Special report: Palestine-Israel
GAZA, Jan. 8 (Xinhua) -- Mahmoud al-Zahar, senior Hamas leader and foreign
minister in the former Hamas-led Palestinian cabinet, on Tuesday rejected the
expected visit by U.S. President George W. Bush to Israel and the Palestinian
Bush will arrive in Israel on Wednesday, where he is expected to meet with
Israeli leaders, and will also visit the West Bank and meet President Mahmoud
Abbas in Ramallah. Bush will also visit in Bethlehem.
Al-Zahar told reporters in Gaza City, north of the Hamas-run Gaza Strip,
that Bush's visit in the region is aimed at "decorating the deformed image of
his party, because his terrorist actions were carried out in the Middle East
over the past few years."
Al-Zahar made his remarks when leading a Hamas delegation to visit the only
Roman Orthodox Church in Gaza to extend congratulations for the new year. The
Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip is home to some 3,500 Christians.
"The visit of Bush to the region would neither serve the Palestinian
people, nor present the least rights for them," said al-Zahar, whose movement
routed Abbas' security forces last June and took control of the coastal Strip.
Asked about the talks between Israel and the Palestinians, al-Zahar
responded, "These talks are just a waste of time and an exhaustion of efforts,
and it wouldn't give our people the legitimate rights."
"The experience of peace talks since the Madrid peace conference in 1993 had showed that the peace talks with Israel are useless and only achieve more occupation, more killings and more sufferings," he added.