(Israel Hayom/Exclusive to JNS.org) Israel on Monday denied reports that it was involved in indirect talks with the Hamas terrorist group about a long-term truce deal.
A Prime Minister's Office statement said, “Israel would like to officially clarify that it is not holding any meetings with Hamas, neither directly, nor via other countries, nor via intermediaries.”
Arab media had reported that a delegation of Hamas officials, led by Ismail Haniyeh, would travel to Cairo soon for talks with Egypt’s intelligence chief about a long-term truce with Israel.
Hamas officials told Arab media that significant progress had been made in recent talks in Qatar between Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal and former Middle East Quartet envoy Tony Blair about the possibility of a long-term truce. Reports also cited a Turkish official as saying progress had been made toward such a deal between Israel and Hamas.
The London-based Al-Hayat newspaper reported that Israel had agreed to lift the blockade on Gaza and establish a naval passageway between Gaza and Cyprus in exchange for Hamas agreeing to a cease-fire of seven to 10 years.
Meanwhile, though London’s Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper reported that progress has been made in reconciliation talks between Israel and Turkey, the Israeli Prime Minister’s Office said, “As for relations with Turkey, agreement is still far off.”