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Mahmoud Abbas: Hamas responsible for violence
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In a news conference today from Cairo, Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas placed the blame for the violence in the Gaza Strip squarely on the shoulders of Hamas. He described how he repeatedly made contact with Hamas and implored them not to break the ceasefire. He lamented that the violence in the Gaza Strip could have been avoided had Hamas not broken the ceasefire.
 
The following is Mahmoud Abbas's statement at a joint press conference with Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmad Abu al-Gheit:
  
"I say in all honesty, we made contact with leaders in Hamas in the Gaza Strip. We spoke with them in all honesty and directly, and after that we spoke with them indirectly, through more than one Arab and non-Arab side... We spoke with them by telephone and we said: ‘We beg of you, we hope that you won't break [the ceasefire.] As the [Egyptian foreign] Minister said: "Don't break the ceasefire, the ceasefire must continue and not stop." In order to avoid [violence] that has happened. If only we had avoided it.”  
[PA TV Dec. 28, 2008]
 


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