OHA, Qatar, Dec. 10 — The militant Palestinian group Hamas faxed an appeal today to foreign ministers and other senior diplomats representing 1.2 billion Muslims, asking for support in continuing suicide operations against Israeli targets.
The message came during a special one-day session of the Organization of the Islamic Conference that has focused on the surge of violence in the Arab-Israeli dispute.
While admitting that they had little leverage to propel Washington to rein in Israel, delegates condemned the United States for not doing more to end bloodshed.
Ministers of the conference, which has 57 members, suggested that Washington produce a plan to implement recent statements by President Bush and Secretary of State Colin L. Powell supporting a Palestinian state. "These are the things, the ideas that we want the Americans to implement on the ground," said Sheik Hamad bin Jasem al- Thani, Qatar's foreign minister.
The statement from Hamas, which the United States condemns as a terrorist organization, said the Palestinians had no choice but to fight occupation.
"The enemy will not recognize our people's right in his land unless forced to," said the one-page fax.
Hamas urged the conference to differentiate between organizations fighting occupation and those carrying out terrorist acts.
The appeal popped up on a fax machine in the conference's press room and delegates said it was neither distributed nor discussed in the main meeting.
The final communiqué did reject the idea that groups fighting the Israeli occupation be labeled terrorists, but various officials noted that this support did not extend to killing civilians through suicide operations.
"The Palestinians are in a state of self-defense against foreign military occupation and not the other way around," said Amr Moussa, the secretary general of the Arab League. "But there is a need to protect civilians and isolate them from areas of conflict."
Yasir Arafat, chairman of the Palestinian Authority, had called for the conference, but delegates said he was unable to attend because he was concerned that Israel would not let him back into Gaza or the West Bank.
Some senior Arab officials said Mr. Arafat should probably be doing more, including curbing violent groups, to encourage the United States to develop its proposals for a state.
But many said he had been put in an untenable position by Israel — demanding that he crack down on violence while simultaneously firing rockets at his police officers.
The final communiqué called on Palestinians to rally behind Mr. Arafat, reflecting concern among the delegates that Israel was trying to undermine the Palestinian Authority to ensure that any prospect for future negotiations would collapse.
It also called for international observers to separate the two sides and appointed a seven-member committee to lobby various major governments and world organizations to intervene on behalf of the Palestinians.