Gaza rulers Hamas says peace talks with Israel are futile

GAZA CITY (AFP) - Gaza Strip rulers Hamas on Monday said peace talks with Israel were "futile", repeating its rejection of negotiations that are due to resume between Palestinians and Israelis this week.

"We renew our rejection of these futile talks, and consider them purely a means for the occupation (Israel) to look good to the international community," senior Hamas official Mahmoud al-Zahar told a news conference in Gaza.

West Bank-based Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas and his negotiating team "have no legitimacy" to represent the Palestinian people in talks, Mr Zahar said.

"We call on the Palestinian people to unite in confronting the crime that is the peace talks," he added.

The Islamist movement last month rejected a return to Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, after United States Secretary of State John Kerry announced a resumption of negotiations.

Israeli and Palestinian negotiators are set to resume talks on Wednesday in Jerusalem, after the last round broke down in September 2010.