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Hamas salutes 'positive' speech but sidesteps violence rejection

GAZA CITY, Palestinian Territories -- A senior Hamas official welcomed as “positive” a speech Saturday by Mahmud Abbas, but sidestepped the Palestinian president's pledge that a new Palestinian unity government would recognize Israel and reject violence.

“The speech had mostly positive points, and we cannot but support it on topics such as Jerusalem, reconciliation and not recognizing (Israel as) the Jewish state, in addition to the failure of (peace) negotiations,” Bassem Naim, an adviser to Hamas' Gaza Strip Prime Minister Ismail Haniya, told AFP.

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