Special report: Palestine-Israel Relations
GAZA, June 17 (Xinhua) -- Islamic Hamas movement in Gaza slammed on Tuesday a European Union decision aims at strengthening ties with Israel, saying it is a proof that the U.S. still controls the EU.
Fawzi Barhoum, Hamas spokesman in Gaza told reporters that "the decision is a complete bias to the Zionist entity and a denial of rights. The decision is dangerous on security and stability in the region."
He added that the decision "is an indication that America still controls the decisions of the European Union to keep the Zionist entity as a thick stick to serve its interests in the Arab world," said Barhoum.
The European Union said on Monday it was ready to strengthen ties with Israel, but urged it to make progress on Middle East peace and criticized it for building more settlements in the occupied territories.
"The European Union is determined to develop a closer partnership with Israel," EU foreign ministers agreed in Luxembourg before meeting with their Israeli counterpart Tzipi Livni within the framework of the annual EU-Israel Association Council.
The EU is one party of the international Quartet Committee, which also includes Russia, the U.S. and the United Nations. It is still listing Hamas movement among world groups of terrorism.
The Quartet embargoed Hamas movement, which won the elections of 2006, and conditioned lifting the embargo on the movement's recognizing Israel, the signed interim agreements and condemn violence.
"The European Union denies the Palestinian people democratic choice after Hamas won the elections. It shares the Quartet in the collective punishment against the Palestinian people," said Barhoum.
He added that strengthening the ties "with the Zionist entity" "would encourage the enemy and give it a green light to continue with its crimes it carries round the clock against our people."