Fatah sticks to its terms, opposition groups slam AL decision over peace talks

07:47, July 30, 2010      

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Fatah said it sticks to its terms to move to direct talks with Israel after the Arab League (AL) committee on Thursday gave Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas the green light to resume the direct talks with Israel.

Meanwhile, Gaza-ruling Islamic Hamas movement and other Palestinian opposition groups slammed the AL decision to resume the direct talks with Israel. Hamas called on the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) for the immediate stop of the talks.

During a meeting held on Thursday in Cairo, the AL committee laid out its three main conditions for supporting direct Israeli- Palestinian peace talks, but it remained doubtful as to whether the stalemate could be broken.

"I promise that I'm not intent to enter into negotiations without a time frame, without clear references and without monitoring," AL chief Amr Moussa said at a press conference in Cairo, adding that any future round of direct talks would be the " final phase" of negotiations.

Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassem told a joint news conference in Cairo that a letter spelling out the conditions was sent to the U.S. administration. However, he said he was "full of doubts" about Israel's seriousness regarding the final status talks.

The U.S. and other western countries have exert pressure on the PNA and President Abbas to move to direct negotiations to push forward the peace process, which had been stalled since December 2008.

Fatah's secretary-general Amin Maqbool told Xinhua that Fatah would study the AL committee decision, adding that his party reiterates that it is sticking to its conditions that there should be a progress and a cessation of settlement before moving to the direct talks.

"I don't think that it is possible to go to direct negotiations without receiving clarifications concerning the reference for peace and receiving guarantees to completely halt settlement activities carried out by Israel in the Palestinian territories," said Maqbool.

He added that Fatah doesn't want the Arabs to throw the ball at the Palestinian playground, "we are eager for full Arab support and partnership, mainly in making such a fatal decision."

The PNA repeatedly announced that it won't go for direct talks without a progress in the proximity talks.

Senior Palestinian officials announced earlier on Thursday that Abbas would inform the AL committee for Middle East peace that he would reject direct talks with Israel until his demands are met, and that he prefers to continue with the U.S.-sponsored proximity talks which would end in September.

Meanwhile, Salah al-Bardaweel, a senior Hamas leader in Gaza told Xinhua that his movement has expected that the AL committee would accept to go to direct negotiations. He slammed the decision giving Abbas the authorization to decide when to start the direct talks.

"Hamas movement opposes any kind of direct or indirect talks with the occupation because these talks are absurd and useless," said al-Bardaweel, adding that Hamas "warns Abbas of resuming the talks under the cover of the Arabs because it contradicts with the Palestinian interests."

Khaled al-Batsh, a senior Islamic Jihad (Holy War) movement leader had also told Xinhua that the AL decision to resume the direct talks with Israel "shows the Arabs' weakness and their response to the American and Israeli pressures."

"Resuming the talks means confiscating more lands and the loss of the legitimate rights of our people. This means that the talks would finally lead to a full Israeli control of all the Palestinian territories," said al-Batsh.

Saleh Zeidan, a senior leader of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP) told Xinhua that the AL decision " is a clear Arab surrender to the American and Israeli pressures to resume the talks."

Source: Xinhua


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