Hamas says it's shocked by Arab participation in US-hosted peace conference

Hamas expressed dismay Saturday at Arab foreign ministers' unanimous decision to participate in next week's Middle East peace conference in the United States, saying there could be no justification for taking part as long as Israel retains its hold on Palestinian territory. "The announcement of the Arabs that they would participate in the Annapolis conference was a great shock for the Palestinian people," Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri, said in a statement. "Participation opens doors for normalization of relations with the Israeli occupiers." The Arab League on Friday agreed to attend the conference in Annapolis, Maryland, despite failing to get any advance guarantee of Israeli concessions. Saudi Arabia, previously reluctant, said it was also on board.