The radical Palestinian group Hamas says it will boycott next month's election for a successor to the late Palestinian Authority President Yasser Arafat.
Speaking Wednesday in Gaza City, senior Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh says his movement is appealing to its members not to vote in the January 9 poll.
Hamas has not formally recognized Israel's right to exist, and says it will not nominate a presidential candidate because it rejects the 1993 treaty with Israel that created the Palestinian Authority.
However, earlier this week, another senior Hamas leader Sheikh Hassan Yousef said his organization is ready to halt attacks on Israel while Palestinians prepare for the polls.
Hamas has claimed responsibility for dozens of suicide bombings against Israeli civilian targets in the past four years.