Israeli Prime Minister's Office denies reports of talks between Israel, Hamas
The Israeli Prime Minister’s Office issues a statement denying any direct, or indirect negotiations between Israel and Hamas, only hours after Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas claimed that direct talks between representatives of both parties recently took place in an African country.
“Israel officially clarifies that there have been no meetings with Hamas,” a statement by the PMO said. “Not directly, not through another country and not through intermediaries.”
Earlier Monday an unnamed Israeli official also denied recent reports in Hebrew and Arab media.
“There are no negotiations on a long-term cease-fire with Hamas,” the official said, according to the Walla news site. “Not with the help of Turkey, not with the help of Qatar, not Tony Blair nor any other parties,” the official added.
Despite this denial, a member of the political office of the Palestinian People’s Party (PPP), said that a deal was being discussed, according to The Times of Israel. “This agreement is no longer just rumors or blabber, but will be signed any minute,” Walid Awadh said.
Awadh told The Times of Israel that officials of PLO factions, such as PPP, formerly the Communist Party, have been receiving updates from Hamas on the talks with Blair over the past month.
A day after a senior Turkish official said that a long-term ceasefire between Israel and the Gaza-based Palestinian Islamist group Hamas was currently being negotiated, a senior Hamas delegation is preparing to head to Egypt, reported The Jerusalem Post on Monday.
In an additional sign of a thaw between the Islamist party ruling the Strip, the delegation, led by the group's leader Ismail Haniyeh, will meet with the head of Egypt’s General Intelligence Service to discuss the truce.
The delegation will also be visiting Qatar and Turkey.
In late July, Palestinian news site Al Quds al Arabi reported Hamas's representative in Lebanon Ali Baraka as saying that there were improvements in the group's relationship with Egypt.
"Egypt's security is a Palestinian interest," Baraka said.
Relations between Egypt and Hamas remain tense, as an Egyptian court ruled that the group, both the political and military wings, are terrorist entities.
On Sunday, a senior adviser to Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, Yasin Aktay, said that "Gaza is heading towards a comprehensive agreement on the issue of lifting the blockade and opening the [border] crossings in a long-term ceasefire deal with Israel."
"The issue was discussed during [Hamas chief] Khaled Meshaal's visit to Ankara last week," he added, noting that Meshaal discussed the detail of an agreement mediated by former British prime minister and Middle East Quartet envoy Tony Blair.
Hamas recently held meetings with representatives from the Palestinian factions in the Gaza Strip during which it updated them with the details of talks with European and American officials about a ceasefire with Israel.
A spokesperson for Hamas said that any proposal offered regarding a ceasefire will be presented to the Palestinian factions.
Hamas representatives also gave details of the meeting between Blair and Meshaal in Doha, which was reported by Palestinian and Arab media on Thursday.
According to the reports, Blair met Meshaal for the second time in a month and a half and the two discussed the implementation of the ceasefire with Israel in exchange for lifting the blockade on Gaza.
According to London-based Arabic-language daily al-Hayat, Israel agreed to lift the blockade on the Gaza Strip, imposed in 2007, "entirely" as well as establish a naval passageway between the strip and Cyprus. In exchange, Hamas would agree to a long-term ceasefire which would last between seven to 10 years.
Both Israeli and Hamas officials have confirmed indirect talks have been occurring through European mediators, and similar reports in March of a a long-term ceasefire by Hamas in exchange for the lifting of the blockade were strongly denied by the group.
Blair has recently consulted with Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sissi and the head of Egyptian intelligence on the issue, along with Jordanian, Saudi and Israeli officials, according to reports.
The reports of the meeting between Blair and Meshaal come after a top-level delegation led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s special envoy, Isaac Molho, held talks in Cairo on Tuesday with Egyptian military representatives.
The visit by the five-person delegation reflects the greatly improved ties between Israel and Egypt since Sisi came to power two years ago. No details of the talks were divulged.
In May, ahead of Egypt’s presidential election, Sisi declared that his country’s peace pact with Israel was stable and offered to mediate talks between Israel and the Palestinians aimed at reaching a negotiated agreement.
(staff with AFP)
You need to be logged in in order to post comments. Sign up or log in
Hope this happens.
Why not a longer truce? This isn't long term and the lifting of the blockade with only 7-10 years allows them to massively fortify for a very large scale was at the end of the term. Another Lebanon in the making.
How can you make a truce with a faction that doesn't have control of rocket fire from the strip? Ridiculous and naïve.
I highly doubt that Israel would make such a deal that allows Hamas to re-arm over the period. This doesn't sound right. Perhaps just another Arabic propaganda BS.
Hamas made fifteen agreements with Israel, cease fire agreements..HAMAS has broken every single agreement. To this day HAMAS is firing rockets into Israel..UNGUIDED rockets..in itself a WAR CRIME . How on earth can anybody be expected to keep a "LONG TERM" cease fire agreement?? HAMAS can't even keep it's dissidents under control!! DONT SIGN ANY agreements with a terrorist organisation whose mandate states quite clearly kill all jews. FACTS MICHAEL FARMER,, not the fiction you post on here.