Hamas dismissed US State Secretary John Kerry's announcement of the resumption of peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians and slammed Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas : "He has no legitimacy to negotiate in the name of the Palestinian people on the core issues."
Hamas spokesperson Sami Abu Zuhri made it clear to AFP that "Hamas rejects John Kerry's announcement," and the spokesman of the Hamas government, Ihab al-Ghossein, said that "the Palestinian people will not accept those who negotiate on its behalf without a mandate."
- Breakthrough: Kerry announces peace talks' resumption
- Obama urges Netanyahu to resume negotiations
- Palestinian minister: Kerry promised release of 350 prisoners
Meanwhile, officials within the Palestinian Authority have yet to respond to Kerry's dramatic announcement, and only Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' spokesperson Nabil Abu Rudeina issued a statement noting that some details must still be solved before negotiations start.
Kerry, on Friday (Photo: AP)
He also stressed that if everything goes well - US State Secretary John Kerry will invite Saeb Erekat and the Israeli representative for initial talks in Washington in the coming days.
The Israeli side has so far registered more enthusiasm. "These have been long months of skepticism and cynicism, but now four years of diplomatic impasse are about to end," Justice Minister Tzipi Livni declared .
"In the negotiation chamber we'll maintain Israel's national and security interests as a Jewish and democratic state," she said.
Livni, who responded to the announcement on her Facebook page, admitted that "alongside the opportunity, I also know that once negotiations start they will not be easy. I have great appreciation for the PM, for making decisions which represent Israel's important interests, and for US State Secretary John Kerry's determination, which led to the Palestinians' and our own return to the negotiation chamber."
John Kerry's announcement (Video: Reuters)
"I'm fully convinced that this is the right thing for our future, our security, our economy and for Israel's values," she added.
Congratulations arrived from the opposition benches as well. "The talks' resumption is the fruit of the American effort, but the interest is mostly our own," Opposition Leader Shelly Yachimovich said.
"An important opportunity has opened to finally advance toward an accord between us and the Palestinians. We shouldn't suffice with the resumption, but do everything possible to strive for a real accord.
"I hope Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who announced loud and clear that he supports the two-state solution, will make the necessary decisions to ensure the Zionist vision," she added.
In his announcement in Jordan's capital Amman, Kerry said that "The best way to give these negotiations a chance is to keep them private," he said.
"We know that the challenges require some very tough choices in the days ahead. Today, however, I am hopeful."
- Receive Ynetnews updates
directly to your desktop