HAMAS’ SAME OLD DEFIANCE

February 10, 2007 — MECCA, Saudi Arabia – Hamas urged the West yesterday to accept a new Palestinian unity government, but leading officials from the Islamic terror group said they would never recognize Israel, nor abide by existing peace accords.

Hamas and rival group Fatah signed a deal Thursday to end factional warfare that has killed scores of Palestinians, and to form a coalition, hoping this would lead Western powers to lift severe sanctions imposed on the Hamas-led government because the group rejects Israel.

Israeli officials said the coalition agreement failed to meet conditions to end sanctions, and initial reaction from the United States and Europe was muted.

“We have agreed with the Saudis to market this agreement internationally. Our [Saudi] brothers are in constant contact with the Americans and Europeans,” Hamas government spokesman Ghazi Hamad said.

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