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  • #31
    A Hamas spokesman said Thursday that the militant group has been invited to South Africa for talks with officials.

    No timetable has been set for the visit, spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said.

    The South African Foreign Ministry in Johannesburg confirmed the invitation to Hamas officials....

    South African government confirms it invited Hamas for talks

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    • #32
      Essential services such as medical treatment, water, sewage and security will be cut by stoppages in donor aid and tax payments to the Palestinian Authority ordered in the wake of Hamas's election victory, a UN report warns.

      Israel has halted its monthly remittance of $60m (£34.3m) in duties it collects on behalf of the PA but the report calls into question its contention that humanitarian aid to the Palestinians can be sustained if the ministries in a Hamas-dominated Authority are bypassed....

      Palestinians will lose essential services, says UN

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      • #33
        Israel's interim Prime Minister Ehud Olmert vowed on Thursday to use an "iron fist" against Palestinian militants as polls showed his party's lead slipping less than a month before a general election....

        Israel's Olmert orders "iron fist" against militants

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        • #34
          "...When we talk about Israel's permanent or future borders, it includes the Jordan Valley, Ma'aleh Adumim, Gush Etzion, Ariel, Kedumim-Karnei Shomron and Reihan-Shaked..."

          Mofaz: Karnei Shomron to be included in Israel's final borders

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          • #35
            MOSCOW (Reuters) - Palestinian election winner Hamas told Russia on Friday it was prepared to continue to abide by a ceasefire agreed last year if Israel does not use force, the Russian Foreign Ministry said.

            "Hamas confirmed its readiness not to leave the agreement on the ceasefire adopted in March 2005 on the understanding that Israel will also refrain from violent actions," the ministry said in a statement after Russian officials held talks with Hamas leaders in Moscow.

            A Hamas leader in Moscow, Ezzat El-Resheq, said the Islamic militant group would look positively on an extension of the ceasefire, but only if Israel "ended its aggression, assassinations and arrests and freed Palestinian prisoners".

            "The ball is now in Israel's court," he told Reuters....

            Russia says Hamas prepared to extend ceasefire

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            • #36
              The coming weeks offer an unparalleled opportunity to leapfrog over the long comatose "peace process" and actually achieve peace in the Holy Land.

              All that is needed is some clear, constructive and original thinking on the part of the new Palestinian leadership. Demonized though it may be in the West, Hamas won the recent Palestinian elections not simply because it was perceived as clean but also because it was perceived, justifiably, as competent and coherent. It is capable of such thinking.

              As its first order of business after forming the new Palestinian government, Hamas should publicly announce its support for the Arab League's Beirut Declaration of March 2002, by which all Arab states (including Palestine) offered Israel permanent peace and normal diplomatic and economic relations in return for Israel's compliance with international law by returning to its internationally recognized, pre-1967 borders. (Not incidentally, such an announcement would destroy the "destruction of Israel" excuse for current Israeli and Western plans to overturn the results of Palestine's democratic elections and to bring the Palestinian people to their knees through economic privation.)

              Israel has been able to ignore this generous offer, whose continuing validity the Arab League has periodically reaffirmed, because it has always been offered as a carrot unaccompanied by any consequential alternative which a significant number of Israelis might view as a stick. In this context, the new Palestinian leadership should simultaneously declare (preferably with the concurrence of President Mahmoud Abbas and Fatah) that, if Israel does not publicly agree to proceed toward a two-state solution in accordance with the Beirut Declaration by a reasonable date (say, three months hence), the Palestinian people will consider that Israel has definitively rejected a two-state solution in favor of a one-state solution and, accordingly, will thereafter seek their liberation and self-determination through citizenship in a single democratic state in all of pre-1948 Palestine, free of all forms of discrimination and with equal rights for all who live there....

              Let Israel choose...Two states or one?

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              • #37
                Every time when I am in Bil'in and other places in occupied Palestine, I can't help thinking what a paradise this country would be if there were peace, peace based on justice and mutual respect.

                URI AVNERY

                Break down that wall

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                • #38
                  Nazareth: Thousands of Arab protesters marched through the streets of this biblical town Saturday demanding better protection for holy sites after a troubled family set off firecrackers inside a major Christian shrine.

                  The emotional reaction to the attack on the Basilica of the Annunciation reflected the fragile status of Israel's Arab minority, which has long claimed it suffers discrimination at the hands of the Jewish majority....

                  Thousands of Arabs protest attack

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                  • #39
                    Hamas rejects recognition of Israel despite pressure

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                    • #40
                      A State Department-commissioned poll taken days before January's Palestinian elections warned U.S. policymakers that the militant Islamic group Hamas was in a position to win.

                      Nevertheless, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said after the election that they had no advance indication of a major Hamas triumph.

                      The poll found that Hamas had been gaining support in previous months and was running neck-and-neck with the secular Fatah party - 30 percent vs. 32 percent - among likely voters. It was distributed within the State Department on Jan. 19, six days before the elections....

                      Hamas strength seen in State Department poll

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                      • #41
                        Russia's talks with Hamas leaders in Moscow have harmed world efforts to isolate the militant group that is setting up a new Palestinian government, Acting Prime Minister Ehud Olmert told Russian President Vladimir Putin on Sunday.

                        Olmert said it was a "mistake" to invite Hamas leaders for talks before the group changes its policies and accepts the basic international demands of recognition of Israel and renunciation of violence.

                        Despite Israel's objections to the invitation, Hamas leaders were in Moscow over the weekend for talks. They met the Russian foreign minister, but Putin did not agree to see them.

                        According to a statement from Olmert's office, the two leaders talked on the telephone for 40 minutes. Putin called to fill Olmert in on the talks, the statement said....

                        Olmert to Putin: Russia-Hamas talks harm effort to isolate group

                        Acting Prime Minister Ehud Olmert plans to withdraw from more West Bank settlements immediately after forming Israel's next government and to set Israel's final borders within four years if it wins upcoming elections, a top political ally said Sunday in the most explicit statement yet of Olmert's plans....

                        Olmert planning further unilateral pullout

                        Hamas fires its first political volley: that before negotiations can occur, Israel must recognise Palestine...

                        Hamas throws a hardball

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                        • #42
                          Defining his new centrist party's position amid dwindling numbers in the polls, acting Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert plans to unilaterally evacuate some West Bank settlements and set Israel's final borders within the next four years if he wins national elections later this month.

                          Mr. Olmert's move to delineate a clearer platform for the newly formed Kadima (Forward) Party comes at a time when voters have been scrutinizing the movement, set up late last fall by Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, who remains comatose after a debilitating stroke.

                          With elections just over three weeks away, many Israelis have questioned how Olmert can fill Mr. Sharon's shoes and what the untested Kadima Party really stands for in a time of diminished prospects for Israeli-Palestinian peacemaking.

                          Olmert, a lawyer and former mayor of Jerusalem, tried to provide an answer Sunday that seemed to mirror the unilateralist vision espoused by Sharon, who has long charged that Israel does not have an appropriate Palestinian peace partner....

                          Israel eyes broad West Bank pullout

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                          • #43
                            The new Hamas-dominated Palestinian parliament has revoked recent legislation giving more powers to Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas.

                            The increased powers, including control of a constitutional court, were agreed by the previous parliament with a majority from Mr Abbas' Fatah party.

                            Fatah MPs walked out before the vote, saying the laws could not be changed.

                            The uproar, which dims hopes of forming a national unity government, came on a day of violence in the territories....

                            Hamas MPs curtail Abbas' powers

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                            • #45
                              Israel: Hamas leaders not immune

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