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Islamic Jihad, Hamas lash out at PA negotiators

Gaza-based terrorist groups accuse Palestinian leaders of undermining chances to achieve future statehood

Ramadan Abdullah Shalah (right), head of Palestinian Islamic Jihad,  meets with former Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in Tehran, February 2007 (AP/ Ebrahim Seyyedi Office of the Iranian President)
Ramadan Abdullah Shalah (right), head of Palestinian Islamic Jihad, meets with former Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in Tehran, February 2007 (AP/ Ebrahim Seyyedi Office of the Iranian President)

As Israeli-Palestinian peace talks commenced, Islamic Jihad and Hamas leveled fiery criticisms Tuesday at Palestinian Authority leaders for meeting with the Israelis, saying their acquiescence to negotiate would undermine Palestinian statehood prospects.

Islamic Jihad leader Ramadan Shallah said the PA had relinquished many of its initial preconditions to the negotiations in order to revive the way of the Oslo Accords, which he said has been moribund for years. 

Yusuf Rizqah, political adviser to Hamas Prime Minister in the Gaza Strip Ismail Haniyeh, also blamed the PA for failing to produce written assurances with which the US could secure Palestinian goals.

Dozens of Palestinians demonstrated in the West Bank city of Nablus against the kickstarted negotiations, Israel Radio reported.

Peace talks informally began in Washington Monday evening with an Iftar dinner, a traditional dinner marking the close of the daily fast during the month of Ramadan.

For many Palestinians, PA leader Mahmoud Abbas and chief negotiator Saeb Erekat abandoned two of the three original preconditions for negotiations: freezing settlement building and the recognition of the 1967 lines as a basis for the future Palestinian state. A third demand, for the release of all pre-Oslo Palestinian terror convicts, is to be implemented in phases as the talks progress, according to an Israeli cabinet decision Sunday.

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