Israeli Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom dismissed a remarks by Hamas chief Mahmoud Zahar, who hinted at openness to future negotiations with Israel.

Dr. Mahmoud Zahar said in remarks broadcasted Wednesday that he does not rule out the possibility of negotiations with Israel in the futures.
Speaking to Israel Radio in English Zahar said that negotiations can be the means, not the end.
Asked if negotiations could take place after Palestinian parliamentary elections in late January, Zahar replied ‘That depends on the other side, because the Israelis are not intending to make a negotiation.
‘Let us wait and see. After the election, everything will be clear.’
Responding to Zahar remarks, Shalom said they represented no substantive change in the positions or aims of Hamas, which is sworn to Israel’s destruction and had carried out large numbers of terror bombings and ambushes against Israelis.
‘If only Hamas had changed its orientation and opinion, I would be the first to welcome it,’ Shalom said, adding that the Zahar comment was a ‘vague statement, a tactical statement intended only to please public opinion.’
Asked if Israel still believed that Hamas should be disqualified from taking part in PA elections, Shalom said, ‘Hamas has disqualified itself. You have only to open the first page of the Hamas Charter, and see that Hamas rules out the existence of the state of Israel and calls for its destruction.’
Meanwhile the U.S. administration pressed Israel not to obstruct the Palestinian elections, the success of which depends partly on Israeli willingness to allow Palestinian voters through West Bank checkpoints.
Israel has threatened to obstruct the Palestinian elections if Hamas will take part in it.