November 11, 2009 - 1:00am

Palestinian Islamic Hamas movement said Tuesday it will never negotiate with Israel, slamming Palestinian officials who warned of possible talks between the Islamic movement and the Jewish state.

"Hamas will not negotiate with the (Israeli) occupation and will not be the lifeboat for Oslo team," said Sami Abu Zuhri, a Hamas spokesman, referring to the Palestinian National Authority's(PNA) negotiation with Israel under the Oslo accords since 1993.

Palestinian statehood negotiations between Israel and the PNA have come to a standstill after Israeli government continued settlement building in occupied Palestinian territories.

Meanwhile, senior Palestinian officials, including chief negotiator Saeb Erekat, have warned against Israeli attempts to open alternative, backdoor channel to negotiate with Hamas.

In a statement sent to the press, Abu Zuhri said that Erekat's remarks "were unclean attempt to implicate Hamas into the negotiations between the PNA and Israel."

Fatah party, which dominates the PNA, "should look for new choices to reinstate national unity and restore the dignity to the resistance instead of trying to use Hamas to strengthen its position in the negotiations," Abu Zuhri added.

The controversy was fueled when a member of the Israeli Knesset, Shaul Mofaz, presented a plan to negotiate with Hamas on an interim Palestinian statehood in 50 to 60 percent of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip without Jerusalem.


American Task Force on Palestine - 1634 Eye St. NW, Suite 725, Washington DC 20006 - Telephone: 202-262-0017