Israel has not held any recent ceasefire negotiations with Hamas, the Prime Minister’s Office said Monday evening, after days of reports of an imminent comprehensive agreement on removing the Israeli blockade on the Gaza Strip in return for a long-term truce.
“Israel is officially clarifying that there have been no meetings with Hamas, not directly, not through another country and not through intermediaries,” said the PMO in a statement. “Regarding relations with Turkey, that agreement is still far off,” the statement added.
The repudiation came shortly after a senior official in Jerusalem denied the claims in a similarly worded statement.
“There is no negotiation on a long-term ceasefire with Hamas, not through Turkey, not through Qatar, not through [former peace envoy] Tony Blair and not in any other way,” the unnamed official was quoted by the Walla news website as saying.
If there were any private persons in contact with Hamas, the official added, they were not acting at the behest of the prime minister.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Monday claimed that direct talks between Israeli and Hamas representatives recently took place in an African country, according to the Walla news site. Abbas did not elaborate any further.
Read more at Times of Israel.