Senior Hamas official Moussa Abu Marzouk has described the plans to go ahead with negotiations with the Israelis as "a farce". Talks about unity in Palestinian ranks, suggested the Political Bureau member, must be held before talks with the occupation authorities; they cannot take place together.
Writing on Facebook, Abu Marzouk said that the decision to start negotiations does not have the support of the national factions while Israel's decision to build new housing units in its colonial settlements tells the Palestinians that there are no conditions for the negotiations, no sovereignty on the land and no change to the settlers' movement. "Because of the PA's acceptance of this," he said, "Israel rewards us by releasing prisoners but only in stages as a test for our intentions and to make sure that we behave."
Is it possible, he asked, to engage in dialogue to form a unity government to cover up for such a farce? "We need to stop negotiating and form a government of national unity to achieve the tasks agreed upon, including new elections and the reconstitution of the Palestinian National Council."