Senior Hamas official Mahmoud al-Zahar said that the Islamist movement was not in negotiations with Israel, nor would it enter into negotiations with Israel, despite the recently completed prisoner exchange deal for the release of kidnapped IDF soldier Gilad Schalit.
Speaking in an interview with the London-based Arabic daily Al Hayat published on Saturday, Zahar said that only a purely humanitarian issue "such as a bird flu pandemic" could induce Hamas to cooperate with the Israelis, and even then, only in an indirect manner.
Zahar belittled Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas's efforts at diplomacy as "a waste of time."
The Hamas leader defended Gaza rival Islamic Jihad against allegations that it was attempting to increase border violence with Israel at Iran's prompting in order to take attention off of the struggles of Iranian ally Bashar Assad in Syria.
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