Hamas has officially announced that it is rejecting France’s new initiative to convene an international conference to renew negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians.
Ismail Radwan, a senior Hamas official, told the Turkish news agency Anadolu on Saturday night that calls for the resumption of negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA) are "unacceptable" and "not helpful".
He added that France's proposal is repeating the approach of the "previous failed solutions" and is intended to cover the harm done daily by Israel to Palestinian rights.
Radwan warned the PA not to respond positively to any diplomatic initiatives that take away any right of the Palestinian people, stressing that Hamas considers the negotiations process useless and a waste of time.
Unlike Hamas, PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas welcomed the initiative, calling on African nations during a summit in Ethiopia to support the French initiative.
Vowing not to return to the negotiating table with Israel simply for the sake of negotiations, he also stated the Palestinians will not be unilaterally bound to their agreements with Israel and will not agree to temporary or interim measures.
The French initiative was introduced Friday by its Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, who also included a threat to Israel, saying his country would recognize a Palestinian state if its efforts to try to break the deadlock between Israelis and Palestinians fail.
“France will engage in the coming weeks in the preparation of an international conference bringing together the parties and their main partners, American, European, Arab, notably to preserve and make happen the solution of two states,” Fabius said.
Israeli officials were not enthusiastic about France’s proposal, saying that they wonder "whether France will propose an international conference with ISIS, after it armed and spread terror in France?"
Another official added, "The French proposal effectively gives the Palestinians an excuse to blow up the talks and still get all they want without negotiating at all."