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Abbas Urges Respect of Result, West Alarmed
by IOL (reposted)
Thursday Jan 26th, 2006 7:52 AM
RAMALLAH, West Bank, January26 , 2006 ( & News Agencies) – Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas said Thursday, January26 , that the results of the legislative elections, apparently won by Hamas, must be respected as Western nations expressed alarm over the group's victory.
Alarmed western nations stressed they would refuse to deal with the Palestinian group unless it disarms and renounces what they said "violence".

European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana said the election results "may confront us with an entirely new situation, which will need to be analyzed by (EU foreign ministers) next Monday."

Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, on his part, said Hamas' election victory was a setback for Middle East peace negotiations, according to Agence France-Presse (AFP).

"If this result is confirmed, then everything we had hoped for -- to open a window to peace between Israel and Palestine -- has been put back until who knows when," Berlusconi told Italian radio.

"It's very, very negative," Berlusconi said when asked to comment on the Palestinian preliminary results.

French Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin also said he was concerned at the election results.

He, however, said he hoped the "conditions which are indispensable for working with whatever Palestinian government can be fulfilled."

"For France these conditions were renunciation of violence and agreeing to move forward according to the peace objectives that have been fixed."

"And second, recognition of the state of Israel and international agreements," Villepin added.

Britain also said it was ready to do business with Hamas provided the resistance group drops what it said support for "terrorism".

"Of course we recognize electoral mandates but equally people have to be clear that you can only do business with those who have renounced terrorism," Blair's official spokesman said Thursday.

The Swedish government warned that Hamas would have to change its ways to win cooperation from the European Union.


The European Commission, however, said it would work with any "peaceful" Palestinian government.

"It is clear that Hamas has really got a very large proportion of the vote," European External Relations Commissioner Benita Ferrero-Waldner told a European Parliament committee before official results were announced.

"What is important is that we state we are happy to work with any government if that government is prepared to work by peaceful means," she said.

EU Foreign Policy Chief Javier Solana warned on December18 , that if Hamas wins the polls, it will be "very difficult that help and the money that goes to ... the Palestinian Authority will continue to flow".

Two days before, the US House of Representatives threatened the PA that it risked losing US financial aid and other support if it allowed Hamas to contest the polls.

"Respect Results"

Hamas' stunning election victory has also drawn welcome from Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood, which urged the resistance group to preserve national unity.

"We congratulate Hamas on this stunning victory and for shouldering its responsibilities," Brotherhood official Issam al-Aryan told AFP.

"Hamas must build on the past achievements of the Palestinian struggle and reunify the ranks of society in order to present a united front in parliament," he added.

Aryan urged foreign powers to respect the results of the Palestinian parliamentary election.

"The Palestinian people has spoken and Western countries, notably the United States, should know they are now dealing with an entire people," he said.

The same message was reiterated by the Palestinian leaders.

"I urge all the parties to respect the law and accept the will of the people," Abbas said in a statement read by a Palestinian Authority spokesman, AFP said.

Initial results showed that Hamas has won an absolute majority of seats in the Palestinian legislative elections.

"The elections were transparent and fair and all the parties should respect the results," the Palestinian leader added.

Hamas, on its part, also urged the United States to respect the election results and the will of the Palestinian people.

"I call on the American administration to respect ... the will of the Palestinian people and the result of the ballot," said Ismail Haniya, chief candidate of Hamas' Change and Reform list.

"Hamas is not going to work alone, but with the other groups who represent the Palestinian people," he said.

Celebrating Hamas victory, thousands of the group's supporters have poured into the streets, handing out sweets in celebration of the election win.

The joyful Palestinians also waved green Hamas flags and chanted slogans in support of the group.
by IOL (reposted)
Thursday Jan 26th, 2006 7:54 AM
OCCUPIED JERUSALEM, January26 , 2006 ( & News Agencies) – The stunning election victory of the Palestinian resistance group Hamas landed explosively on the scene of Israeli politics on Thursday, January26 , with acting Premier Ehud Olmert planning an emergency security meeting to discuss the ramifications of the apparent Hamas triumph in the general election.

The prospect of a Hamas-led government is the biggest challenge to face Olmert since assuming power after Prime Minister Ariel Sharon suffered a massive stroke on January4 , according to Agence France-Presse (AFP).

Olmert will later Thursday huddle together with top army and security officials as well as Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz and Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni to discuss the outcome of the Palestinian elections, a source in his office told AFP.

Mofaz has already convened a meeting with top security officials on Thursday morning to discuss the same issue, according to Israel's Ha'aretz daily.

Officials in Hamas and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas's long-dominant Fatah concurred the resistance group appeared to have captured a large majority of seats in Wednesday's legislative elections, the first in a decade.

Acknowledging the defeat, Premier Ahmed Qorei and his cabinet ministers resigned Thursday.

Israel has warned that a Hamas victory would ensure the non-existent peace process remains frozen.


Amir Peretz, the chairman of Israel's opposition Labor party, said Thursday that his party does not consider Hamas to be a partner for peace negotiations, reported Ha'aretz.

"Hamas is not a partner because of its course of action and beliefs and it undermines stability in the Middle East."

He said his party has "no intention of allowing negotiations to take place, or let someone else force us to recognize an organization that declares it seeks to destroy Israel."

