The BBC reports that the Islamist movement HAMAS has reportedly stated that Palestinians will not be bound by any decisions taken at this weeks US-backed Middle East Peace talks. Ismail Haniya, the leader of HAMAS in Gaza, who is not attending the talks, has described the discussions as “fruitless”.
Several of the Hamas leaders met at the Palestinian Parliament in Gaza city to sign a document stating that Mr Abbas had no right to make concessions in any peace deal.
“The people believe that this conference is fruitless and that any recommendations or commitments made in the conference that harm our rights will not be binding for our people,” Mr Haniya said as he entered the building.
“It will be binding only for those who sign it.”
Mr Haniya was dismissed by Abbas from his position of prime minister of a national unity government in June, shortly after Hamas seized control of the Gaza strip from the president’s Fatah movement.
Hamas is designated a terrorist organization by the USA and Israel and is not represented at Annapolis.
It seems that Hamas is only interested in perpetuating the myth that Israel is occupying Palestinian land, but this is clearly not true. Historically, the Palestinians did not exist until around the 1920s. Gaza was won in the 6 day war, and Israel was entitled to occupy that territory. The same goes for East Jerusalem. It does not belong to the Palestinians. Therefore, we should take heed of the following (threatening) words of Mahmoud Zahhar:
Another senior Hamas leader in Gaza, Mahmoud Zahhar, told the BBC that even if the group had been invited, it would be pointless participating because Israel was not prepared to end the occupation of Palestinian land.
“We are very proud that we are not involved in this conference which will bring for us nothing,” he told the BBC World Service.
“We don’t believe that this is a real peace process, because without fulfilling our basic demand it will be just as previous agreements reached and unable to be practised practically on the ground,” he added.
“Abu Mazen [Mahmoud Abbas] is not representing the majority of the Palestinian people.”
Palestinian officials say, however, that as chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO), Mr Abbas is entitled to negotiate on behalf of Palestinians. Agreements are signed between Israel and the PLO.