Hamas says return to peace talks would be a national crime 26Nov09 November 27, 2009

Ma’an News Agency -  26 November 2009

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A return to the negotiations with Israeli would be a national crime, Hams spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said on Wednesday.

“A return to the negotiating table is a national crime that Palestinians will surly reject,” Abu Zuhri said, reacting to an Israeli announcement of a curb on expansion of West Bank settlements.

He also said that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s announcement of a freeze which excludes East Jerusalem, the Palestinian capital, is “meaningless.”

The official further said the partial freeze amounted to an American capitulation to Israel, and proof that the US cannot be trusted to be an honest broker.

Hamas rejects negotiations with Israel on principle, in contrast with its rival Fatah, which has pursued fruitless peace talks since 1991. Fatah’s leadership, including President Mahmoud Abbas are insisting on a total settlement freeze as a precondition for restarting direct negotiations which have been frozen since December 2008 when Israel went to war with Hamas in Gaza, ultimately killing 1,400 Palestinians.

On Thursday an official from the camp opposed to Hamas, the PLO’s Yasser Abed Rabbo, said that leaders in Ramallah “do not view [the freeze] as a first step toward peace talks,” as had been declared by US officials.

Top PLO negotiator Saeb Erekat also said the limited freeze would be insufficient to re-launch negotiations.

Another PLO official told Ma’an, “What Israel is talking about is a slowdown – not a freeze.”


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