Several Palestinian groups on Saturday criticized the Palestinian Authority for
agreeing to resume peace talks with Israel, while PLO and Fatah officials said
they knew nothing about what US Secretary of State John Kerry had offered the PA
leadership to bring it back to the negotiating table.
On Friday night,
Kerry announced from Amman that the peace talks would resume soon.
announcement came immediately after he flew unexpectedly from Amman to Ramallah
for talks with PA President Mahmoud Abbas.
Kerry’s surprise meeting with
Abbas came one day after PLO and Fatah officials who met in Ramallah voiced
opposition to the secretary of state’s proposal to resume talks unless Israel
accepted the PA’s demand for a full cessation of settlement construction, the
release of Palestinian prisoners and recognition of the pre-1967 lines as the
basis for a two-state solution.
The officials quoted Abbas as telling
them that Kerry had refused to provide the PA leadership with written guarantees
that Israel would accept its demands.
Abbas’s spokesman, Nabil Abu
Rudaineh, announced late on Friday that chief PLO negotiator Saeb Erekat would
soon head to Washington for talks with an Israeli representative, under Kerry’s
Abu Rudaineh said that “as a result of meetings and discussions
between Kerry and Abbas over the past few days, progress has been achieved,
paving the way for agreement on the principles that allow for the resumption of
the negotiations [with Israel].”
The Palestinian spokesman did not
indicate how the progress was achieved. However, he said that “certain details
still require finding a solution for them.”
Nabil Amr, a senior Fatah
official and former PA minister, said the way the PA leadership dealt with the
issue of resuming negotiating with Israel was “frustrating.”
“Although what Kerry achieved was expected, the way the Palestinian leadership
handled the return to the negotiating table over the past two days was
Amr said that the Palestinians were suffering from a
“leadership crisis more than a crisis in the policy adopted by the Palestinian
leadership, which excels in hardline talk but eventually succumbs to the fait
The Palestinian National Initiative, a political movement
headed by former presidential candidate Mustafa Barghouti, announced that it was
opposed to the resumption of the peace talks with Israel “without clear and
specific terms of reference.”
The movement said that any negotiations
should be based on pre-1967 lines and a full cessation of settlement
construction “in all Palestinian territories, including Jerusalem.”
movement warned that conducting negotiations while settlement construction was
continuing “means that Israel would exploit them as a cover for its expansionist
It said that there was no peace partner in Israel
because the government was busy building in the settlements and creating new
facts on the ground.
“The alternative is popular resistance, boycotting
and imposing sanctions on Israel and restoring Palestinian national unity,” the
Hamas spokesmen condemned the PA for “succumbing to
American extortion and complying with Israel’s demands.”
decision was a “big gift to the extremist occupation government and a loss for
the Palestinian people,” Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum said.
Hamas official, Salah Bardaweel, warned the PA leadership against “falling in
the quagmire of negotiations.”
He said that the resumption of the
negotiations unconditionally and under Kerry’s terms was designed to “liquidate
the Palestinian cause in return for secondary privileges for Palestinian
Yusef Rizka, political adviser to the Hamas prime
minister, said resuming the negotiations under the terms of Israel and the US
was tantamount to “treason.” Rizka noted that the PLO factions had expressed
their opposition to the resumption of the peace talks.
He said that the
outcome of the negotiations would be considered by Palestinians as null and
Hassan Khraisheh, deputy speaker of the Palestinian Legislative
Council, told the Quds Press news agency that Abbas was committing “political
suicide” by agreeing to return to the negotiating table.
accused Abbas of abandoning his previous demands for Israeli recognition of the
pre-1967 lines and a full cessation of settlement construction as a precondition
for resuming the talks, in return for “bribes,” including the release of a
number of prisoners, economic benefits and work permits for
Islamic Jihad, the Palestinian Peoples’ (Communist) Party,
the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) and Democratic Front
for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP) also voiced strong opposition to Abbas’s
decision to resume the peace talks.
“Palestine does not belong to one
political faction,” said Nafez Azzam, a senior Islamic Jihad official. “The
Palestinian- Israeli conflict would not end unless the rights are restored to
Bassam Salhi, head of the Palestinian Peoples’ Party, said
the US was not an honest broker because it was biased in favor of Israel. He
said his group was opposed to the resumption of any talks that are not based on
a freeze of settlement construction and Israeli recognition of a Palestinian
state on the pre-1967 lines.
The PFLP denounced the resumption of the
talks as “political suicide,” while the DFLP said Kerry’s proposals were
“insufficient,” especially since he had failed to present written assurances to