Obama tells Hamas 'heinous crimes' will not derail peace efforts

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U.S. President Barack Obama said on Wednesday brutal murders by Hamas militants would not prevent Washington from ensuring Israel's security and pushing for peace in the region.

U.S. President Barack Obama said on Wednesday brutal murders by Hamas militants would not prevent Washington from ensuring Israel's security and pushing for peace in the region.

His comments come on the eve of Washington talks between Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, their first direct negotiations in 20 months.

Four Israelis, including a pregnant woman, were shot dead in the West Bank on Tuesday. The armed wing of Hamas said it was responsible for the killing, calling it "a response to the crimes of the occupation".

"There are going to be extremists and rejectionists who, rather than seeking peace, are going to be seeking destruction," Obama said after a meeting with Netanyahu in the Oval Office.

"I want everybody to be very clear. The United States is going to be unwavering in support of Israel's security and we are going to push back against these kinds of terrorist activities," he said.

"And so the message should go out to Hamas and everybody else who is taking credit for these heinous crimes that this is not going to stop us from not only ensuring a secure Israel but also securing a longer lasting peace with the people throughout the region," he went on.

Netanyahu thanked Obama for his support.

The U.S. president also said he had "confidence" that the Palestinian-Israeli talks would succeed.

Analysts have expressed doubts that the Israeli and Palestinian leaders can agree on the core issues of a Middle East peace. Those issues are settlement construction, the status of East Jerusalem, Israel's demand for recognition as a Jewish state, the issue of Palestinian refugees and the final borders of a future Palestinian state.

On Tuesday, Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad also condemned the killing of Israelis by Hamas militants.

He said the attack was "aimed against efforts made by the Palestine Liberation Organization to mobilize international support for the Palestinian position."

 

WASHINGTON, September 1 (RIA Novosti)

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