On Monday, Islamic Resistance Movement, Hamas, issued a statement challenging the legitimacy of president Mahmoud Abbas, stating that Abbas’ term in office is over, and that he does not represent the Palestinian people and their aspirations anymore. Hamas said that Abbas’ statements regarding accepting the resumption of peace talks with Israel in return to only a three-month freeze of Israeli settlement activities, expresses his “defeated spirit and his personal opinion”, and added that this opinion does not even represent his own movement, Fatah.

Hamas further warned of returning to the same “cycle of arbitrary negotiations that only serve the American and Zionist interests in providing a cover-up to Israel’s illegal settlement activities and the attacks against Jerusalem”.

“Abbas and his Oslo team are willing to abandon the legitimate Palestinian rights”, the movement stated, “They are willing to succumb to US and Israeli pressures.”

The statement came after Abbas told The Guardian newspaper in the UK, that he is willing to accept the resumption of peace talks with Israel should Israel freeze its settlement activities for three months.

Abbas confirmed during his Guardian interview that he will not accept any return to, what he described as, “violent resistance”, and proposed direct talks with Israel after a three-month settlement freeze.

Following a meeting with British Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, Abbas said that he does not know why the American government retracted its demand for a full settlement freeze, and added that he intends to consult with Arab leaders before responding to a proposal by US Middle East Envoy, George Mitchell, regarding holding indirect talks with Israel.

He further stated that should the Israeli response be positive, and “should they accept to the two-state solution based on full withdrawal from the territories occupied in 1967, and ending the occupation within a set timeframe, then a progress could be made”.

Ahmad Bahar, deputy of the head of the Palestinian Legislative Council, said that Abbas is breaking his own promises and vows.

Bahar, a senior political leader of Hamas, added that Abbas is willing to recognize a Jewish State and that this issue is considered “executing the
Palestinian rights and sacrifices, especially the Right of Return of the Palestinian refugees”.