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Israeli PM rules out peace negotiations with Hamas
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09:06, February 29, 2008

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Visiting Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert reiterated in Tokyo Thursday that his country will not negotiate peace with the Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas).

Hamas is a "terrorist organization" which is engaging in "terrorist activities" every day, Olmert told a press conference.

Accusing Hamas of never intending to reach an agreement, Olmert said it has always been denying common peace with Israel and waging war with the Jewish state.

Since it "denies the value of human dignity which is universally accepted by the international community," it is out of the range that is acceptable to Israel, the premier said.

Olmert said Israel is making efforts for Mideast peace in the hope that a basic agreement could be reached with the Palestinian side in 2008. Bilateral consultations have never stopped, he told reporters.

On the deterioration of the humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip, Olmert said it is unimaginable that people in Gaza could enjoy comfortable lives when Israel is under daily rocket attacks from it.

Hamas, which is listed as a terrorist organization by Europe and the United States, ousted Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' security forces and took control of the Gaza Strip in mid-June 2007.

Israel has imposed severe restrictions on the movement of goods and people since the Hamas take-over amid frequent tit-for-tat attacks. Only about 10 percent of the supplies entering Gaza in January 2007 were being allowed in a year later, U.N. Emergency Relief Coordinator John Holmes said Tuesday.

The official also warned that the chances of success for the ongoing peace talks might be fatally undermined without a solution.

Olmert left Tokyo for home in the evening, concluding his four-day Japan tour, which is the first by an Israeli premier since Benjamin Netanyahu's visit in 1997.

Source: Xinhua

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