Hamas rules out Gaza peacekeepers


Hamas said it would reject any attempt to station foreign
peacekeepers in the Gaza Strip.

Ismail Haniyeh, the Hamas leader who was prime minister
until Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas dissolved the P.A.
coalition government last month, said Saturday that foreign peacekeepers in
Gaza “would not be acceptable to us.” Hamas’ armed wing said any foreign
peacekeepers stationed in Gaza would be viewed as “an occupying
force” and subject to armed Palestinian attacks.

Since Hamas seized control of Gaza two weeks ago, prompting
a split with Abbas’ Fatah faction, Abbas increasingly has been speaking of the
need for international intervention in the chaotic coastal territory. Speaking
in Paris on Saturday, Abbas said peacekeepers could help secure future
Palestinian Authority elections, in which Fatah would try to wrest electoral
popularity from Hamas.

One proposal has been to involve Arab or Muslim countries in
the peacekeeper force in a bid to mollify Hamas.

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