By KHALED ABU TOAMEH
Fatah official calls refusal to meet Abbas "unacceptable"; Hamas: Declaring J'lem Israel's capital insulting to Palestinians, Muslims.
Various radical Palestinian groups Monday criticized Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad for meeting with Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney, especially in wake of the latter’s statement that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel.
A senior Fatah official also criticized Fayyad for meeting with Romney, noting that the presidential candidate had not included Ramallah in his recent tour
The official told The Jerusalem Post that Romney’s refusal to meet with PA President Mahmoud Abbas during his visit was “unacceptable.”
Romney, the Fatah official said, “Apparently does not recognize President Abbas as the elected president of the Palestinians.”
Fayyad was quoted Monday as saying that this was the second time that he had met with Romney.
He said that he met with the Republican candidate not on a personal basis, but in his capacity as prime minister of the Palestinian Authority, whose president is Mahmoud Abbas.
Fayyad’s meeting with Romney in Jerusalem Sunday evening was almost completely ignored by PA-controlled media outlets. Some news websites reported the meeting only after it was mentioned in the Israeli media.
Hamas and other groups expressed outrage over the meeting. Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum accused Romney of insulting the feelings of Palestinians and Muslims by declaring that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel during his visit to Israel.
“These are racist and extremist statements that deny the rights of the Palestinian people,” Barhoum said. “His statements distort and forge history and mislead public opinion.”
The Hamas spokesman claimed that Romney’s statement gives Israel a green light to Judaize Jerusalem and build more settlements. “Jerusalem is the capital of the Palestinians and Palestine and we will never give it up,” he stressed.
Islamic Jihad, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine [PFLP] and the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine [DFLP] also denounced Romney’s remarks about Jerusalem and called for boycotting the candidate.
Daoud Shehab, a spokesman for Islamic Jihad in the Gaza Strip, said that Palestinians and Arabs were mistaken to pin hopes on any US Administration. He said that Romney’s statements will not change the fact that Jerusalem “belongs to the Palestinians and will be restored sooner or later.”
Talal Abu Zarifeh, a DFLP official, said that Romney’s position on Jerusalem “contradicts international laws and resolutions which consider the city part of the territories that were occupied in 1967.”
He urged all Arab and Islamic countries to exert pressure on the Americans to stop their ‘blind bias in favor of Israel.”
Jamil Muzher, member of the PFLP, said that his group believes that there is no real difference between Democrats and Republicans. “The two parties are competing to show which is more loyal to Israel,” he charged.
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