Hamas: Israelis killed because of 'opportunity'

Hamas: "We will not bear responsibility for failure"

Hamas: "We will not bear responsibility for failure"

A senior Hamas official has said that the terror organisation will not take the blame if the latest round of Middle East peace talks collapses – despite having perpetrated two attacks on Israeli civilians in two days.

Hamas official Mahmoud al-Zahar denied that the murders of four people, including a pregnant woman, had been timed to coincide with the start of the first direct peace talks in nearly two years.

He said: “When people have an opportunity, as well as the capabilities and targets, they act.”

He added: “We will not bear responsibility for failure of faulty negotiations.”

The first face-to face discussions between Israel and the Palestinians since 2008 are taking place from today in Washington.

In an interview with an Arabic newspaper Mr al-Zahar also accused Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas of “preventing resistance” by cooperating with Israel.

The Palestinian Authority said they had made hundreds of arrests in the wake of the fatal drive-by shooting near Hebron on Wednesday.

Mr al-Zahar added: “How was Gaza freed? Through negotiations? Of course not. The Israelis understood that [occupying Gaza] exacts a heavy price and chose to leave.”

Following a meeting with President Obama in Washington yesterday Israeli Prime Minister Benajmin Netanyahu ruled out a unilateral deal.

He said: “We left Lebanon, we got terror. We left Gaza, and we got terror once again.

“We want to ensure that territory we concede will not be turned into a third Iranian-sponsored terror enclave aimed at the heart of Israel.”

Last updated: 4:08pm, September 2 2010