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Hamas deputy vows continuing resistance
Updated: 2004-12-06 09:14

A senior Hamas official expressed hope Sunday that the United States and European Union would be "fairer" in mediating the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, but he said his group would continue its resistance even if a Palestinian state was established.

Mousa Abu Marzouk, a leader of the Palestinian militant Islamic Hamas group, in an interview with the Associated Press in the Lebanese town of Shtura near Syrian-Lebanese borders on Sunday, Dec. 5, 2004 during which he urged the United States to take 'fair' positions towards the 'oppressed' Palestinian people. Hamas is on U.S. list of terrorist groups. [AP Photo]

Moussa Abu Marzouk, deputy head of Hamas' political bureau, said a Palestinian state was a right "stipulated by all international accords" but was not a reason for Hamas to stop its resistance.

"There are other rights for the Palestinian people that cannot be forgotten or be conceded," Abu Marzouk said without elaborating.

Hamas refuses to accept Israel's right to exist, and it rejected late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat's peace accords with the Jewish state.

Abu Marzouk said comments Friday by Sheik Hassan Yousef, Hamas' top leader in the West Bank, did not amount to a truce with Israel.

Yousef told reporters he sees a long-term truce in which Israel and a Palestinian state "live side-by-side in peace and security for a certain period."

In the past, Hamas has said it would accept a Palestinian state in the pre-1967 borders as a first step to taking over Israel.

The militant group, regarded by the United States as a terrorist movement and responsible for multiple suicide attacks killing scores of Israelis, is one of numerous militant factions Palestinian leaders want brought on board in the post-Arafat era to push efforts to achieve Palestinian statehood.

Abu Marzouk, speaking to the AP in Chtoura, near the Syrian border, on his way back home to the Syrian capital of Damascus, said he hoped the United States would adopt a more fair policy toward the Palestinians following Arafat's death last month.

"The U.S. is a superpower and a very influential factor in the region," he said. "We hope it will be fairer to the Palestinian people than ever before. We hope it will listen to the oppressed Palestinian people at this stage."

Abu Marzouk also said the EU should play a bigger role in mediating the Israeli-Palestinian conflict "provided that the European visions would be independent from those of America."

Abu Marzouk confirmed that interim Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas, who is scheduled to visit Damascus on Monday, had asked to meet with Hamas leaders, but he said no date had been set.

Abu Marzouk said Hamas had differences with Abbas over the Palestinian presidential elections set for Jan. 9. The group declared it would boycott the vote, and Abu Marzouk said Hamas would not participate in any future Palestinian government.

"We demanded that a timetable and schedule be set for municipal and legislative elections as well in order for the elections to be more disciplined and for the Palestinian people's will not to be falsified," Abu Marzouk said.

He accused the PLO's mainstream Fatah movement of "trying to grab power" through the elections.

"We think this is not an appropriate behavior for the upcoming stage. That's why we will boycott the elections," he said.

He said there were disagreements with Abbas over his vision and policy, "and we think that he must listen to the Palestinians' pulse and to all Palestinian factions."

"We want the leadership to express the aspirations and ambitions of the Palestinian people and their uprising and resistance to Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands," Abu Marzouk said.

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