Palestinians in the West Bank capital Ramallah were also divided in their opinions, even if most people appeared to recognise they potentially had a lot to gain by talking with the Israelis.
“We are supposing the leadership has an overall plan. We’re going there with demands, not just to make sacrifices.”
“We’d like to have a true and just peace, and a Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital. But unfortunately Israelis are not trustworthy,” were two typical reactions.
In Gaza Hamas was speaking for its electorate; far less willing to compromise, and even rejecting the idea that Mahmoud Abbas speak for the Palestinians at all;
“Mahmoud Abbas can recognize the Israeli
occupation any way he wants, but the Palestinian people will not recognize the occupation and will not give in to any plan that is aimed towards diluting Palestinian national rights,” said spokeman Sami Abu Zuhri.
Hamas appears determined not to recognise anything that comes from these talks, and is leading the opposition to them. On Thursday night it announced 13 militant groups including its armed wing would now be co-ordinating their efforts, and would strike at Israel “anywhere, and anytime.”