The Associated Press
February 9, 2009 - 1:00am

The Palestinian Authority foreign minister on Monday accused Hamas of trying to influence the outcome of Tuesday's general election in Israel by keeping up the rocket fire on southern Israel.

Riad Malki said Hamas did not want to see a pro-peace government elected in Israel during the parliamentary vote because it would pursue a political deal with the PA, dominated by its rival Fatah movement.

On Sunday, two rockets struck southern Israel, violating an informal Israel-Hamas truce.

Malki told reporters in Warsaw that the PA was very much worried that such attacks might really push Israeli public opinion and the voters to vote for an anti-peace government.

The foreign minister's comments came as polls suggested that Israel's next government could indeed be more hawkish than the current coalition, with the hardline Yisrael Beiteinu Party projected to win more Knesset seats than the left-of-center Labor Party and the right-wing Likud party projected to the be the largest contingent in the Knesset.

The Kadima-led government under Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has pursued peace talks with the Palestinian Authority since the Annapolis Summit in November 2007. The summit, which focused on a two-state solution to the conflict, was meant to relaunch peace talks which had laid dormant since the outbreak of the Second Intifada in 2001.

The talks did not include Hamas, which seized Gaza by force in 2007 and does not recognize Israel's right to exist.


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