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Hamas Rejects World's Call To Denounce Violence, Recognize Israel

Hamas supporters celebrate their parliamentary victory in Nablus on 26 January (epa) 31 January 2006 -- The Islamic militant group Hamas has rejected calls from world powers to renounce violence and recognize the state of Israel if the group participates in a new Palestinian government.

Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri is quoted by Reuters news agency as saying the Quartet of Middle East peace mediators -- the United States, Russia, European Union, and United Nations -- should have demanded an end to Israeli occupation and aggression instead of making demands on Hamas.

The Hamas spokesman said he believes Palestinians are now being punished for exercising their democratic rights in last week's elections that were won by Hamas.

Yesterday, the Quartet said future financial aid to the Palestinian Authority will depend on a Hamas-led government's willingness to renounce violence, recognize Israel, and accept the "roadmap" peace process that calls for the co-existence of Israel and a future Palestinian state.

Hamas' official policy calls for the destruction of Israel.

(Reuters, AP, AFP)