Moussa Abu Marzouq, a member of Hamas's political bureau, said the inclusion of Hamas on the US list could not be justified, especially when the movement is "deeply rooted" in Palestinian society as demonstrated by its victory in last month's legislative elections.

 

He said: "No state shouldering its responsibility in the region could keep Hamas on the list of terror organisations, because Hamas is a national liberation movement that confines its struggle to the occupied territories and had never targeted its weapons outside Palestine."

 

Hamas scored a convincing victory in Palestinian elections on 25 January and will dominate the new parliament after it is inaugurated on Saturday.

 

The militant group has named Mahmoud al-Zahar, from Gaza, as head of the Hamas  parliamentary party and Aziz Dweik, from the West Bank, as the parliament’s speaker.


Israel-Turkey spat

 

"No state shouldering its responsibility in the region could keep Hamas on the list of terror organisations"

Moussa Abu Marzouq, a member of Hamas's political bureau

There has been speculation that Hamas would name another of its leaders, Ismail Haniyeh, as the new prime minister, but no announcement has yet been made.

The United States and European Union brand Hamas a terrorist group and have said vital direct aid can be cut if Hamas does not soften its stance on Israel.

Washington rules out any talks until Hamas recognises Israel. The European Union has said it will only work with a government that uses peaceful means.


Meanwhile, diplomatic relations between Turkey and Israel have cooled slightly after Hamas’s exiled leader, Khalid Mishaal, made a surprise visit to Ankara this week.

A spokesman for Raanan Gissin, the Israeli prime minister, asked how Turkey might feel if Israel had invited Abdullah Ocalan, the Kurdish rebel leader viewed by Turks as a terrorist and now serving a life jail sentence, to Israel.

Turkey responded angrily, a statement from the foreign ministry said: "We think the comparisons made in the statement are completely inappropriate and wrong."