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Egypt Calls on Hamas to Recognize Israel
Two top Egyptian officials called on Hamas to recognize Israel, disarm and honor past peace deals Wednesday, the latest sign Arab governments are pushing the militant group to moderate after its surprise election victory. Separately, an Israeli Foreign Ministry official said that Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas has told Egyptian officials he would hold off on asking
Thursday, February 2,2006 00:00
by SALAH NASRAWI Associated Press Writer


Two top Egyptian officials called on Hamas to
recognize Israel, disarm and honor past peace deals Wednesday, the latest
sign Arab governments are pushing the militant group to moderate after its
surprise election victory.
Separately, an Israeli Foreign Ministry official said that Palestinian
leader Mahmoud Abbas has told Egyptian officials he would hold off on
asking Hamas to form the next Palestinian government until Hamas renounces
violence.


The Israeli official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was
not authorized to speak publicly, cited Egyptian intelligence chief Omar
Suleiman as saying that Abbas had made the decision after a meeting with
Egyptian leader Hosni Mubarak.


Suleiman could not immediately be reached to verify the statement. But
earlier, he told journalists in Cairo that Egypt intends to tell Hamas
leaders that they must recognize Israel, disarm and honor past peace deals.
Hamas won Palestinian parliamentary elections in a landslide last week.


Mubarak’s spokesman, Suleiman Awaad, also called on Hamas to recognize
peace deals with Israel. Former Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat "was able
to change his position. There is nothing that prevents smart leaders from
changing their positions to behave accordingly," Awaad said.


Hamas is under growing international pressure to renounce its violent
ideology and recognize Israel’s right to exist as a condition for receiving
millions of dollars in foreign aid the lifeline of the Palestinian economy.
Western powers have said they will not fund a Hamas-led Palestinian
government otherwise.


Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said the group was still trying to determine
whether Abbas had indeed posed such conditions. "President Abbas said on
different occasions that he respects the result of these elections, and all
the developments that followed the elections," he said.


And in Damascus, a senior Hamas official said the group would not change
its policies toward Israel. "These conditions could not be accepted and the
U.S. president should accept reality and facts . He should deal with Hamas
as it is," said Moussa Abu Marzouk, the deputy head of Hamas’ political
bureau.
 


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