Middle East
Palestinian groups reject talks
Syria-based Palestinian factions say direct peace talks are to bury Palestinians' rights.
Last Modified: 16 Aug 2010 10:47 GMT
Al-Tahir, second left, says Israel does not want to be governed by international law [Reuters] 

Eleven Syria-based Palestinian groups have voiced their opposition to resuming US-brokered direct peace talks between the Palestinian Authority and Israel.

The groups issued a statement on Monday, hours before Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian president, was due to meet US officials to discuss the renewal of direct talks with Israel.

"The Palestinian resistance movements affirm their rejection of direct, or indirect, negotiations and warn against the dangerous consequences of policies aiming at selling cheaply Palestinian national rights," the statement said.

"A return to direct negotiations represents submission to American and Zionist conditions aimed at liquidating these rights."

The statement was signed by Hamas, whose political leadership lives in exile in Syria, as well 10 other groups including Islamic Jihad and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command (PFLP-GC).

The left-wing Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP) and Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) factions also signed the statement.

Quartet announcement

Maher al-Tahir of the PFLP told Al Jazeera that his groups was against direct talks because Israel has refused to accept UN resolutions and international law as the basis of the talks.

"We see this as an attempt to impose Israel's will on the Palestinians. Israel has a history of discarding UN resolutions and international law principles," al-Tahir said.

The Middle East peace Quartet - the European Union, Russia, United Nations and United States - is expected to issue a statement in the coming days formally inviting Israel and the Palestinians to resume direct talks.

The international community has been putting increasing pressure on the Palestinians to move from US-brokered indirect talks to direct negotiations.

But Abbas has insisted he will not upgrade to direct negotiations without a complete freeze on Jewish settlements, clear guidelines on final borders and a timeline for reaching an agreement.

The last round of direct talks collapsed in December 2008 when Israel launched a blistering offensive on the Gaza Strip aimed at halting rocket attacks. 

Al Jazeera and agencies
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