Source AP ©

Hamas refutes Palestinian President's words at Mideast conference

A Hamas spokesman in Gaza rejected Palestinian President's appeal for peace with Israel and said Mahmoud Abbas speaks only for himself.

The spokesman, Fawzi Barhoum, watched the opening speeches at his office in Gaza City. He said Abbas "has no mandate to discuss, to agree, or to erase any word related to our rights." Barhoum said Abbas went to the conference "without any support from his people. He is isolated (and) represents himself only."

The militant Islamic Hamas overran Gaza in June, expelling forces loyal to Abbas. Hamas rejects the existence of Israel and rules out any deal with the Jewish state. This week Hamas has been staging demonstrations in Gaza against the Annapolis conference.

After the Hamas takeover, Abbas dismissed the Hamas-led government and appointed a new one with his supporters. In effect, Abbas rules the West Bank while Hamas is in control of Gaza.

Barhoum expressed disappointment in the participation of Arab nations in the summit. Their presence is seen as support for renewed peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians.

Instead, Barhoum indicated that Hamas would continue its violence against Israel. "We will use all the tools of resistance to achieve our rights," he said. Hamas has sent dozens of suicide bombers into Israel, killing hundreds.

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