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Hamas leader reveals indirect 'chats' with Israel

April 26, 2015 10:42 P.M. (Updated: May 19, 2015 12:05 P.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Hamas leader Ahmad Yousef said Sunday that there were "chats" taking place between the Islamist movement and Israel under European mediation.

Yousef told Ma'an that "we await the formation of an Israeli government so things can get more serious. European diplomats and civil society activists come to the Gaza Strip constantly and pose Israeli viewpoints and convey the reaction of the movement through unofficial chats."

For instance, he said, there are talks on the issues of the ceasefire and the seaport that aim to "find a way out on the issue of the siege by opening a seaport to connect to the outside world."

Yousef denied that there were direct talks between Hamas and Israel taking place.

In regard to former US president Jimmy Carter's visit to Gaza Strip, Yousef said he would meet Hamas leaders including Ismail Haniyeh to discuss national reconciliation.

He added that since Egypt has no role in mediation now, Carter would come accompanied by international officials to meet Hamas leaders and then President Mahmoud Abbas.

Carter will also meet faction leaders in Gaza and ministers, and he will discuss a ceasefire with Israel and Palestinian elections.

Yousef revealed that international parties were mediating in the issue of the remains of Israeli soldiers said to be in Gaza.

"Hamas has a lot of important cards to play, and surprises on the topic of the missing soldiers," he added.

The official said that Hamas informed all parties that no new deal would be made before Israel commits to earlier agreements and releases all those who were re-arrested after the abduction of three Israeli settlers last year.

He explained that the file will be discussed after the formation of a new Israeli government, concluding that Israel would be forced to deal with "Hamas' surprise."
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