Abbas revives PLO department for talks with Israel

President Mahmoud Abbas decided Saturday to revive the PLO negotiating department, signaling he will pursue peace talks with Israel despite a growing political crisis at home. The decision, announced by Abbas' office, came just hours after Abbas called for early presidential and legislative elections, in a dramatic challenge to the ruling Islamic militant Hamas. Abbas also decided to appoint a new leadership committee for his Fatah Party, in apparent preparations for the elections, his office said. Fatah has been in disarray since being defeated by Hamas in parliament elections in January. The party's younger leaders have complained that the movement's Old Guard is refusing to step aside, thus making Fatah increasingly unattractive to voters.