The leader of the democratically-elected Hamas government in the Gaza Strip, Ismail Haniyya, warned the Palestinian people not to believe yesterday's speech by U.S. President George W. Bush in which he called for an 'end to the occupation'. Haniyya stated that Bush's visit to the region was harmful to any peace process between Palestine and Israel, and hurt the chances of Palestinians to achieve the internationally-recognized right of self-determination. Bush, during his two days in Israel and one day in the West Bank (one of two Palestinian territories), made differing promises to the Israeli and Palestinian leadership. According to Haniyya, Bush's promises to the Palestinians were lies, He scolded the Palestinian people for buying into Bush's promises, and warned them that going this route will surely lead to their demise.
Haniyya stated, "Bush gave Israel all the required pledges to solidify its occupation and to wipe out basic Palestinian rights and sacred issues, while he gave the Palestinians more illusions and slogans, and loose words that only express the deception which has characterized this visit."
The elected government of the Palestinian people, which Haniyya heads, has been boycotted by the U.S. government since it was elected in January 2006. During his visit to the region this week, Bush refused to meet with the Palestinian elected government, instead meeting only with the Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and his unelected government. Bush also stated that the situation in Gaza was a problem that he would not deal with in his year left in office.