Israel has denied carrying on negotiations for a longterm deal with Hamas, in a message to the Palestinian Authority, according to sources quoted in The Times of Israel on Wednesday.
The message was intended to allay PA concerns over reports of a five-year truce in the works.
The Prime Minister’s Office refused to comment.
During talks between senior Israeli and Palestinian officials in recent weeks in Israel, Ramallah, and abroad, the PA representatives expressed their concerns regarding the implications such a development would have on the standing of the PA with the Palestinian public.
Hamas has in the past signaled to Israel via various intermediaries that it would be amenable to such an agreement. Among those who delivered such messages were U.N. envoy Robert Serry and Muhammad al-Ahmadi, the Qatari envoy for the rehabilitation of the Gaza Strip, who visited Israel and met with the government coordinator for activities in Yehudah and Shomron, IDF Major General Yoav Mordechai.
Speaking from his Ramallah office, Hamas leader Hassan Yousef, told The Times of Israel on Tuesday that Hamas is eager for a truce with Israel.
“In my assessment, Hamas’s response to the various suggestions of a truce is positive,” he said.
“A long-term ceasefire needs to provide a solution to all the problems that were caused by the war and that led to it,” Yousef said. “European officials who wanted to mediate with the aim of extending the existing ceasefire have, so far, not received a positive response from Israel.”