Tens of thousands of people in the Hamas-run Gaza Strip on Tuesday rallied against the Mideast peace conference under way in the U.S while one of the movement's top leaders there stressed the summit is "doomed to failure."
The remarks by Ismail Haniyeh, leader of the Hamas government in Gaza Strip, came as protesters began filling a huge square in Gaza City, chanting "Death to America" and "Death to Israel" and calling Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas a "collaborator" for attending the gathering at Annapolis, Md.
According to the AP, Smaller demonstrations were held in the West Bank, including a protest that was violently broken up by police beating people with sticks and firing tear gas.
In his speech, Haniyeh said his group would not disarm. "We will stand firmly in the face of policies that attack the will of our people, our factions and our weapons of resistance," Haniyeh conveyed. "We reaffirm the legitimacy of resistance and support it as a natural right."
Haniyeh also voiced dismay over the participation of 16 Arab nations at the U.S. summit. According to him, the Arab masses "will reject ... any concessions to the Zionist enemy."
"We are sure that the Annapolis conference will not change the reality of history and geography," he added. "Any conference that goes beyond this reality is doomed to failure."
In new violence, Israeli forces killed two Hamas members in separate incidents early Tuesday in the Gaza Strip, the army and group's armed wing said. On Monday, four Palestinians were killed by Israeli troops in Gaza Strip.