India Intelligence Report
 

Russia Negotiates with Hamas

 

Acting Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert asserted that Israel has the backing of the international community on its Hamas isolation policy but said it is open to peace talks with Palestinians but not the terrorist group Hamas. He said Israel "will not conduct any negotiations with Hamas or with anyone who is part of it or depends on it." Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said that he might take up diplomatic avenues of Palestinian Territories leaving domestic issues to Hamas. Israel is critical of Russian invitation of Hamas leadership to Moscow saying that this will break international resolve in isolating Hamas. However, France, Spain, and the US administration seem to be backing Russian President Vladimir Putin's initiative to open dialogue with Hamas. The group is responsible for dozens of suicide attacks that have killed hundreds of innocent Israelis. Writing in a Russian journal, Hamas Chief Khaled Mashaal said that his organization will give up violence if Israel vacates West Bank and East Jerusalem-- areas it occupied after the 1967 war.

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