A major faction of the Palestine Liberation Organisation rejected new peace talks with Israel just hours before their scheduled resumption in Washington on Monday after a three-year break.
The leftist Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine said that talks’ resumption was a unilateral move by Palestinian leader Mahmud Abbas which did not have the backing of the PLO as a whole.
“The PFLP is against a return to negotiations,” said one of the party’s leaders, Khaleda Jarar.
“It is an individual move,” she said, in allusion to Abbas.
“These talks will be presided over by the United States, just like Oslo 20 years ago,” she said of the negotiations that led up to the 1993 accords for limited self-rule.
“We went to the UN precisely to take our case out of US hands.”
The last was a reference to the Palestinians successful bid for upgraded status at the United Nations last November, which was strongly opposed by both Israel and the United States.
Washington was to host preliminary talks later on Monday between Palestinian chief negotiator Saeb Erakat and his Israeli counterpart, Justice Minister Tzipi Livni.
The last round of direct negotiations between the two sides broke down in September 2010 just weeks after they started.
US Secretary of State John Kerry visited the region six times in as many months to broker the resumption of negotiations.