Ismail Haniyya, Prime Minister of the Hamas-led government in the Gaza Strip, demanded that the Palestinian Authority (P.A.) in the West Bank halt talks with Israel in response to the kidnapping of the head of the Legislative Council, Dr. Aziz Dweik.Dweik, a member of the political branch of Hamas and Speaker of the Palestinian Legislative Council, was abducted Thursday at the Jaba’ roadblock, south of the central West Bank city of Ramallah.

Haniyya said that the abduction of Dr. Dweik is a “new Israeli crime,’ and added that the P.A., headed by President Mahmoud Abbas in the West Bank, must act and end all talks with Israel.

He said that the legislative council should hold a session by the beginning of February.

The Hamas political leader further stated that peace negotiations with the Israeli occupation are nothing but a failure and are futile, adding that “the Palestinians should not shake hands with their occupiers and enemies who arrest the elected officials, and attack their people.’

He said that the Palestinian factions must be serious about implementing their national unity agreement, adding that national unity and reconciliation cannot be achieved while the P.A in the West Bank is conducting security coordination with the occupation.

Dr. Aziz Dweik was repeatedly kidnapped and imprisoned by Israel, and in 1992, he and 415 political leaders of the Hamas movement were expelled to Marj az-Zohour area in Southern Lebanon. They refused to head to Lebanon and camped out in the cold in Marj az-Zouhour until they were allowed back into Palestine.

He served as Hamas English Language spokesperson, and in 2006 he was elected as the head of the Palestinian Legislative Council when Hamas garnered an overwhelming victory in the legislative and local council elections; Israel and the United States decided to shun the elected government.

On June 29, 2006, and after being elected as the PLC head, Dr. Dweik was kidnapped, along with dozens of elected Hamas officials, and was imprisoned by Israel for three years despite the fact that no charges were brought against him as he was placed under administrative detention, a form of Israeli detention that does not require the military to bring charges.

He was released on June 23, 2009, after an Israeli court refused to extend his remand when the Israeli prosecution failed to present any evidence against him. The prosecution was attempting to have Dr. Dweik remanded under administrative detention for an additional year.