Hamas leader says group won't disarm

Group publishes candidate list for PLC elections; includes Rantisi's widow.

mashaal 298 88 ap (photo credit: AP)
mashaal 298 88 ap
(photo credit: AP)
The political leader of the Palestinian terror group Hamas on Wednesday said it would not renew a truce with Israel when it expires at the end of the year and accused the Jewish state of violating the agreement that reduced violence. "All circumstances on the ground, the regional political atmosphere and the Palestinian situation are not encouraging to renew the truce," Khaled Mashaal told The Associated Press in a telephone interview in Damascus. "Hamas is not going to renew the truce because Israel did not abide by the conditions of the truce." Among the violations were, Mashaal claimed, Israel's failure to release Palestinian prisoners, to end attacks on Palestinian areas and targeted assassinations of Palestinian leaders and the continued confiscation of Palestinian lands. The Egyptian government had brokered an informal truce between Israel and Palestinian factions that expires at the end of the year. The government of President Hosni Mubarak has invited all groups to Cairo to talk about extending the cease-fire for another year. Hamas last week asked Egypt to delay talks on renewing the truce until after Palestinian parliamentary elections in January. Mashaal said Hamas "will never abandon any Palestinian right and will not recognize the legitimacy of occupation whatsoever. This is a fundamental principle of the group." His response was to a question about Hamas accepting a two-state solution, with Israelis and Palestinians living side by side in autonomous countries. Mashaal rejected US calls for Hamas to disarm and join the political process, saying this was not possible while Israeli occupation of Palestinian territory continued. "The resistance must go hand in hand with political work," he said. "It is not accepted to pressure the resistance to choose between resistance and politics." Hamas, meanwhile, published its list for the upcoming Palestinian parliamentary elections. The list includes senior leaders Mahmoud A-Zahar, Ismail Haniya and Hassan Youssuf. Among the candidates, according to the group, are prisoners [incarcerated in Israel], Christians and women, including the widow of former group leader Abdel Aziz Rantisi, who was gunned by an Israeli helicopter gun ship in April, 2004.