…a report in Haaretz that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas had told U.S. President Barack Obama during his recent visit to Washington that he opposed the lifting of the naval blockade because such a move would bolster Hamas, the rival of Abbas’ Fatah party.

However, Abbas’ spokesman issued a denial on Sunday in response to the morning’s report, explaining to the Palestinain Wafa news agency that the Palestinian president had told Obama that the lifting of the blockade on Gaza was like the peace process in the sense that “the president [Abbas] has raised the demand to lift the blockade in all his meetings with world leaders.”

“The world should take advantage of the events of the Gaza flotilla to push Israel to lift the blockade and end the suffering of Gaza’s inhabitants,” The spokesman, Nabil Abu Rudaina, added.

Meanwhile Sunday, Middle East envoy Tony Blair said he hoped to see movement in the next few days on easing the Israeli blockade of the Gaza Strip.

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