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Hamas rejects negotiations with Israel

Hamas has ruled out any form of negotiations with Israel, saying US-pushed support by Arab leaders cannot legitimize peace talks with Tel Aviv.

“There is no legitimacy for the Palestinian-Israeli negotiations whether they were direct or indirect,” Head of Hamas Political Bureau Khaled Meshaal said on Sunday.

“These negotiations took their legitimacy from the Americans and the Israeli pressure,” he said during a graduation ceremony for new members of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine General Command.

The senior Palestinian leader dismissed the Arab League’s backing for direct peace talks, saying it could not give legitimacy for those negotiations “because this cover was imposed and not desired by the Arabs.”

Meshaal reiterated the Islamic movement’s stance toward Israel and emphasized resistance as the only choice for the Palestinian nation. “It is the way for our pride and dignity,” he stressed.

On Thursday, the Arab League’s peace process committee in Cairo gave its support to face-to-face peace talks between the Palestinians and Israel when the Palestinians deem the time is right.

This came under mounting pressure from Washington for direct Palestinian-Israeli talks, while the Palestinian Authority has demanded progress in the ongoing US-mediated indirect negotiations before direct talks could resume.

The Middle East peace talks broke down in the wake of Israel’s December 2008-January 2009 offensive against the Hamas-run Gaza Strip, which killed more than 1,400 Palestinians in the populated coastal enclave.

The Palestinian Authority joined the US-sponsored “proximity talks” with Israel in May despite strong opposition from other Palestinian factions.

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