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Hamas warns against 'futile' negotiations

June 29, 2013 9:07 P.M. (Updated: July 2, 2013 11:27 A.M.)
GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- The Hamas movement said Saturday that peace negotiations with Israel were 'futile', as US Secretary of State John Kerry extended his shuttle diplomacy between Israeli and Palestinian leaders for a third day.

The Islamist movement warned Fatah and the Palestinian Authority against the "mirage" of negotiations, and called on the PA to reject pressure from the United States to accept economic initiatives and instead focus on implementing national unity between Palestinian factions.

"We in Hamas look carefully at US Secretary of State John Kerry's efforts to re-launch the so-called peace process, which is based upon an American-Zionist agenda which sees settlements devour land and the Judaization of Jerusalem and holy sites," a statement read.

"These negotiations will not bring anything new," the group added, warning that talks will only perpetuate national divisions.

On Saturday, Kerry took a helicopter from Jerusalem to Amman where he spent two hours in talks with President Mahmoud Abbas then flew back again for his third meeting in under 48 hours with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Kerry has spent seven hours since Thursday sounding out Netanyahu.

Kerry's aides have played down expectations of an imminent breakthrough and instead are hoping to make incremental progress to set the stage for substantive negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians.

The two sides have not formally met for peace talks since September 2010 and even then the negotiations broke down quickly, with Abbas saying Israel was not serious about a discussion on the future.

A growing number of Israeli ministers have recently expressed their opposition to the two-state solution.

Earlier this month, coalition partner Naftali Bennett, who heads the far-right Jewish Home party, said the idea of a Palestinian state was at a "dead-end," and central to the problem was the reluctance of Israel's leadership to simply insist that the West Bank belongs to "the people of Israel."

"There was never a Palestinian state here, and we were never occupiers, this is our home," he said.

Likud's Danny Danon, who serves as deputy defense minister, sparked uproar earlier this month after he came out against a Palestinian state.

Danon said the government was not serious about it and that moves to create one would be opposed by most of the coalition.
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