Middle East

Hamas PM urges Abbas not to negotiate with Israel

Ismail Haniya, the head of the Hamas government in the Gaza Strip, addresses the public in Gaza City on August 19, 2012. AFP PHOTO/SAID KHATIB

GAZA CITY, Palestinian Territories: Gaza's Hamas premier Ismail Haniya on Friday urged Mahmud Abbas not to begin talks with Israel, as U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry flew from meeting the Palestinian president to see Israeli leaders.

"We ask brothers in the Palestinian Authority and Abu Mazen (Abbas) not to fall yet again into the trap of talks," Haniya implored, speaking to journalists after prayers in the Gaza Strip.

Abbas must "build a Palestinian strategy based on reinstating unity and ending division -- building a solid and resistant Palestinian entity" before any decision to talk with Israel is taken, he said.

The remarks came as Kerry flew from Amman, where he met Abbas, to Jerusalem for talks with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Shimon Peres, in his latest bid to revive the stalled Middle East peace process.

Hamas, which governs Gaza, and Abbas's Fatah, which dominates the West Bank, have been at odds since Hamas's takeover of the Palestinian coastal enclave in 2007.

The Islamist movement refuses to recognise Ramallah-based prime minister Rami Hamdallah, instead recognising its own Haniya as premier.





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