Chief Hamas official Ismail Haniyeh stated, on Saturday, that the faction would not be holding any direct talks with Israel.There will be ‘no direct negotiations with the Zionist enemy,’ Haniyeh announced publicly, in Gaza, and called on Palestinian President and Fateh member Mahmoud Abbas to ‘review’ his own strategy of talks with Israel, according to AFP.

Israel continues to label democratically elected Hamas as a ‘terrorist’ organization and refuses to meet with its leaders directly.

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Likewise, Hamas does not recognize Israel and opposes Western-backed negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, as repeated past attempts at such talks have resulted in nothing but further disenfranchisement for Palestinians.

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However, according to Friday statements made by Hamas officials, direct talks with Israel might be unavoidable, in light of planned negotiations in Cairo to consolidate last month’s Egyptian-brokered ceasefire agreement, AFP stated.

‘If the situation remains as it is now … Hamas could find itself forced to do this,’ exiled Hamas official Mousa Abu Marzouq said, in reference to the dire humanitarian situation in Gaza due to 50 days of relentless Israeli strikes on civilians from air, land, and sea.

‘From a legal perspective, there is nothing wrong with negotiating with the occupation,’ Marzouq further stated.

Truce talks were scheduled to resume in Egypt later this month, despite Israeli objections, but Hamas chief Khaled Mashal has also ruled out face-to-face dealings with the Israelis:

‘Direct negotiations with the Israeli occupier are not on the agenda of Hamas; if negotiations are necessary they must be indirect,’ he said on Friday.

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