Rice, Sharon disagree over Hamas

Nov. 14, 2005 at 11:32 AM

JERUSALEM, Ireland, Nov. 14 (UPI) -- U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon sharply disagreed Monday over Hamas and the Palestinian elections.

Sharon said allowing Hamas to take part in the elections for the Palestinian Legislative Council would be a grave error. He said it would weaken Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas rather than strengthening him, as Palestinians have argued.

In recent weeks, the IDF has arrested hundreds of Hamas activists, most of them members of the organization's political wing, Haaretz said.

"We wholeheartedly support President Bush's moves for democratization, but we will not aid Hamas," Sharon said. "We will not aid the murderers of Jews, even if they take part in elections."

Rice took issue with Sharon's position, saying following the election it would be easier to force Hamas to disarm since the pressure would be coming from the international community as a whole.

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