Hamas rejects Quartet call to recognise Israel
GAZA: Hamas rejected a call from the Middle East peacemaking Quartet yesterday to renounce violence and recognise Israel if it participates in a Palestinian government, a spokesman for the group said.
“The Quartet should have demanded an end to (Israeli) occupation and aggression … not demanded that the victim should recognise the occupation and stand handcuffed in the face of the aggression,” spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said.
The quartet — comprising the EU, Russia, the US and the UN — met in the British capital in the wake of the victory of Hamas in Palestinian elections last week. “All members of the future Palestinian government must be committed to non-violence, recognition of Israel and acceptance of previous agreements and obligations, including the road map,” said UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, summing up the day’s conclusions.
In a communique at the end of its meeting, the quartet said: “It is inevitable that future assistance to any new government would be reviewed by donors against that government’s commitment to the principles of non-violence, recognition of Israel, and acceptance of previous agreements and obligations, including the road map.”
Earlier, Hamas and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas urged foreign donors to lift threats to cut vital aid to a new Hamas-led Palestinian government but the US stood firm, saying it would not directly aid the group.
US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said that her country could not give direct aid to a Hamas-led government, but she promised to consider the humanitarian needs of the Palestinian people on a case-by-case basis. “You have to recognise Israel’s right to exist, you have to renounce violence and terrorism. You can’t with one hand talk about peace with Israel and on the other hand countenance suicide bombers,” she said.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who has threatened to curtail EU monetary support, said after meeting Abbas in the West Bank that aid depended on whether Hamas met conditions that included abandoning violence and recognising Israel.