Hamas politburo chief Khaled Mashaal has claimed that his terrorist organization is holding negotiations with Israel for a long-term five to ten year ceasefire deal that recent reports have indicated – even as Jerusalem denies such talks are taking place.
Speaking to the London-based Arabic paper Al-Araby Al-Jadeed, the terror chief who lives in Qatar's Doha said no agreement has been reached yet, but that contacts "seem positive."
Mashaal's claim contradicts those made by the Prime Minister's Office this week, when it said Israel is not holding negotiations with Hamas either directly or via a third party.
But according to the Hamas chief, the ball is in Israel's court following the ceasefire reached after Hamas's third attempt to destroy Israel last summer.
"The ceasefire was declared last year, but residents of Gaza can't be satisfied by this solution when they are dying slowly," he claimed. "It is an interest of all of us to solve the problems in Gaza."
When asked if a longer-term ceasefire would stop Hamas's terror attacks against Israeli citizens, he said the ceasefire would be geographically limited to Gaza only, and not Judea and Samaria – hinting that the Hamas terror attacks in the region would continue unabated.
"There are prisoners suffering in prisons," he said of terrorists jailed in Israel. "There is a phenomenon of 'Judaizing' and harming the Al-Aqsa Mosque. All the reasons to conduct resistance (i.e. terror – ed.) exist in the West Bank."
"We don't need a truce or an extended ceasefire. We don't want and don't seek wars, but there is legitimate resistance that will remain against the occupation as long as there is an occupation and settlements."
Detailing Hamas's conditions for a long-term ceasefire, he said the terrorist group – which has the genocide of Jews written into its charter – is demanding an opening of Gaza's border crossings, as well as establishing a local sea and airport.
"It can't be that the Gaza Strip turns into a large prison. If the problems in Gaza will be solved, an appropriate environment will created as a base for the ceasefire (made) following the fighting in Gaza last summer."