Hamas spokesman Mahmoud al-Zahar insisted his organization would not negotiate with Israel despite a statement to the contrary made by Hamas politburo chief Khaled Mashaal, the Palestinian paper Al-Quds reported Wednesday.
Mashaal's statement "does not represent the movement's official stance, which is based on a plan of resistance and not negotiations", al-Zahar said.
He added that Gaza's government had not given Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas permission to negotiate with Israel after a joint Hamas-Fatah government is formed, due to a recent Palestinian reconciliation between the rival factions.
"We do not agree to such negotiations and do not encourage them – just the opposite," he said, adding that the speech made by Mashaal on the matter surprised many in the organization.
"There has been no change in the movement's position on everything related to the resistance, which is our only option," he said.
Al-Zahar also predicted that Hamas would rack up more votes than Fatah in both the West Bank and Gaza in elections once they are held, but a unity government is most likely in any case, according to most predictions.
The Hamas spokesman added that there was nothing new in talks for kidnapped soldier Gilad Shalit. He also praised 'Nakba Day' protesters for "creating serious danger for the Zionist entity".
"We consider all those who resist the occupation a resistance fighter, especially if it is someone of Muslim background. We disagree partially with bin Laden's way, and with the fact that he took his battle to the US and Europe, but we are totally at odds with the American stance," he said.
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