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(photo credit: AP)
Hamas claimed on Saturday that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, who visited Washington last week, presented US President Barack Obama with a "detailed plan" to overthrow the Islamic movement's government in the Gaza Strip.
Hamas also accused Abbas's security forces of arresting 22 of its supporters in the West Bank over the weekend as part of a US-backed scheme designed to prevent the movement from extending its control beyond the Gaza Strip.
The plan which Abbas presented to Obama calls for eliminating Hamas politically by pressuring the Europeans and Russia to boycott the movement, a Hamas official said, noting that Russian and European officials and diplomats had been holding meetings with Hamas representatives in the past few months.
The official said that the plan also called for tightening the Israeli blockade on the Gaza Strip with the hope that such a move would prompt Palestinians there to revolt against the Hamas government.
The collapse of the Hamas regime would be followed by the deployment of United Nations troops in the Gaza Strip, which would later be handed back to Abbas's security forces, the Hamas official added.
He said that Abbas's ostensible plan also calls for waging a relentless war against Hamas's financial resources by closing down organizations that fund the movement and imprisoning individuals who carry out fund-raising on its behalf.
A PA official in Ramallah denied the Hamas allegations, saying he did not know of any plan that was presented to Obama to topple the movement's regime. "These charges are in the context of Hamas's campaign of lies and fabrications," he said.
The allegations came as Abbas briefed Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak in Cairo on the outcome of his talks with Obama.
Speaking to reporters after the meeting, Abbas said that he expected "something" to happen with regards to the peace process by the beginning of July.
He said that he sensed that Obama and his administration were very serious about achieving peace in the Middle East and halting settlement construction.
Abbas reiterated his opposition to return to the negotiating table with Israel unless Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu accepted the twostate solution and stopped construction in the settlements.
"These are not preconditions," Abbas said. "These issues were mentioned in the Road Map and all we are demanding is the implementation of what has been agreed upon."
He also expressed his opposition to making any changes in the Arab peace initiative of 2002, reiterating his refusal to relinquish the "right of return" for Palestinian refugees.
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