hamas spokesman 88.298.
(photo credit: CNN [file])
Hamas would not object to beginning negotiations with Israel, spokesman Ghazi Hamad said Tuesday.
The Palestinian Ramatan news agency quoted Hamad as saying that Hamas didn't object to negotiations in principle, and that "[Hamas] has made it clear that [negotiations] are in the political interest of the Palestinians."
The Ma'an news agency reported that Hamad said he didn't oppose negotiations with Israel - on the condition that Israel declares it's willing to end the "occupation" and recognizes the right of return for Palestinian refugees. Hamad denied that there was any connection between his statements Tuesday and a planned US-sponsored peace parley scheduled to take place in Annapolis, Maryland.
According to Ma'an, Hamad refused to discuss the nature of any talks Hamas might be willing to conduct with Israel, and did not say whether they would focus on a final status agreement or on easing the Palestinians' living conditions.
However, he did stress that at the moment, his organization and Israel were not holding any negotiations whatsoever. "Hamas hasn't hinted about or received any hint from Israel of possible negotiations," Hamad said.
Also Tuesday, in what was a first Palestinian response to the swap carried out with Hizbullah on the northern border Monday, a Hamas spokesman said that a deal involving captured IDF soldier Cpl. Gilad Schalit would be "more complex and embarrassing to Israel" than the deal with the Lebanese, Israel Radio reported .
The spokesman, Abu Obeida, also told the Palestinian Ramatan news agency that Schalit's kidnappers would not relinquish their claims.