Syria says Hamas' gains are the result of Israel's rejection to peace

The Syrian government on Saturday said Israeli "prevarication and rejection of peace" were behind the Hamas landslide victory in Palestinian elections.

Hamas captured 75 of the 132 parliament seats, proving a "new era has started not only on the Palestinian arena but in the whole region and the world," the government daily Tishrin said in a front page editorial, marking Damascus' first official reaction to the Wednesday vote.

Syria, a staunch enemy of Israel, is the home to radical Palestinian factions that oppose making peace with Israel, including Hamas and Islamic Jihad.

The Palestinian people have chosen the "path of resistance. They weren't only searching for change for the sake of change, but for a just cause, which couldn't not be solved through political and diplomatic means because of Israel's prevarication and rejection of peace," the newspaper said.

It said the election caused a "worldwide earthquake," noting what it saw as the paradox of the West, the administration of U.S. President George W. Bush in particular, being "unable to accept the results of democracy or to respect the peoples' choice."

The paper said the United States should accept the new reality and that Israel should alter its approach regarding Hamas.

In an interview with "CBS Evening News" on Friday, Bush said the United States would cut aid to the Palestinian government unless Hamas abolishes the militant arm of its party and stops calling for the destruction of Israel, AP reported. V.A.

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