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'UN recognition plea is not intended to isolate Israel'
By JPOST.COM STAFF
05/23/2011
During meeting with Jordanian PM, Abbas says Hamas is "part of Palestinian society"; Hamas calls Obama's speech to AIPAC a "disaster."
 
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said Sunday night that the Palestinians "are not trying to isolate Israel by attempting to achieve UN recognition of a Palestinian state," the Jordanian Petra News Agency reported.

In response to US President Barack Obama’s speech before AIPAC, Abbas told Jordanian Prime Minister Marouf al-Bakhit during a meeting that in fact, "the Palestinian Authority is asking for the recognition of Palestine as an occupied state."

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Abbas, who is visiting Jordan, defended Hamas during his conversation with the Jordanian prime minister and said that the organization is "part of the Palestinian society," according to the Jordanian news agency.

Hamas also reacted on Sunday to Obama's speech and rejected his call to recognize Israel and accused him of being biased in favor of Israel.

Hamas also urged the Palestinian Authority to reconsider its policies toward the Middle East peace process, saying there was no point in relying on the US as an honest broker.

The PA, in contrast, did not respond by late Sunday to Obama’s address to AIPAC.

Hamas spokesman Ismail Radwan said that in light of Obama’s new speech, the PA should reconsider its position toward the peace process and increase efforts to achieve national unity.

“Obama’s speech is a disaster to all those who have been bidding on US policies and positions,” Radwan said. “We reject such statements which prove that the Americans are completely biased in favor of occupation at the expense of Palestinian rights.”

The Hamas spokesman strongly condemned the Obama Administration for “supporting the security of the Zionists and ignoring Palestinian rights.”

Radwan said that it has become obvious now that the Obama Administration is not talking about the 1967 lines or a Palestinian state. “What they are doing now is deception,” he said in reference to Obama’s speech at the AIPAC conference.

Another Hamas spokesman on Sunday also commented on Obama's speech saying it will not force Hamas to recognize Israel.

Obama explicitly referenced the need for Hamas to adhere to the Quartet principles after it recently entered into a Palestinian national unity government, whose formation he called “an enormous obstacle to peace.”

“No country can be expected to negotiate with a terrorist organization sworn to its destruction,” Obama said to cheers from the more than 10,000 AIPAC activists filling the massive convention center hall. “We will continue to demand that Hamas accept the basic responsibilities of peace, including recognizing Israel’s right to exist and rejecting violence and adhering to all existing agreements."

In response, spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri was quoted as saying by Ma'an that, "The US administration will fail, just as all others have in the past, in forcing Hamas to recognize the occupation," and that Obama's speech showed the US was "not a friend to the people of the region."

The Hamas spokesman added that Obama's continued support of Israel signaled that the US was biased, and would "support the occupation at the expense of the freedom of the Palestinian people," Ma'an quoted him as saying.

He accused Obama of denying the right for Palestinians to have an independent state, referring to the US president's comments that "No vote at the United Nations will ever create an independent Palestinian state.”

Khaled Abu Toameh contributed to this report.
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