Hamas leader in Damascus Khaled Mashaal called for West Bank Palestinians to excercise armed "resistance" against Israel, at a conference in Damascus on Saturday, Reuters reported.

"Our inalienable rights are threatened with extinction if the scene in the West Bank does not change by launching the resistance against the Israeli occupation and the settlements," Mashaal said.

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Mashaal spoke against the Palestinain Authority's attempts to negotiate with Israel and the PA's security forces, who have cracked down on Hamas activity in the West Bank.

"The Palestinian people will not be bribed. They will not be cowed by Dayton's forces," he said, referring to PA security forces trained by US Security Coordinator for Israel and the Palestinian territories, Lt.-Gen. Keith Dayton.

"We are not talking about a business deal or making a profit. Our only capital is the land, identity and dignity," Mashaal stated.

"When there is such an imbalance of power negotiations become a process of daily humiliation," he added.

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