Mr. Abbas renewed a request to deploy an international force in Gaza, widely seen as a nonstarter because of the many complications of sending forces to such a volatile area.
In a joint press conference, Mr. Prodi suggested that the time was not ripe for such a deployment.
Deposed Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh of Hamas rejected international forces.
“We consider any international presence in Gaza a type of external aggression against the Palestinian people and the Palestinian issue and unwanted interference in internal Palestinian affairs,” he said.
Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri accused Mr. Abbas of trying to whip up sentiment against Hamas, which vanquished the president”s forces in Gaza last month and unseated his Fatah political party in the 2006 parliamentary elections.
The Army of Islam, which last week freed British Broadcasting Corp. correspondent Alan Johnston after nearly four months, claims links to al Qaeda.
“This is the time to give Palestinians hope,” he added. “We don”t think humanitarian support is enough.”
Mr. Abbas reiterated that he would engage in dialogue with Hamas only if the militants reversed the violent takeover of Gaza and apologized to the Palestinian people. Hamas is unlikely to meet such demands.
Hamas leaders, fearful of deepening the group”s international isolation, suggested after seizing Gaza that they would steer clear of al Qaeda, in line with the movement”s position to focus on the conflict with Israel.
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