Hamas denies secret talks with Israel

Hamas denies secret talk

Senior Hamas leader Mahmoud Zahar on Saturday denied Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas's claims that the Islamist group had held secret talks with Israel. The PA president had told BBC-Arabic on Thursday that secret negotiations had been held in Geneva. In an interview with London-based paper Asharq Alawsat, Zahar said Abbas's words were "entirely different" from what happened in reality, explaining that Hamas asked to meet with European officials, and not with Israeli delegates. Hamas Interior Minister Fathi Hamad also denied Abbas's claims, telling reporters in Gaza on Saturday, "There are no secret deals and our position is clear; the land of Palestine is an Islamic endowment." In the Thursday interview, Abbas had also claimed that Jerusalem was not interested in achieving peace, and criticized the Obama administration. "Washington is not doing enough to pressure Israel to advance the peace process," he had said.