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Hamas elections rally in Gaza
Photo: Reuters
Hamas: We never wanted to throw Jews in sea
Hamas leader Ismail Hanieh says group never wanted to throw Jews in sea; 'we don't hate Jews because they are Jews,' he says
As the Palestinian elections near, the Islamic group Hamas seems to be increasingly softening its rhetoric against Israel. A senior official of the group sworn to Israel’s destruction said Tuesday that Hamas is not hostile to the Jews of Israel because of their ethnic and religious identity but because they occupied historic Palestine.

 

“Hamas is not hostile to Jews because they are Jews. We are hostile to them because they occupied our land and expelled our people,” Ismail Hanieh said.

 

“We did not say we want to throw the Jews in the sea or feed them to sharks. We just said that there is a land called occupied Palestine. It was burglarized and it needs to be returned to the Palestinian people,” Hanieh added.

 

As Hamas prepares for a strong showing in the January 25 parliamentary elections, opinion polls have forecast the party earning between 30 to 40 percent of votes, placing it only second to Mahmoud Abbas’ ruling Fatah with 40 to 50 percent.

 

A recent Palestinian poll published in the Boston Globe shows Hamas winning 32 percent of votes.

 

Jordan's King says only alternative to Palestinian state is violence

 

Meanwhile, Jordan 's King Abdullah II said Tuesday that the only alternative to creation of a Palestinian state was more chaos, violence and instability in the Middle East.

 

The official Petra news agency said the king issued the dire forecast in a meeting with a delegation from the New York-based Council on Foreign Relations headed by Brent Scowcroft, who was National Security adviser to former President George H.W. Bush.

 

The king said the next two years were particularly critical, and he urged Israel to continue withdrawing from Palestinian territories.

 

Abdullah also urged all parties to the peace process to do their utmost to improve the living conditions of the Palestinian people and to give Mahmoud Abbas the necessary support for imposing law and order through the establishment of effective civil and security institutions.

 

AP contributed to this report

 

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