Hamas Prime Minister Says U.S. Economic Crisis is ‘Divine Punishment’

October 18, 2008 at 12:50 am Leave a comment

hamas-prime-minister-ismail-haniyeh.jpgThe current economic turmoil in the US is “divine punishment,” Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh said Friday. During a sermon before Muslim prayers at a Gaza City mosque, Haniyeh said God was chastising America for its support of the Israeli-led blockade imposed on Gaza.


Haniyeh said God’s punishment would also extend to America’s allies.

Earlier Friday, Hamas
spokesman Fawzi Barhoum was quoted as saying that the group would only
decide whether to extend the Gaza cease-fire after consulting with all
the Palestinian factions.

Barhoum told the Palestinian al-Ayyam newspaper that Hamas had not yet been asked to lengthen the six-month truce, which is set to expire in December.

The group has said that it will only agree to a
cease-fire extension if it is expanded to include the West Bank, and if
the Rafah border crossing and the Israel-Gaza terminals are opened.

Meanwhile, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has turned down an Egyptian proposal to hold separate talks with Hamas officials in Cairo before the end of the month, a senior PA official in Ramallah said Wednesday.

Abbas’s decision drew sharp criticism from Hamas,
which said this provided further evidence that the PA president and his
Fatah faction were not really interested in ending the power struggle
between the two parties.

The Egyptians were hoping to host Fatah-Hamas
negotiations in Cairo ahead of a “national reconciliation” conference
that would bring together at least 12 Palestinian factions, including Hamas and Fatah. The conference is scheduled to be held in the Egyptian capital sometime next month.

Earlier this week, Hamas
informed the Egyptians that the movement supported the idea of holding
separate talks with Fatah to prepare for the planned conference.

Nabil Amr, the PA ambassador to Cairo who is
closely associated with Abbas, confirmed that Fatah has rejected the
proposal to hold bilateral talks with Hamas
in Cairo. He said he delivered a message from Abbas to the Egyptian
leadership explaining the decision to stay away from the talks.

“President Abbas insists that the negotiations
must include all the Palestinian factions,” Amr said. “At this stage
there is no reason for holding separate meetings [between Fatah and Hamas].”

Source: Jerusalem Post

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