hatem abdel kader 298.
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
The political chief of Hamas, the militant Palestinian group, said on Friday the organization would participate in upcoming legislative elections but would not negotiate with Israel, vowing to continue its armed struggle against the Jewish State.
"We will enter the parliament and (engage in) political work ... without giving up one inch of Palestine," Khaled Mashaal said in a speech marking the 18th anniversary of the founding of Hamas.
The Islamic movement is fielding candidates for the first time in Palestinian parliamentary elections slated for Jan. 25 and has done well in several rounds of local voting.
The terror group, responsible for hundreds of Israeli murders in suicide bombings, appears poised to make a strong showing against the Palestinians' long-ruling mainstream Fatah Party in the election.
Meanwhile, candidates with Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah Party in east Jerusalem on Friday said they would boycott Jan. 25 parliamentary elections.
All 15 candidates said they were withdrawing their candidacies because Israel has yet to officially commit to allowing east Jerusalem residents to participate in the voting.
"Jerusalemites should be allowed to participate in the elections the same as the other Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza," said Hatem Abdel Kader, one of the leaders of the group. "We think that if there will be no elections in Jerusalem then there should be no elections at all."