Sources in Palestine say that the Islamic Jihad faction has claimed that the resignation of the Palestinian Authority’s Chief Negotiator Saeb Erekat’s “proves the failure of the negotiations approach that has been adopted by the PA and the Palestinian Liberation Organisation”. Islamic Jihad also “rejects” the PA’s call for elections before September.
According to Sheikh Nafez Azzam, a member of Islamic Jihad’s political bureau, “Erekat’s resignation was expected, especially after the [release of the] Al Jazeera documents revealing what was really going on in the talks with the Israelis.” The negotiators’ position, added Sheikh Azzam, “was neither balanced nor coherent” so it was “natural” for Erekat to resign, as he was the leader of the team.
Commenting on the PLO’s call for elections before September, Sheikh Azzam said: “We are surprised about this given the current circumstances; it looks like an attempt to pre-empt events”.
Although Islamic Jihad is against participation in presidential and parliamentary elections on the grounds that they are restricted by the Oslo accords, added Sheikh Azzam, “We believe that elections in the light of the current divisions will harm our people and further complicate the situation without providing any solutions”.
Sheikh Azzam believes that “a new reality will be formed across the region as a result of the people’s revolutions that have erupted lately”, a reference to what has happened in Egypt and Tunisia. “The revolutions indicate the rise of the entire [Arab] nation and its resolve to stress its presence, its stand against its enemies and a return to the right track.”