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Hamas, Hezbollah agree to uphold resistance against Israel (HA´ARETZ NEWS) By The Associated Press BEIRUT, Lebanon 01/31/05 00:34 (GMT+2)Source: http://www.haaretzdaily.com/hasen/spages/533807.html HA'ARETZ} NEWS SERVICE HA'ARETZ} NEWS SERVICE Articles-Index-TopPublishers-Index-Top
BEIRUT - Hezbollah and Hamas have agreed to uphold the resistance option against Israel despite U.S. pressure on the militant Lebanese and Palestinian groups, a Hezbollah statement said Sunday.

The agreement came in a meeting between Hamas leader Khaled Mashal and Hezbollah leader Sheik Hassan Nasrallah at the latter´s office in south Beirut.

The talks covered developments in the Arab region, "particularly pressure to which the resistance and steadfastness forces in Syria and Lebanon are subjected through [UN] Resolution 1559 and in Palestine through the continuing (Israeli) aggression on the Palestinian people," the statement said.

"Agreement was reached that the resistance and steadfastness option is the only option in confronting the current pressure," it said.

UN Resolution 1559, passed last September, calls for the dismantling of Hezbollah and armed Palestinian groups and a withdrawal of Syrian troops from Lebanon.

Lebanon and Hezbollah have rejected the resolution, saying it contained Israeli demands.

It was not immediately known whether a proposed Palestinian truce with Israel was discussed by Mashal and Nasrallah. Mashal said last week that his group is prepared to accept a temporary conditional truce with Israel.

On Saturday, Palestinian Foreign Minister Nabil Shaath announced in Damascus that Hamas and Islamic Jihad, another militant group based in Syria, have committed to a temporary cease-fire with Israel, but only if the Jewish state halts attacks on Palestinian areas and releases Palestinian prisoners.

Hamas and Islamic Jihad, branded terrorist organizations by the United States, are responsible for killing scores of Israelis in suicide bombings.

Israeli officials have accused Hezbollah of funding suicide bombings in Israel.

Describing Hamas´ relationship with Hezbollah as "strong," Mashal told reporters after meeting Nasrallah, "We are partners in this march of confronting a common enemy. In the same way south Lebanon was liberated, we have hope that all of Palestine will be liberated."

Hezbollah, a Syrian- and Iranian-backed Shiite Muslim group, led a guerrilla war against Israel´s 18-year occupation of a border zone in southern Lebanon that ended in 2000. Israel and the United States consider Hezbollah a terrorist group, but Lebanon regards it as legitimate resistance against Israeli occupation.

Mashal said that the "resistance program" was being fought regionally and internationally, "particularly by the U.S. administration and the Zionist enemy."

"But the resistance program is making progress in various fields, making successes and winning the support and confidence of our Palestinian people inside and outside (Palestinian areas)," Mashal said, apparently referring to Hamas´ strong showing in last week´s municipal elections in the Gaza Strip. (© Copyright 2005 Haaretz. 01/31/05)

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