Hamas urges Abbas to withdraw from talks 26Sep10 September 26, 2010

Ma’an News Agency -  26 September 2010

Hamas called on President Mahmoud Abbas “to respond to Israel’s stubbornness by withdrawing from talks and speeding up Palestinian reconciliation,” a party spokesman said Sunday.

Fawzi Barhoum said the Israeli Prime Minister’s “insistence on continuing settlement activity in spite of negotiations confirms that he wanted [them] as a cover for continued settlement activity and judaization to complete his project of building a Jewish state and ignoring Palestinian rights.”

The request follows the expiration of Israel’s 10-month settlement freeze on West Bank settlement construction on Sunday, and several reports that building has recommenced.

The spokesman further said Israel’s refusal to halt settlement activity was the result of “the Palestinian negotiating team facing Israel and the US alone, without any coverage, protection or means to exert pressure on Israel.”

Barhoum also urged Abbas to withdraw from talks in order to focus on finalizing a reconciliation deal with the Islamist movement, following what officials have described as positive results after meetings in Gaza and Damascus in recent days.

Hamas stood opposed to the resumption of talks on 2 September at a Washington summit. Barhoum said the move was “a crime against the Palestinian people and a dangerous slide, for which the Palestinian people will pay the price.”

On Sunday, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine said it would be boycotting a PLO Executive Committee meeting over negotiations with Israel.

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