Hamas sceptical on Obama declarations

May 19, 2009 12:00 am

, GAZA CITY, May 19 – The Hamas rulers of Gaza on Tuesday expressed scepticism about statements by US President Barack Obama during his first meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, which exposed deep differences between the two.

"The statements by Obama are nothing but wishes on which we do not much count," Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhum said in a statement.

Statements by the US president that "are not accompanied by pressure on the Zionist occupation and concrete measures do not reflect a radical change of American policy toward our people," he said.

In their first meeting since assuming their respective offices earlier this year, Obama and Netanyahu exposed stark differences on the issues of the Middle East peace process and Iran.

Obama underlined the US support for the creation of a Palestinian state and said Israeli settlement activities in the occupied West Bank "have to be stopped."

Netanyahu pointedly avoided committing to the two-state solution and did not address the settlement issue, which his largely right-wing cabinet supports.

Hamas, boycotted by Israel and Washington as a terror group, has run the Gaza Strip since June 2007 when it ousted forces loyal to Western-backed president Mahmud Abbas.


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