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British Lawmakers: Government Should Engage Hamas

British lawmakers have released a report urging the government to talk with moderates in the Palestinian militant group Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip.

The British Parliament's Foreign Affairs Committee said the current policy of not talking to Hamas is achieving little.

The report published Sunday reinforces a recommendation the committee made two years ago.

Britain and other Western nations reject contact with Hamas because it will not renounce violence, recognize Israel or accept interim peace deals.

Of the Quartet of Middle East peace brokers - Russia, the United States, the United Nations and the European Union - the only one talking to Hamas is Russia.

But the British committee says the peace process the Quartet is seeking in order to undercut Hamas will be difficult to achieve without greater cooperation from Hamas itself.

The committee said it is concerned the Quartet is failing to provide Hamas with greater incentives to change its position.

Earlier this year, the British government decided to re-open contact with the political wing of the Lebanon-based militant group, Hezbollah, but remained closed to talking to Hamas.

Israel launched an offensive against Hamas last year in the Gaza Strip. The British report criticized both Hamas and Israel over the conflict. The committee accused Hamas of targeting civilians in attacks on Israel, while labeling Israel's military action "disproportionate."

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters.