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Hamas Slams "Hostility" Of Barack Obama's Israel Speech


GAZA CITY (AFP)--The Islamist Hamas movement that rules the Gaza Strip slammed a speech by Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama Wednesday, saying it confirmed U.S. "hostility" to Arabs and Muslims.

"We consider the statements of Obama to be further evidence of the hostility of the American administration to Arabs and Muslims," Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri told AFP.

In the speech delivered to a powerful U.S.-Israel lobby group in Washington, Obama reaffirmed his support for Israel and said Jerusalem should remain Israel's "undivided" capital.

Palestinians, including moderate President Mahmoud Abbas, have demanded east Jerusalem - occupied and annexed by Israel in the 1967 war - be the capital of their promised future state.

The international community, including the U.S., has never recognized Israel's claim over the whole city and virtually every country in the world has its embassy in the seaside city of Tel Aviv.

Obama did however say he would push for a negotiated settlement to the decades-old conflict if he is elected to the White House in November.

Abu Zuhri said Obama's statements on Jerusalem "confirm the consensus of the two American political parties on unlimited aid to the (Israeli) occupation at the expense of Palestinians and Arabs."

The speech, he said, "destroys any hope for change in American policies toward the Arab-Israeli conflict."

Obama also reiterated he won't negotiate with Hamas - which won parliamentary elections in 2006 and seized total power in the Gaza Strip in June 2007 - until it recognizes Israel and renounces violence.

In May Obama's Republican opponent John McCain said Hamas would welcome an Obama presidency, charges the Democratic candidate denied as "offensive" and " disappointing."  

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