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Hamas rejects a plan for sharing power with Fatah

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip -- Qatar's attempt to end a growing crisis in the Palestinian territories appeared to end in failure yesterday after Hamas rejected the plan's key demands that it recognize Israel and renounce violence.

Fatah faulted Hamas for the breakdown in negotiations -- the latest setback to international efforts to establish a unity government and restore much-needed aid to the Palestinians.

However, Palestinian Information Minister Youssef Rizka of Hamas said the United States was to blame for dismissing a separate Palestinian plan that would establish a Palestinian state in the West Bank but not explicitly recognize Israel. The document has been a basis for Hamas-Fatah talks.

Qatar's foreign minister presented his country's six-point plan Monday in separate meetings with President Mahmoud Abbas of Fatah and Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh of Hamas. The foreign minister, Sheik Hamad bin Jassem al Thani, said afterward there was still no agreement on the issue of recognizing Israel. He left the Palestinian territories early yesterday.

Ghazi Hamad, spokesman for the Hamas-led government, said his group was not ready to recognize Israel or give up its armed struggle against Israel.

``We differentiate between resistance and terrorism," he said.

Still, he said, Hamas is ready to continue the negotiations: ``The way is not blocked."

Israel kept up its pressure on militants yesterday. Israeli forces shot and killed an armed Palestinian near the border fence in Gaza, the military and Palestinians said. Aircraft also fired a missile at a vehicle near the Nusseirat refugee camp in central Gaza, wounding a gunman, Palestinians said. The military had no immediate comment on that incident.

Israel and Western donor nations cut off hundreds of millions of dollars to the Palestinian Authority after Hamas won parliamentary elections in January and formed a new government.

The international community wants Hamas to renounce violence, recognize Israel, and accept past peace agreements. Hamas refuses to accept the conditions, despite widespread economic hardship caused by the international sanctions.

An Israeli military offensive in Gaza, launched after Hamas-linked militants captured an Israeli soldier in June, has added to the misery. The soldier remains in captivity.

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