Saturday, January 03, 2009

Bush Condemns Hamas

From the Washington Post, Friday, January 2, 2009, by Dan Eggen:

President Bush issued a sharp condemnation of Hamas late today, accusing the Palestinian militant group of provoking Israeli military action with rocket attacks and increasing the death toll by secreting its arms within civilian populations.

...Bush also said he would not support "another one-way ceasefire," and he called for a strict monitoring system to curtail weapons smuggling into Gaza. ...

"This recent outburst of violence was instigated by Hamas, a Palestinian terrorist group supported by Iran and Syria that calls for Israel's destruction," Bush said. He also referred to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, who rules the West Bank, as "the legitimate leader of the Palestinian people."

"I urge all parties to pressure Hamas to turn away from terror, and to support legitimate Palestinian leaders working for peace," he said.

...Bush said in his address that he has been in contact with leaders throughout the region, including Abbas, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, and leaders in Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Jordan. He also said he would continue to keep President-elect Barack Obama informed, and said Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice "is actively engaged in diplomacy" aimed at achieving "a meaningful ceasefire that is fully respected."

Bush's criticism of Hamas was focused largely on allegations that the group endangers innocent Palestinians, using civilian areas to hide in and focusing scant resources on weapons. Bush also said he was "deeply concerned" about the humanitarian crisis in Gaza, and pledged to increase U.S. assistance.

"Since Hamas's violent takeover in the summer of 2007, living conditions have worsened for Palestinians in Gaza," Bush said. "By spending its resources on rocket launchers instead of roads and schools, Hamas has demonstrated that it has no intention of serving the Palestinian people."...

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