Hamas Lawmaker: Truce Talks With Israel Should Be Left to PA

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Palestinians celebrating in the Gaza town of Rafah after a cease-fire deal was reached between Hamas and Israel on August 26, 2014.Credit: AFP

A Hamas member of the Palestinian Legislative Council on Wednesday called on Hamas to leave negotiations with Israel to the Palestinian Authority, the Palestinian Ma'an news agency reported.

"I call upon the brothers in the Hamas movement not to participate in the Cairo negotiations concerning an airport and a seaport," Ma'an reported that Yahya Moussa, the Hamas lawmaker, said on his Facebook page.

Moussa said it was PA President Mahmoud Abbas and other leaders of the Palestinian Authority – not Hamas – who should lead the second stage of negotiations with Israel, the report said.

Israeli-Palestinian negotiations over a long-term truce are to resume in Egypt at the end of the month, following an August 26 cease-fire that brought the summer's 50-day war to an end.

The comment came a few days after senior Hamas official Moussa Abu Marzouk indicated that Hamas may be more willing than ever to negotiate with Israel.

Though Hamas policy has been not to negotiate directly with Israel, Abu Marzouk said in an interview that the stance was not enshrined in Islamic religious law and could be relaxed.

Abu Marzouk gave no indication that Hamas had immediate plans to negotiate with Israel, however. Rather, he indicated the statement reflected growing tensions with Abbas, whom Hamas believes is trying to reclaim control of Gaza.

Hamas is under intense pressure from Abbas, who is insisting that Hamas' security forces in Gaza be subordinated to those of the Palestinian Authority under any new deal.

In Israel, meanwhile, Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon said Tuesday that fighting would not resume with the Gaza Strip at the end of this month, despite the difficulties in reaching a permanent Israel-Hamas cease-fire agreement.

Ya'alon made the remarks at a news briefing at Defense Ministry headquarters in Tel Aviv, saying he hoped reconstruction of the Strip might ensure a relatively long period of quiet.

Also on Tuesday, it was reported that Israel, the Palestinian Authority and the United Nations have reached a deal to allow reconstruction work to begin in the Gaza Strip with UN monitoring of the use of materials.

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