The Hamas party has rejected a deadline set by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to resolve Palestinian internal factional fighting within ten days.
Talks on the plan, drafted by Palestinian leaders jailed in Israel, had been expected to begin on Saturday, but a Hamas spokesman said the leaders were still discussing a venue.
The plan implicitly recognizes the state of Israel within 1967 borders, something that the Hamas party has heretofore rejected, as the Party’s charter calls for Israel’s destruction.
Sami Abu-Zuhri, spokesman for the Hamas party, said the meeting had not begun because "formation of the [negotiating] committee has not been finalised yet".
"Some factions want the dialogue to be held in Gaza because their representatives are there," he said.
Due to the Israeli military occupation of all Palestinian land since 1967, movement for Palestinians has become impossible, and their land, once contiguous, is now divided into two separate territories: the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, whose borders are tightly controlled by Israeli troops. Palestinian legislators in Gaza are unable to travel to the West Bank, and vice-versa, a situation which has made Palestinian Legislative Council sessions extremely difficult.
The special legislative session which began on Thursday, the Palestinian National Dialogue, has reached an impasse due to the difficulty of negotiating delicate matters through video-conferencing, as legislators in the two territories have been attempting to do.
Abu-Zuhri said Hamas disagreed with an ultimatum declared Thursday by the Palestinian president for Hamas to accept the plan within ten days, or face a national referendum in 40 days.
"There is no need for the 10-day idea. As long as we are talking about dialogue, there shouldn’t be any dates set," Abu-Zuhri said.
Yasser Abed Rabbo, an official close to Abbas, said the Palestinian president would invite Ismail Haniyeh, the prime minister, and other officials to discuss the plan on Sunday.
Regarding a possible Hamas rejection of Abbas’s plan, Abed Rabbo said: "The law is like a knife with two sharp edges. Abbas has the legal right to fire the government."
Another threat of renewed tensions emerged in Gaza on Saturday as several dozen members of a Hamas-led force were redeployed on several streets, a day after the 3,000-strong militia had been removed after calls by Abbas to disband it.
Youssef al-Zahar, a leader of the Hamas force, said the group had staged a "limited deployment" after Palestinian citizens complained to them about having removed the troops.