Meanwhile, senior Hamas official Moussa Abu Marzouk brushed off the planned Middle East peace conference as a publicity stunt, warning that the attempt to would fail. In an interview with AP, Abu Marzouk warned that isolating Gaza - home to 1.3 million Palestinians - would breed a dangerous, long-term bitterness between Gazans and Abbas's leadership. "If they expect peace to come through conferences that exclude Hamas, they are wrong," Abu Marzouk, deputy head of Hamas' political bureau and the group's No. 2, told The Associated Press.
Hamas bans popular TV talk show
Conferences "cannot disregard the fact that Hamas is strongest on the Palestinian street level," he said, speaking in his office in the Syrian capital, where he and other top Hamas leaders live in exile.
"I think it is a publicity stunt, a meeting during which they will only talk," he said. "There is no choice for the Palestinians except to continue with the resistance, and all this talk about a peace conference is, in short, futile."
Abu Marzouk accused Abbas of "betting on the Americans and Israelis and turning his back on his own people" by allowing the siege of Gaza to continue and rejecting any attempts to mediate a compromise between Hamas and Fatah.
"If Abu Mazen persists in trying to besiege the Gaza Strip, there will arise a psychological situation for the residents of Gaza that I think cannot be reversed," he said, using Abbas' nickname.
"Abu Mazen thinks that through such measures he can remove Hamas from Gaza. I think that through such behavior, Mahmoud Abbas is removing himself from the hearts and minds of Palestinians in Gaza and all Palestinians everywhere," Abu Marzouk said.
He reiterated that Hamas did not want to rule Gaza on its own and said a dialogue leading to a new unity government between Hamas and Fatah and the restructuring of Palestinian security forces was the key to resolving the crisis.
"We do not want to create a state in Gaza... We think that the Gaza Strip, West Bank and Jerusalem are one geographic entity that should be administered by one central government agreed on between Fatah and Hamas," Abu Marzouk said.