Hamas deputy leader calls for direct talks with Israel, but group denies plan to negotiate with ‘Zionist enemy’

National Post | News

Splits emerged at the top of Hamas Thursday after its deputy leader, Moussa Abu Marzouk, called for direct talks with the Israeli government, signalling a dramatic shift in policy for the Islamist group.

In a pre-recorded interview with Palestinian Al-Quds television channel, due to be broadcast last night, Mr. Abu Marzouk said Hamas could enter direct negotiations with Israel due to a shift in popular opinion in Gaza.

“Hamas will be willing to talk directly with the Israelis over issues, including Gaza border crossings and prisoner releases,” he said. “Just as you negotiate with weapons you can also negotiate with talk.” A statement refuting his comments was issued yesterday by Hamas’s press office.

“Direct negotiation with the Zionist enemy is not part of the movement’s policy, and it is not even under consideration,” the statement said.

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A move to work directly with Israel would be significant…

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