Hamas on Friday rejected a new plan by Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, aimed at ridding Israel of any responsibility for Gaza.
A spokesman for the organization, Sami Abu-Zuhri, said Hamas was opposed to dividing the Strip from the West Bank.
"We will not allow the occupation to evade its legal responsibility as long as it continues to occupy Palestinian land. Gaza is a part of the Palestinian homeland and we reject its disengagement from the rest of the homeland," he said.
"The occupation in the Strip continues despite the withdrawal of Zionist forces and despite the disbanding of settlements," Abu-Zuhri added.
"This is an (Israeli) attempt to evade its responsibility for the siege. The removal of the siege is a legal right according to international and human rights law, and we must separate between the removal of the siege and the disengagement of the Strip from the rest of the homeland."
According to Lieberman's plan, which was published by the Yedioth Ahronoth daily, Gaza – with European assistance – will become an entirely independent entity. In this way, Lieberman believes, the world will finally recognize the end of the Israeli occupation there.
Lieberman's plan calls to fully lift the siege and allow ships to dock in the Strip without being inspected in Israel first. Ships that will undergo inspection in Cyprus or Greece will be allowed to continue towards
Gaza. According to the proposal, Israel will also allow European countries to implement plans aimed at improving the lives of the coastal enclave's residents. Israel's border with the Hamas-ruled territory will be hermetically sealed.
The FM plans to present his plan to Catherine Ashton, the European Union commissioner for foreign affairs, during her scheduled visit to Israel next week. Ashton will be accompanied by six European foreign ministers.
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