Peretz added that the US and European countries to clarify their stance in the wake of the new political reality.

Hawkish Likud MK Yuval Steinitz told Israel Radio Thursday that the government made a grave mistake by allowing the Palestinian parliamentary elections to take place with Hamas's participation, reported Ha'aretz.

He described the purported results as an "earthquake," and said they reflected Israel's "tragic failure" in its war against Hamas.

Steinitz, the chairman of the Knesset's Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, said Israel could have prevented Hamas's success by preventing the vote from taking place even at the price of a confrontation with the United States.

Yossi Beilin, a former justice minister and the chairman of the leftist Meretz party, also blamed Israel for strengthening Hamas.

"Israel has a large role in weakening the Palestinian Authority and strengthening Hamas," he told Israel Radio.

"The unilateral withdrawal from the Gaza Strip, not as a part of an agreement with Abu Mazen (Abbas), greatly strengthened the Hamas."

He, however, said the election results still provided a chance for an agreement with moderate Palestinians, said the Israeli daily.

Beilin called on Olmert to immediately launch peace talks with Abbas.

"Rock and a Hard Place"

Israeli media coverage of the Palestinian election results went deeper, in a bid to forecast expected implications on Israel's own general election, slated for March28 .

"Olmert is now facing a real crisis, as he has the option of a bad choice or an even worse one," Ha'aretz said in a front-page analysis on Thursday.

"If he shows signs of moderation or softening toward Hamas following its victory in the Palestinian parliamentary elections, his political rival, Likud Chairman Benjamin Netanyahu, would base his party's election campaign on the claim that the Gaza pullout was a reward for Hamas," he maintained.

"On the other hand, if he threatens to sever ties with the Palestinians, boycott them, further delay funds owed to them or impose any other punishment, Olmert will find himself facing increasing international pressure to honor the legitimate, democratic election results, and to prevent the collapse of the Palestinian Authority's social and public services."

In its analysis, the Israeli daily predicted that in the coming days Olmert will try to coordinate with the US to "alleviate international pressure, and at the same time demonstrate a tough domestic stand in order to avoid losing votes to Netanyahu."

Ha'aretz said Hamas's victory strengthens Kadima's stands because it rules out any possibility of permanent agreement talks.

It added that the new development also adds power to Kadima's "no partner" theory, which states that the only alternative available to Israel is to unilaterally determine the border.
by ALJ
Thursday Jan 26th, 2006 7:54 AM
Iran has congratulated the Islamist Palestinian group Hamas for its election victory and praised voters for choosing "to continue the struggle and resistance against occupation".

Hamid Reza Asefi, the foreign ministry spokesman said in a statement on Thursday faxed to journalists:"The Islamic republic of Iran congratulates Hamas and all the Palestinian soldiers and the great Islamic people."

Iran and Hamas are allies and declared in December that they represented a "united front" against Israel. "The Palestinians have voted for the resistance and have shown their loyalty," Asefi said.

"The result of these elections will reinforce the unity of the Palestinian people in defending their rights. The massive participation of the Palestinians shows their will to continue the struggle and resistance against occupation."

Although Iran is a vocal supporter of Hamas - as well as the Palestinian resitance group Islamic Jihad and the Lebanese Shia movement Hizb Allah - the clerical regime denies allegations it finances these groups.


But on 15 December, Khaled Meshaal, the Hamas political chief said during a visit to the Iranian capital that his group would step up attacks against Israel if the Jewish state took military action against Iran over its disputed nuclear programme.

"Just as Islamic Iran defends the rights of the Palestinians, we defend the rights of Islamic Iran. We are part of a united front against the enemies of Islam," Meshaal said during the visit.

"Each member of this front defends itself with its own means in its region. We carry the battle in Palestine. If Israel launches an attack against Iran, we will expand the battlefield in Palestine," he said.


"We are part of a united front, and if one member of this front is attacked it is our duty to support them," he added, also praising Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the Iranian President, for his "courageous" anti-Israeli stance.

Since sweeping to power in a shock election win last June, Ahmadinejad has embarked on an all-out verbal assault against Israel.

He has labelled the Jewish state as a "tumour" that should be "wiped off the map" or moved as far away as Alaska, and has branded the Holocaust a "myth".
by ALJ
Thursday Jan 26th, 2006 7:55 AM
Following its shock victory in Palestinian elections Hamas looks set to be involved in democratic government for the first time. Aljazeera takes a look at the Islamist movement branded a terrorist organisation by the United States and many in Europe.

Hamas stands for Islamic Resistance Movement and in Arabic means "zeal".

It was founded in 1987 by Shaikh Ahmad Yassin and Abdel Aziz al-Rantissi as an offshoot of the then Muslim Brotherhood organisation during the first intifada against Israel.

It is formally committed to establishing a Palestinian state in its own borders and to the destruction of Israel. It has pursued this aim through a series of attacks on Israeli troops, settlers and civilians both in the Palestinian territories and in Israel.

Hamas first came to prominence due to its opposition of the Oslo peace accords in 1994. It is not clear how many members are there in its political and military wings but undoubtedly it has many supporters.

It did not take part in the first parliamentary elections in 1996 due to its opposition to the Oslo accords.