Hamas: Obama doesn't represent change

Spokesman says US president is on the path of previous leaders and will make the same mistakes.

osama hamdan 248.88 (photo credit: Courtesy)
osama hamdan 248.88
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Hamas said Thursday that US President Barack Obama's position toward the Palestinians does not represent change and will lead to the same mistakes as his predecessor, shortly after the new leader made his first public comments on the Gaza crisis since his inauguration. Obama said the cease-fire that recently ended the three week Israeli offensive in Gaza can only hold if Hamas stops firing rockets, Israel completes its withdrawal from Gaza and the US and its allies support an anti-smuggling system that prevents the Palestinian group from rearming. Beirut-based Hamas spokesman Osama Hamdan dismissed the new president's comments, saying "Obama is still on the same path as previous leaders and also will make the same mistakes as Bush that ignited the region instead of bringing stability." "Obama is insisting on not bringing any change even though his campaign slogan promised to bring change," Hamdan told Al-Jazeera television in an interview. "I don't think this is a very successful step toward dealing with the region, and this will mean the next 4 years will be a failure for the region." The spokesman said Obama should have talked about the need for Israel not to attack Gaza rather than for Hamas to stop its rocket fire. Meanwhile, Hamas called Thursday for reconciliation with supporters of Fatah leader and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas but insisted on pursuing "resistance" against Israel. The condition appeared to preclude any agreement with Abbas, who seeks a peace deal with Israel and whose Fatah faction was not among the groups that backed the statement by eight Damascus-based radical Palestinian factions including Hamas. Hamas seized control of Gaza from Fatah by force in 2007 and Fatah set up a rival Palestinian government in the West Bank. It has been conducting peace talks with Israel for more than a year. The eight factions said they will reject any political reconciliation deals that hinder the "continuity of the resistance" against Israel, a condition Fatah is sure to reject. Abbas's Prime Minister Salam Fayad made an urgent plea for reconciliation between Fatah and Hamas, saying the alternative is a permanent rift that will destroy Palestinians' dreams for a state of their own. "The world would like to help us but everyone says that we should have a national unity government," he said after meeting with donor country representatives in his West Bank office Thursday.