Israeli official meets Hamas prisoners

An Israeli official recently met a group of Palestinian prisoners that included jailed Hamas legislators, an Israeli newspaper reports.

    Al-Zahar says he met a European foreign minister

    The Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper quoted a ministry official as saying Motti Zaken, an adviser on Arab affairs at the internal security ministry, had met some of 2,200 prisoners held at two jails, among them Hamas legislators

    Despite Israel's formal boycott of Hamas, the meeting was to "to assess their mood", the newspaper reported.

    It was the first such reported contact between an Israeli official and Hamas, which now heads the Palestinian government since the January parliamentary elections.

    Israel has jailed about a dozen Hamas members of parliament over alleged security offences.

    Asked about the report, Yehuda Maman, the ministry spokesman, said Zaken had met "security prisoners" about two weeks ago "as part of his professional work". He declined to elaborate.

    Renounce violence

    Israel, supported by the United States and the European Union, has blocked a flow of funds to the Hamas-led government since March in an attempt to force it to renounce the armed struggle, and to recognise Israel and past interim peace deals.

    Hamas's charter calls for Israel's destruction, and the group says talks with the Israeli government will be a waste of time.

    All but Russia have also refused any diplomatic contacts with Hamas officials, though Mahmoud al-Zahar, the Palestinian foreign minister from Hamas, said on Sunday he had met a European foreign minister during a recent tour of Arab countries.

    European countries have also begun to challenge a US-backed freeze on funds to the Hamas government, which some fear has brought the Palestinian Authority close to collapse.

    SOURCE: Reuters


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Survivor stories from Super Typhoon Haiyan

    Survivor stories from Super Typhoon Haiyan

    The Philippines’ Typhoon Haiyan was the strongest storm ever to make landfall. Five years on, we revisit this story.

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    Russian-Saudi relations could be very different today, if Stalin hadn't killed the Soviet ambassador to Saudi Arabia.

    We Are Still Here: A Story from Native Alaska

    We Are Still Here: A Story from Native Alaska

    From Qatar to Alaska, a personal journey exploring what it means to belong when your culture is endangered.