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Hamas Snubs U.S. Demands

Hamas chief Khalid Mash’al said American demands that Hamas recognizes Israel, renounces violence and changes its constitution are “tyrannical and unrealistic.”

The Damascus-based Mash’al, who is said to be the head of the organization’s political bureau, told the London-based Al-Hayyat that Hamas is prepared to talk with any international party, including the United States, if talks are based on mutual correspondence and without preconditions.

The paper added that Isma’il Haniyya, the Hamas member designated to be Palestinian prime minister, is backtracking on comments he made in an interview to the Sunday edition of the Washington Post. He is denying saying that Hamas is willing to recognize Israel, if Israel withdraws to the 1967 borders, releases prisoners and confirms the Palestinians’ right of return.

Haniyya said Hamas will not recognize Israel but is prepared for a “long-term hudna with the occupation.” A hudna is a temporary, unilateral cease-fire.

Meanwhile, representatives of the Quartet – the United States, the European Union, the United Nations and Russia – are consulting this week to discuss ways of preventing the financial collapse of the Palestinian Authority (P.A.) before a new Hamas-led government takes office, the Financial Times reported.

The outgoing Palestinian government is facing huge deficits amid concerns that the international community will stop granting monetary aid.

Israel and the United States designate Hamas a terror organization and they are suspending the flow of money into the P.A., but the international community is looking for ways to prevent a humanitarian crisis and a total economic collapse.

Foreign ministers of the European Union are meeting in Brussels on Monday to discuss releasing money to help the current government meet its obligations.