RAMALLAH, Aug. 21 (Xinhua) -- The Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) has decided to accept a U.S. invitation to resume direct peace talks with Israel, the pan-Arab al-Jazeera TV reported.
The Palestinians accepted the resumption of direct negotiations with Israel, in accordance with the statement by the international Middle East Quartet and the invitation by the United States, said Yasser Abed Rabbo, a senior official, after a session of the PLO's policy-making executive committee. U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Friday invited the two sides to start the negotiations on Sept. 2 in Washington. Meanwhile, the Quartet, which includes the United States, Russia, the European Union and the United Nations, issued a statement supporting the invitation and renewing their commitment to resolve final status issues through negotiations until having a Palestinian statehood living in peace alongside Israel.
The invitation was hailed by the Israeli side. "Prime Minister Netanyahu welcomes the invitation of the U.S. to begin direct negotiations without preconditions," said a statement of Israeli prime minister's office.
But Islamic Hamas movement that rules the Gaza Strip on Friday rejected the invitation, calling it "a new attempt to exert trickery against the Palestinian people."
Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said the call has even " neglected the Palestinian demands to stop Jewish settlement" in East Jerusalem, the city that the Palestinians see as a future capital.