Can Hamas spoil Obama’s three-way Mideast summit?

Tel Aviv – Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh slammed the Obama administration’s plan to meet Tuesday with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, saying that Palestinians will reject anything Mr. Abbas agrees to during discussions on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York.

His comments come one day after militants in Gaza fired two rockets into Israel and as a flare up in violence along the Gaza border left two militants dead.

“Any signature will be invalid, and it won’t bind the Palestinian people to anything,” Mr. Haniyeh said in a sermon in Gaza City at the start of the Muslim Eid al-Fitr holiday. “No one has the right to give up on Jerusalem or the [Palestinian] refugees. Not the [Palestine Liberation Organization] nor any other faction can sign an agreement hurting the Palestinian people’s principles and rights.”

For Palestinians, Haniyeh’s remarks were a jab at his rival, Mr. Abbas, for relenting on a demand that Israel agree to a freeze in settlement construction as a condition to resuming talks with Mr. Netanyahu. And the timing of his comments serve as a reminder that Hamas, which maintains control of Gaza, could play spoiler to this week’s attempt to get peace talks back on track.

The about-face “embarrasses the Palestinian leadership,” says Ghassan Khatib, a former Palestinian cabinet min… >>>

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