Palestinian negotiators are not mandated to surrender Jerusalem or any part of Palestine, the Palestinian Ma'an news agency quoted Gaza's Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh as saying on Friday, with the Hamas strongman dubbing upcoming direct peace talks as the latest in a string of Israeli crimes against the Palestinian people.
On Tuesday, Hamas politburo chief Khaled Meshal said that the upcoming U.S.-backed direct peace talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority were illegitimate and the result of coercion by Washington.
Talks between the two sides had been were shelved two years ago, but the administration of U.S. President Barack Obama is hoping for a breakthrough during the new rounds of negotiations set to begin September 2.
Speaking in Ramadan fast-breaking meal in the Gaza town of Khan Younis late Thursday, Haniyeh claimed that "no negotiator who would give up Jerusalem has a national mandate," adding that "Palestinians across the globe will not support any movement holding absurd talks with Israel."
The Hamas prime minister, referring to the Palestinian prisoners' families present at the meal, said that the "prisoners, the injured and the families of martyrs will not authorize anyone who wants to give up Palestine and Jerusalem after they have sacrificed for years and struggled to keep it."
"The occupation has failed to break the will of the Palestinian people, not by increasing its attacks or increasing the number of dead, not by injuring prisoners or isolating the resistance from its people," the Hamas leader said.
"Israel is trying in dozens of ways to achieve its goal, and now it is through negotiations," Haniyeh added, saying that next upcoming negotiations were the latest in a long list of Israeli crimes against the Palestinian people.
On Monday, Haniyeh said the Palestinian people will gain nothing from direct Middle East peace talks with Israel.
Speaking at a Gaza Strip mosque on Monday, Haniyeh said that the scheduled negotiations would not restore Palestinians' rights or give them control over religious sites, saying that they "should trust God, who will be an ally of the Palestinians."
According to the Ma'an report, Haniyeh also praised the steadfastness of the Palestinian people in the face of Israel's blockade of the Gaza Strip, saying the Palestinians were a "model for the Arab nations and Islamic countries."
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