Gaza's Hamas prime minister, Ismail Haniyeh, on Friday urged Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas not to begin talks with Israel, as U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry continued his efforts to get the sides back to the negotiating table.
"We ask brothers in the Palestinian Authority and Abu Mazen (Abbas) not to fall yet again into the trap of talks," Haniyeh implored, speaking to journalists after prayers in Gaza, according to the AFP news agency.
Abbas, he said, must "build a Palestinian strategy based on reinstating unity and ending division -- building a solid and resistant Palestinian entity" before any decision to talk with Israel is taken.
Hamas, which governs Gaza, and Abbas's Fatah, which dominates the PA-assigned areas of Judea and Samaria, have been at odds since Hamas's violent takeover of Gaza in 2007.
Fatah and Hamas signed a reconciliation deal in Cairo in 2011, pledging to set up an interim consensus government of independents that would pave the way for legislative and presidential elections within 12 months.
Implementation of the accord stalled over the make-up of the interim government, and a February 2012 deal signed by Abbas and Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal in Doha intended to overcome outstanding differences was opposed by Hamas members in Gaza.
Hamas also refuses to recognize Israel’s existence, calls for a complete boycott of goods produced in Israel and supports the BDS movement, yet at the same it accuses Israel of preventing the entry of goods from Israel into Gaza.
(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.)