Hamas rejects Abbas's invitation to visit Jerusalem

February 27, 2012 21:05

Palestinian officials in Gaza reject visit to Jerusalem as "normalization with Israel," encourage Arab isolation of Jewish state.

Temple Mount and City of David

Temple Mount and City of David 390. (photo credit:BiblePlaces.com)

Hamas rejected Monday an invitation by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas for Arab leaders to visit Jerusalem, dismissing Abbas's assertion that a visit to the city would not equal normalization with Israel.

Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum said that Hamas officials would only enter Jerusalem in order to "deliver it from the occupation," according to Al Jazeera.

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Abbas on Sunday called on Arab leaders to visit Jerusalem, during his address at the Arab League's International Conference on Jerusalem in the Qatari capital of Doha.

While Hamas turned down the offer, Barhoum urged Arab and Islamic leaders to put "political and media" pressure on Israel in order to isolate the Jewish state and impose "deterrent penalties against it."

Barhoum stressed that sentiment in the Arab world is aligned with the desire to "liberate Jerusalem, and rid it of the occupation."

"This is no longer impossible in light of the Islamic renaissance and the Arab Spring," he said.

Hamas's rejection of the PA's invitation to Arab leaders came after Abbas and Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal failed to reach an agreement over a unity government during talks in Cairo last week.

Last Thursday, Abbas and Mashaal decided to postpone talks about creating the new reconciled Palestinian government, which was envisaged in a Qatari-backed reconciliation agreement signed by the two rival parties.

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