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Bush’s Dismantle Hamas Call Would Cause Civil War

Bush’s Call to Dismantle Hamas is Call for Palestinian Civil War: PNA

The Palestinian National Authority (PNA) rejected Thursday US President Bush’s call to dismantle Hamas and other anti-Israeli occupation groups, saying such an attempt would ignite a Palestinian civil war.

“The talk about dismantling factions is a flagrant call for a civil war that is rejected by the Palestinian people, the Palestinian Authority and by the factions, and it will never happen,” said Ahmed Adel-Rahman, a senior aide to President Yasser Arafat, Reuters reported.

President George W. Bush on Wednesday said in a press conference following an EU-US annual summit meeting in Washington that it was not enough for Palestinians to reach a Hudna (truce) agreement and insisted they dismantle the Islamic Resistance Movement “Hamas.”

“It’s one thing to make a verbal agreement, but in order for there to be peace in the Middle East, we must see organizations such as Hamas dismantled,” Bush said Wednesday at a joint news conference with the European Union leadership.

Bush’s national security adviser, Condoleezza Rice, will be in the region this weekend for talks with Palestinian and Israeli leaders.

The US – sponsored “roadmap” peace plan calls on the PNA to begin "effective operations aimed at confronting all those engaged in terror, and dismantlement of terrorist capabilities and infrastructure," including confiscation of illegal weapons.

Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas repeatedly has said he does not intend to confront opposition factions, but will rather persuade them to accept a truce through a national dialogue aimed at reaching a Palestinian consensus on a national agenda.

“I am confident of reaching a Palestinian national agreement (on a cease-fire) but every time we get close, Israel strikes against the effort and undermines the process,” Abdel-Rahman said.

Bush appeared in his comments to be lining up behind Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's position that the “roadmap,” envisaging the creation of a Palestinian state by 2005, could go nowhere unless the armed groups were reined in, Reuters reported on Thursday.

The PNA has repeatedly accused Sharon of trying to sabotage any deal by continuing his government’s policy of extra-judicial assassinations against anti-Israeli occupation Palestinian activists.

“I am confident of reaching a Palestinian national agreement (on a cease-fire) but every time we get close, Israel strikes against the effort and undermines the process,” Abdel-Rahman said.

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