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Death to Israel, Death to America

Tens of thousands of people in the Hamas-ruled Gaza([search]) Strip on Tuesday rallied against the Mideast peace conference underway in the U.S while the group's top leader in Gaza insisted the summit is "doomed to failure."
The comments by Ismail Haniyeh, leader of the Hamas government in Gaza, came as protesters began filling a huge square in Gaza City, chanting "Death to America" and "Death to Israel([search])" and calling Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas a "collaborator" for attending the gathering at Annapolis, Md.

Smaller demonstrations were held in Abbas' West Bank stronghold, including a protest that was violently broken up by police beating people with sticks and firing tear gas.

"Annapolis is a disaster for us," said Amina Hasanat, a 37-year-old mother of eight who demonstrated in a women-only section of the Gaza City rally. Dressed in a black robe and black and green headband, she predicted the conference would end in failure. "This will be an advantage for the resistance," she said.

Gaza's Hamas rulers have been staging daily demonstrations against the U.S.-hosted conference, restating their commitment to Israel's destruction and promising to reject any decisions that come out of Annapolis. The criticism has grown increasingly vitriolic, with one Hamas leader on Monday calling Abbas a "traitor."

Polls show that a majority of both Palestinians and Israelis favor a negotiated settlement to the conflict. However, a majority on each side is also skeptical that the current peace push will bear fruit.

Hamas violently seized control of Gaza last June after routing forces loyal to Abbas, and the president's lack of control of Gaza has raised questions about his ability to carry out a future peace deal. Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has said he will not implement a peace agreement without a halt to militant attacks emanating from Gaza.

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An inglorious peace is better than a dishonorable war.
-- Mark Twain
Source: "Glances at History" (suppressed)

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