A long-time foreign policy adviser of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday ruled out the Palestinian terrorist organization Hamas as a potential peace partner for Israel.
"There is no question that Hamas is part of the jihadist universe," said Dore Gold, incoming director general of the foreign ministry and former ambassador to the United Nations.
"It is not a candidate to become a political partner," he told journalists as his conservative think-tank, the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, unveiled a study of the 2014 war in Gaza, where Hamas is the de facto power.
Gold was named to the foreign ministry post last week by Netanyahu, who has retained the ministerial portfolio himself.
Last week, President Reuven Rivlin appeared to challenge a longstanding taboo on talks with Hamas, saying he would talk to anyone.
"It is really not important to me with whom I speak, but rather about what we are speaking," he said, asked his opinion about talking with the terrorist group.
"I have no aversion to holding negotiations with anyone who is prepared to negotiate with me," he said.
"Hamas has been rigidly ideological and refuses to jettison the Hamas charter and its ideological positions," Gold said, referring to its founding document which is committed to Israel's destruction and rejects the idea of peace talks.
"I don't see them as being a candidate for real diplomacy in the future."
After Operation Protective Edge in Gaza ended in August, Hamas politiburo leader Ismail Haniyeh pledged there would be "no direct negotiations with the Zionist enemy".
Netanyahu has described Hamas, along with the Islamic State terrorist group, as "branches of the same poisonous tree."
Gold also accused Hamas of allowing Al-Qaeda linked groups to operate inside Gaza.
"Some people try to portray the Al-Qaeda affiliates that operate in Gaza as opposition to Hamas," he said. "I believe that Hamas fully acquiesces to their presence in the territory."