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(photo credit: AP)
"The purpose of the Annapolis peace conference is not the Palestinians but drafting support for a strike on Iran," Hamas senior Muhammad Nazal told the London-based newspaper Al Quds al Arabi on Monday.
According to Nazal, the "Annapolis conference is meant to save Olmert and Bush and help the [American] Republican party in the next elections."
Nazal, a former member of Hamas's political wing, attacked Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, saying that he was "wrong and deceitful to think he will get American support. Israel is initiating an agreement which breaches the rights of the Palestinian people." According to Nazal, by accepting Israel's offers, Abbas was turning his back on his Palestinian brethren and leaders in the Arab world.
Nazal elaborated: "Our point of departure is that the conference's purpose is not [to advance the interests of] Palestine, but to gain support for a strike on Iran. The US administration needs to prove it is making efforts to solve the Palestinian issue, while all the while beating the drums of war against Iran." The conference was also a "life jacket for [Prime Minister Ehud] Olmert," whose popularity is low, he said.
When asked his opinion about Israeli and American claims that Hamas was planning a large scale terror attack before the Annapolis conference, Nazal said, "in our view, the conference is not worthy of any military activity by Hamas. The seeds of its failure have already been planted. Countries have yet to receive invitations to attend and the conference's date has not been set. Even a clear schedule for the conference was not stated. The Annapolis parley will fail in any case."