The Islamic Jihad movement completely rejects opening any dialogue with Israel or with anybody that would serve Israel through dialogue, pointing out that the movement still regards Israel as an occupying country and the Palestinians as an occupied people, a prominent leader said on Tuesday.

Khaled Al-Batsh of the Islamic Jihad said his movement rejected all previous attempts to open channels for dialogue with Israel, remarking that Israel has channels open for dialogue with the Palestinian Authority.  Al-Batsh said the movement does not object to other Palestinian groups opening dialogue with Israel.

‘Any dialogue with Israel will be reigned by the power of the occupation, it will not be balanced,’ said Al-Batsh.

The Israeli civil administration officer Ilan Baz had earlier suggested opening the channels of dialogue with Palestinian factions, especially the Islamic Jihad and Hamas, after the end of the Israeli pullout from the Gaza Strip and four northern West Bank settlements.

Al-Batsh remarked that Palestinian Prime Minister Ahmad Qurei and the Palestinian factions reached an agreement in Damascus not to subject the weapon of the resistance to any future negotiations between the factions and the PA.  He said, the resistance will never lay down its weapons ‘as long as there is one Israeli soldier on the Palestinian land.’

‘Occupation has not ended yet, therefore, it is unrealistic to discuss laying down arms now,’ Al-Batsh added.