At a meeting in New York, Ariel Sharon has repeated his strong stance against Hamas taking part in Palestinian elections. The Israeli prime minister has asked the European Union and the United Nations to back him. He argues that the Islamic militant group has to change dramatically if it wants to be involved.“In order to participate in the elections, they have to do two things,” he said. “One, their weapons should be collected, and the other thing, they have to ban the covenant of the Hamas. “It is one of the most terrible documents, calling for the elimination of the Jewish people and the state of Israel.” Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, who will hold talks with Sharon in early October, hopes Hamas will move away from fundamentalism if it is allowed to take part in legislative elections in January. In Gaza, Hamas gunmen have been leading what they dubbed a “victory parade”. The militants claim their violent campaign forced the Israeli withdrawal from the coastal strip last month.