Haniya rejects Israel-Arab summit

The sacked prime minister calls any hopes generated by the summit a "mirage".

    Haniya spoke for more than an hour [Reuters]

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    Haniya said: "The Americans won't give anything. Israel won't give us anything. Our land, our nation will not come back to us except with steadfastness and resistance."


    He called any hopes generated by the summit a "mirage" and "illusions."


    Haniya called Israel's release of the tax money "financial bribery" and "political blackmail" aimed at "deepening the crisis and divisions" between Fatah and Hamas.


    "It is our right and our money," Haniya said. "But this money ... should reach all the Palestinian people."


    Haniya said that isolation would not force his group to give up power in Gaza.


    He accused Abbas of violating Palestinian law by dismissing his government, saying that the president's actions have resulted in the separation of Hamas-ruled Gaza from a Fatah-dominated West Bank.


    Rather than weaken Hamas, Haniya said: "Experience proves that the more pressure on Hamas and the greater the siege will only increase Hamas's strength."




    Haniya also accused the United States of providing Fatah forces with money and arms in order to "oust Hamas or push it to make political concessions", suggesting Hamas's violent takeover of the Gaza Strip earlier this month was defensive.



    "The arms and money [for Fatah] showed that things were going towards a pre-planned explosion," Haniya said in his first major speech since Hamas routed Fatah's forces in Gaza and seized control of the coastal territory.


    Fatah, in return, accuses Hamas of accepting arms and money from Iran and of plotting to overthrow Abbas.


    Haniya denied any Iranian role. "We are not under the influence of anyone," he said.


    The Israeli government approved in principle on Sunday the unfreezing of the money as part of measures to boost Abbas after he fired the Hamas-led cabinet and replaced it with a cabinet made up of moderates and experts.


    The move came as Ehud Olmert, the Israeli prime minister, prepared to head to a summit in the Sinai resort of Sharm al-Sheikh on Monday with Abbas and the leaders of Egypt and Jordan aimed at working together to isolate Hamas.


    Haniya tried to draw attention away from the Fatah-Hamas conflict, saying repeatedly that the real problem facing the Palestinians is Israeli occupation.


    "Our battle is with the occupation that has been here for more than 60 years," he said.


    He called for dialogue between the factions. "There is no alternative to dialogue on the basis of ... no separation of the homeland and of our people".


    Kidnapped journalist


    Haniya also referred to the case of Alan Johnston, the British journalist, kidnapped on March 12 in Gaza.


    Haniya denounced the kidnapping, saying it harms Palestinian interests.


    He also made a reference to a videotape showing Johnston wearing an explosives belt of the type used by Palestinian suicide bombers. The recording has not been seen in public.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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