A spokesman for Gaza’s Hamas rulers said Sunday that the Islamic militant group will oppose any international force in a future Palestine adding a new complication to U.S.-brokered peace efforts.

Secretary of State John Kerry is trying to arrange security arrangements between Israel and the Palestinians under a final peace deal.

Israel has demanded it retain a security presence in parts of the West Bank after a deal, citing security concerns. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas opposes this, but has said he would accept international peacekeepers.

While Hamas is not part of the talks, Sunday’s comments underscore its ability to hinder peace efforts.

The Palestinians want their state to include the West Bank, Gaza Strip and east Jerusalem, territories Israel captured from Jordan and Egypt in the 1967 war.

Israel withdrew its soldiers and settlers from the Gaza Strip in 2005.

Also on Sunday, a Palestinian government official in the West Bank said the Palestinian Authority has begun removing details of religious affiliation from ID cards, in an apparent move against discrimination.

The step was welcomed by the Palestinians’ Christian minority.

“It could help in job promotions, unfortunately there is still some (bigotry) in some areas in the West Bank,” said Rand Abdo, 30, from Ramallah. “When I tell them I am Christian, some people get surprised and say, ‘You don’t look like a Christian,’ but should a Christian look any different?” she said.

The move was condemned by the Hamas government in Gaza.


Israel strikes Gaza after rocket attacks February 11, 2014

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