Tuesday, April 05, 2005

At Iran's Behest, Hizbullah and Hamas Sign an Accord

World Tribune.com:
Hamas and Hizbullah have signed a cooperation accord. The leaders of Hamas and Hizbullah met on April 1 in Beirut and signed a statement declaring their war against Israel as legitimate. Hamas and Hizbullah are divided by religious beliefs, with Hizbullah led by Shi'ite clerics from Iran and Hamas directed by Sunnis. But over the last two years, Iran has increased support to Hamas and encouraged cooperation with the Beirut-based Hizbullah.

The meeting of Hizbullah secretary-general Hassan Nasrallah and Hamas political chief Khaled Mashaal ended with a joint call against disarming their groups, Middle East Newsline reported. READ MORE

For its part, Hamas said the reduction in the Palestinian insurgency campaign in the West Bank and Gaza Strip depended on the halt of Israeli attacks and the release of all Palestinian prisoners.

"Hamas will not be committed to remain calm if Israel fails to meet its demands," Hamas said in the statement.

[In Beirut, another bombing took place in a Christian neighborhood of Beirut. The attack on Saturday evening was on the eve of a Syrian announcement of a timetable for a military withdrawal from Lebanon.]

"This truce is a period for pause, and to avoid destruction and sabotage," Hamas political chief Khaled Masha'al said.

For his part, Nasrallah said he would not agree to the disarming of Hizbullah, a main condition of the United States. Nasrallah challenged the United States to try to force Hizbullah to surrender its weapons.

"I wish they would come," Nasrallah said.