Israel is demanding that the Islamic terrorist group Hamas disarm before participating in Palestinian parliamentary elections in July. Prime Minister Ariel Sharon made this demand in meetings with international envoys this week, including a US congressional delegation and the Turkish prime minister. Both Israel and the Palestinian Authority fear a strong showing by Hamas in the elections. "If Hamas participates in the elections and remains an armed group, then we won't be able to advance with the ‘roadmap’ [peace plan]," said Sharon’s spokesman Ra’anan Gissin. He added that the Palestinians cannot move toward democracy if Hamas and its "private army" participate in elections.
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