Democratically elected Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh said the Palestinian Authority’s decision to resume direct talks with Israel is doomed to fail.
Speaking at a mosque in Jabaliya, Haniyeh said that negotiations with Israeli would not restore the Palestinians’ rights or their occupied religious sites, Ma’an news agency reported.
Haniyeh also praised the steadfastness of the Palestinian people in the face of Israel’s blockade of the Gaza Strip, saying the Palestinians were a "model for the Arab nations and Islamic countries."
The decision by the Palestinian Authority (PA) by to reenter direct negotiations with Israel prompted Hamas to indefinitely defer a meeting with Fatah officials which was scheduled to focus on a unity deal.
Hamas, however, was not the only Palestinian faction to denounce Ramallah’s agreement to a US plan for the resumption of talks with Israel in Washington in September.
With the exception of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) Executive Committee, an unelected body, Palestinian political parties joined voices over the weekend to condemn the PA’s "capitulation."
The political bureau of the Palestinian Peoples’ Party issued a statement on Saturday saying that agreeing to negotiations with Israel would lead to "further fiasco," while the Hamas-affiliated al-Ahrar also denounced the decision as "subjugation to American decisions."
Direct negotiations with Israel broke down in December 2008, following Israel’s devastating onslaught on the Gaza Strip.
The PLO endorsed the return to talks on Friday, after US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton invited Israeli and Palestinian leaders to restart talks in September without any preconditions.