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March 8, 2013 4:53 pm
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Hamas’ Haniyeh Says Obama Visit a “Trap”

avatar by Zach Pontz

Fatah and Hamas appear to have more that unites them than divides them. Photo: Suhaib Salem-Pool.

Israel’s leaders may be projecting delight about U.S. President Barack Obama’s visit to the country in less than two weeks, but Hamas’s leadership is less thrilled, and it’s voicing its displeasure.

During weekly Muslim prayers in the Gaza Strip’s Al-Omari mosque, Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh charged that Obama’s visit was meant as a trap to undermine the Palestinian reconciliation process.

“We are convinced that Obama’s visit will not produce the necessary breakthrough for our people,” he was quoted by Agence France Presse as saying.

Haniyeh also urged Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to not fall prey to Obama during their visit, which is scheduled to take place while Obama is in the region, saying he should “not fall into the trap of Obama’s visit to the region and shut the door to reconciliation.”

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Obama’s visit “will focus on regional developments and will only address our cause in a way to undermine Palestinian national reconciliation efforts and to relaunch the absurd so-called negotiations” with Israel, Haniyeh said.

On Thursday Obama met with American Jewish community leaders at the White House and said there would be no big Middle East peace initiative on the table during his trip to Israel.

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