President Rivlin Says He's Not Opposed to Negotiations With Hamas

Rivlin also says that Israel and the world need to find a way to end the stalemate in Gaza and rehabilitate the strip.

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President Reuven Rivlin strolls with a bodyguard in the background.
President Reuven Rivlin.Credit: Emil Salman

President Reuven Rivlin said on Wednesday that he was not opposed to holding negotiations with Hamas, NRG website reported. Rivlin made the comment during a tour of the north of the country.

"I'm not opposed to talking with anyone who is willing to talk," the president said, adding that both Palestinians and Israelis had an interest in improving the quality of life in the Gaza Strip.

Referring to the firing of a rocket from Gaza into Israel on Tuesday night, Rivlin said that "Hamas is very concerned by [the rocket fire,] which was carried out by an organization that is challenging it."

"Hamas today wants to bring order to Gaza, though not because it is in our interest."

Earlier on Wednesday, Hamas arrested three Islamic Jihad activists in connection with the rocket fire.

"There's no doubt that our hearts are with the residents of Gaza," Rivlin said. "We and the whole world are unable to get to a situation in which Gaza can be rehabilitated. There needs to be an international initiative with Israel's participation, in order to bring an end to the enmity against us."

Regarding concerns about a potential escalation of violence on the country's northern border, Rivlin said that the Israel Defense Forces will respond to any fire into the country's territory.

At the same time, he cautioned that Israel needed to differentiate between terror organizations and civilians.