Hamas leader: We won't yield to economic pressure

A senior Hamas official Monday brushed aside warnings that Western aid to the Palestinians could dry up because of the group's hard-line stand on Israel, saying the Islamic group would not bow to international pressure. "Cutting off funds now will be a punishment of the Palestinian people, not of Hamas," said Mohammed Nazzal, member of Hamas' decision-making political bureau, which is based in Damascus, Syria. "If the European Union countries and the American administration see this as a means that could lead to a change in Hamas' strategic position then they are dreaming and are mistaken. Hamas will never accept that," he said in an interview with Al-Arabiya TV. Hamas' upset victory over the mainstream Fatah faction, which ran the Palestinian Authority, came as a shock to many countries involved in the Middle East peace process. Hamas is responsible for dozens of suicide bombings that have killed hundreds of Israelis.