In depth

"If the conference doesn't succeed, then the poor citizen can do nothing but break this mug. End of story," said Abu Dayya, who reported brisk sales of mugs at a hefty $2.50 a piece.

   

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"The talks will prove that you cannot talk peace without the participation of the elected representatives of the Palestinian people"

Niloufar, Tehran, Iran

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Whatever happens, Gazans can expect to feel detached from the forthcoming talks.

 

Hamas, who seized control of the enclave in June, have denounced Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian president, for talking to Israel.

 

Hamas has not been invited by George Bush, the US president, to attend the talks.

 

Abu Dayya said customers should, however, turn to the White House if they were not satisfied, with the talks - or the mug.

   

He said: "They can blame Bush and ask him for a refund."

 

The one-day conference will be held in Annapolis, Maryland, on Tuesday November 27.