The ruling Hamas party in Gaza slammed on Tuesday a meeting between Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas and his Israeli counterpart, Shimon Peres, as 'aimless and only serves the Israeli occupation'. Sami Abu Zuhri, spokesman of Hamas in Gaza, told media outlets that such a meeting is a part of aimless Palestinian-Israeli talks that only provide a cover to the Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands and Israeli army crimes against the Palestinian people. Abu Zhuhri called on President Abbas to stop such talks immediately and return to a national dialogue, which is according to the Hamas spokesman, the best means to attaining the Palestinian national rights. Both Abbas and Peres met today in the latter's Presidents' Residence in Jerusalem, the first of its type between an Israeli and Palestinian presidents. Abbas spoke in a joint press conference with Peres, of the need for peace between Palestinians and Israelis, saying ' if we can not ensure an honorable life for our children, history will curse us". Abbas looked forward to reaching peace by the end of this year, as envisioned by the President Gorge W. Bush, who has been seeking a two-state solution before the end of his term in office in January 2009. " If peace prevails in this region , then all other world problems will come to an end", Abbas was quoted as saying. From his part, President Shimon Peres, who is a co-architect of peace agreements between Palestine and Israel, jointly with Abbas, said " the gap between Palestinians and Israelis has been almost bridged and there has been much progress on the road to peace". However, the Israeli President maintained that there are still so many difficulties, particularly with regard to Jerusalem. Israel still considers Jerusalem as the unified capital of Israel as Palestinians insist that the occupied east Jerusalem is the capital of a future Palestinian state. The meeting between the two leaders comes amidst continued Israeli settlement building in occupied Palestinian territories in east Jerusalem as well as Israeli army actions in the West Bank, for which Abbas's Palestinian Authority is responsible. The ruling Hamas party in Gaza has shunned peace talks with Israel until Israel halts actions on the Palestinian people, including settlement activities, Israeli army killings and arrests of Palestinians. Since coming to power after 2006's parliamentary elections, Hamas has not recognized the PLO-signed Oslo peace accords with Israel, in which Abbas played a major role in early 1990s.

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