World Bulletin/News Desk
Hamas, the movement ruling the Gaza Strip, slammed on Monday Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, the head of rival Fatah, for agreeing to return to the negotiating table with Israel.
Restarting direct negotiations with Israel under US sponsorship is "a unilateral, outlying step that doesn't express the Palestinian people's stance," Sami Abu Zuhri, a Hamas spokesman, told Anadolu Agency.
He insisted that the negotiations "have great dangers on the Palestinian cause and they only benefit Israel."
Palestinian and Israeli negotiating teams will meet Monday and Tuesday in Washington for the first time since the negotiations broke down in 2010.
The meeting was the result of six Middle East trips and shuttle diplomacy by US Secretary of State John Kerry.
While on a visit to the Jordanian capital Amman on July 19, Kerry announced that Israel and Palestine had reached an initial agreement to resume negotiations.
The Palestinians are going to Washington without a clear Israeli commitment to freeze the building of Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank and occupied East Jerusalem, which the Palestinians want as a future capital.
Instead, Israel would be applying partial moratorium on construction in certain settlements that don’t include expansion of major settlement blocs in the West Bank.
Israel would also release 104 Palestinian prisoners who have been in jail since before the 1993 Oslo peace deal between the two sides, but their release would be subject to progress made on the final-status negotiations.
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