In Secret Talks with PA, Israel Denies it’s Talking to Hamas

Israel has sent a message to the Palestinian Authority (PA) explaining that it has not conducted any negotiations with Hamas regarding a long-term cease-fire, according to a report published Wednesday.

Several reports have surfaced that Israel and Hamas have been working on a long-term arrangement through international mediators, specifically the United Nations (UN), since the end of Operation Protective Edge in Gaza last summer.

While Hamas has publicly denied those reports, Israeli officials have remained silent – until now.

PA representatives have expressed reservations about such a move and its implications on the status of the PA in the public eye.

To placate Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, Palestinian sources told Walla! News, Israel has quietly made it clear that no such talks have ever taken place and that it has no intention on reaching a ceasefire at this time.

While the Prime Minister's Office would not respond to requests for comment, both Israeli and Palestinian sources confirmed to the daily that the PA has been informed of Israel's position. 

Israeli messages to the PA have allegedly been transferred via a series of secret meetings, the purpose of which is to reduce the level of tension between Jerusalem and Ramallah. Abbas is convinced that Israel is collaborating with Hamas in order to weaken the PA, which – despite having technically joined in a unity government with Hamas in 2014 – has seen its relationship with Gaza crumbling. 

One Hamas leader in the PA, Sheikh Hassan Yousef, also weighed in on the issue to Walla! from his office in Ramallah.

"Hamas's response to the various proposals is positive," he stated. "However, a long-term ceasefire must be considered against all the problems caused by war, as well as the solutions [another war] can bring."

"European elements who wanted to mediate in order to extend the ceasefire [during the war] so far have not received a positive response from Israel," he claimed. "Israel must accept the initiative for a ceasefire and extend it."

Source: http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/199068

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