement, saying that after decades of on-and-off talks, negotiations have proved a "mirage."

Abbas said in a Feb. 2 interview with the New York Times that he would welcome US-led NATO troops to be positioned at all border crossings in a future Palestinian state as an alternative to Israeli forces.

Israel has insisted on retaining an extended Israeli military presence in the Jordan Valley, rejecting the idea of an international force.

The division between Fatah and Hamas began in 2006, when Hamas won the Palestinian legislative elections.

In the following year, violent clashes erupted between Fatah and Hamas, leaving Hamas in control of the Strip and Fatah in control of parts of the occupied West Bank.

The groups have made failed attempts at national reconciliation for years, most recently in 2012, when they signed two agreements -- one in Cairo and a subsequent one in Doha -- which have as of yet been entirely unimplemented.
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