Senior Fatah official Tawfiq Tirawi, who headed the general intelligence service in the West Bank until late 2008, told Ynet Tuesday that the movement "will not negotiate with Israel for the sake of negotiating. (Israel) should stop this 'no peace partner' nonsense."
The Fatah's new Central Committee is likely follow the direction suggested by former Fatah Secretary-General in the West Bank Marwan Barghouti and senior Fatah member Mohammed Dahlan, namely ceasing the negotiations in view of Israel's policies.
"Are the Israelis partners? Can someone building in the settlements be a partner?" He wondered aloud. "Israel has to freeze settlement expansion and (building) the separation fence before we can even talk about holding negotiations.
"The Israelis have to realize that we are adamant about getting our independence and stop preaching us about our positions."
Tirawi seemed unfazed by Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman's statement, saying that the resolutions made by the Fatah congress in Bethlehem have effectively buried any chance for peace: "Will his plan bring peace? He plans to bolster settlement and exacerbate the oppression and occupation.
"We will not be dancing to Lieberman's tune and he is the last one that can preach about the values of peace and national freedoms."
The new group leading the Central Committee, of which Tirawi is a member, demands that the Palestinian Authority reassess all aspects of the negotiations with Israel.
Chief Palestinian Negotiator Saeb Erekat also said that the Palestinian Authority cannot continue the negotiations with Israel considering the current government's polices.
Tirawi was elected to Fatah's new leadership despite his independent views – considered by some of the veteran members to be too independent – and in spite of the movement's top echelon's reluctance to see him within committee.
Tirawi insists that the election's results – and the entire congress for that matter – reflect the fact that Fatah is a democratic movement. The congress, he added, "Was an opportunity to introduce new blood to the leadership and stop the movement's deterioration.
"The new Fatah leadership has the ability to lead the movement and the Palestinians through the negotiations with Israel – if the latter proves serious."
Tirawi also said that he hopes to see the new leadership united: "I'm sure all the people who were elected are worthy and would be able to put the Palestinian interest first, and advance both the movement and the Palestinian people's goals. Our goal is to end the occupation."