A major faction within the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) has denounced the party’s decision to enter US-mediated indirect talks with Israel.
"The decision reflects an obvious retreat from the commitments made to the Palestinian people and a clear violation of Palestinian national consensus," Kayid al-Ghoul, who heads the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine in Gaza, said on Sunday.
The PLO on Saturday agreed to resume the talks which are mediated by the United States Middle East envoy, George Mitchell.
Ghoul, whose faction is the PLO’s second largest after Fatah, said the move would "only serve Israel and unburden the US and the Middle East Quartet from their legal and political obligations." He also called on the PLO’s executive committee to review the Oslo Accords and its negotiation policy to put an end to "the ongoing violation of Palestinian rights."
The Palestinian leader insisted that Palestinians should continue to boycott Israel, its institutions and products.
Chief PLO negotiator Saeb Erekat said on Sunday that indirect talks with Israel had officially begun, despite Israel’s refusal to heed Palestinian and international calls to freeze its settlement expansions on lands where Palestinians hope to build their future Palestinian state.
The talks were stalled in March after Israel announced plans to build hundreds of settler units in al-Quds (East Jerusalem).
The Palestinian resistance movement, Hamas, had warned against the resumption of the negotiations, arguing that the move would only serve to facilitate further "Israeli violations" against Palestinians.