Hamas Deputy Foreign Minister Razi Hamed 311.
(photo credit: Channel 10)
Despite successful negotiations to release over 1,000 Palestinian prisoners and
a much-stated resolve to “release the rest of our prisoners,” Hamas is not
interested in holding any further direct talks with Israel, the group’s deputy
foreign minister said in an interview with Channel 10, aired
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Previous contacts were held because “we were willing to deal
with problems,” Razi Hamed explained in accented, but fluent Hebrew. “Problems
of prisoners, problems of cease-fires... but there are no direct contacts
between Israel and Hamas.”
The Gaza-based group, he said, “opposes direct
negotiations with Israel.”
Hamed began holding back-channel contacts
the Israel-Palestine Center for Research and Information (IPCRI) co-founder and
The Jerusalem Post
columnist Gershon Baskin in July of this year, as part of an
attempt to resolve the five-year-old case of Gilad Schalit.
It was only
when those contacts were initiated four months ago, Hamed said, that “I knew
that it was possible to reach a deal.”
The progress came about, he
explained, because “Israel was in a place that it understood – and said
clearly,” that there was no military option to release Schalit. “Even the Shin
Bet [Israel Security Agency] said so.”
But while the Hamas figure
asserted that all Palestinian factions are satisfied with the deal and declared
it “a victory for the Palestinian people,” he added that Hamas will continue its
attempts to free all Palestinian prisoners from Israeli prisons.
other Hamas figures in recent days, however, Hamed repeatedly sidestepped saying
that the group would either resort to, or refrain from, carrying out additional
kidnappings to release Palestinian prisoners.
Asked point blank whether
the group would do so, he answered, “I didn’t say that.”
official also brushed off doubts expressed by German intelligence
the weekend about the possibility that Iran may attempt to torpedo the
“Today there is an agreement, a signed
agreement,” he said. “There’s no problem and I think that everything will be OK.
Inshallah, I hope that within a few days the whole thing will be over.”