Hamas: PLO, Israeli Meeting ‘Blow to Reconciliation’

Hamas leader Ismail Radwan said on Wednesday the PLO meeting with Israeli envoys in Amman on Tuesday would damage Fatah’s reconciliation deal with his faction.

"We consider these meetings a blow for national reconciliation, especially as we agreed in Cairo to face Israel’s settlements, wall, and attacks together," Radwan said during a meeting of the community reconciliation committee in Gaza.

Hamas signed a unity deal with Fatah in May 2011 which sought to end four years of divided government in Gaza and the West Bank. The agreement aimed to establish a common national strategy, and Hamas has said it will join the umbrella Palestinian Liberation Organization which represents Palestinians in talks.

However the faction has re-stated its long time opposition to negotiations with Israel as Fatah and PLO official Saeb Erekat met with Israeli delegate Yitzhak Molcho in Amman on Tuesday, in a summit called by the international diplomatic Quartet.

Radwan said on Wednesday that Hamas considers talks to be a "cover for Israel to continue judaizing Jerusalem and launching attacks on Gaza."

"These futile negotiations are a waste of time," he said.

The senior Hamas official called on the PLO to stop the meetings and prioritize national unity.

Leftist faction the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine has also slammed the talks with Israel, calling Tuesday’s summit a "grave political mistake, which will encourage occupation to go ahead with its aggressiveness against the Palestinian people and their properties."

Yet President Mahmoud Abbas’ spokesman said on Wednesday that the talks hosted by Jordan would continue until the end of January.

Nabil Abu Rudaineh urged the Israeli government to announce a settlement freeze and to accept the two-state solution based on 1967 borders so peace negotiations can resume.

PLO officials insist Tuesday’s meeting is not a resumption of negotiations, but simply fulfilling the obligation of the Quartet to submit proposals on borders and security.

The last round of negotiations collapsed in September 2010 over Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s refusal to extend a freeze on illegal Jewish-only settlement building on occupied Palestinian land.

(Ma’an News)

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