Gaza Residents Protest Israeli-PA Peace Talks
As Israeli and Palestinian Authority negotiators continue the current round of United States-brokered peace talks, residents of Gaza, where Hamas rules, are protesting against the talks.
The AFP news agency reported that hundreds of people in Gaza protested on Friday against Israeli-PA peace talks, in marches organized by the Hamas and Islamic Jihad terror groups.
Marchers set off from mosques across the coastal strip before converging on a square in the middle of Gaza City, with protesters brandishing signs saying "No to negotiations" and slamming Ramallah-based PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas's "political failure."
Hamas' religious affairs minister Ismail Radwan addressed the group's arch-rival Abbas in a speech during the protests.
"All the Palestinian factions say you don't have the right to relinquish any piece of our land, or to give up Palestinian rights," he said, according to AFP.
"Returning to talks is a blow to the jihad and to the sacrifices of our people, the blood of our martyrs and to our prisoners behind bars in Israel," Radwan said.
Shortly after U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry announced a resumption of negotiations, Hamas rejected a return to Israeli-PA peace talks.
A spokesman for the Hamas government said at the time that "whoever negotiates on the part of the people who is not chosen by them, represents only himself. The Palestinian people will not accept this."
Abbas’s term as PA Chairman officially ended more than four years ago, but he continues in his role despite no one having given him the mandate to do so. The PA parliament which was elected for a four-year term in 2005 has yet to be dissolved, despite the fact that nearly two terms have already passed since its election.
Senior Hamas official Mahmoud al-Zahar said earlier this month that the talks were "futile."
"We renew our rejection of these futile talks, and consider them purely a means for the occupation (Israel) to look good to the international community," he said.
Abbas, who heads Hamas's longtime rival faction Fatah, and his negotiating team "have no legitimacy" to represent the “Palestinian people” in talks, Zahar emphasized.
(Arutz Sheva’s North American Desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)