Israeli conditions to remain same in Hamas negotiations: official

Israeli conditions to remain same in Hamas negotiations: official

Azerbaijan, Baku, Feb. 23 / Trend , U.Sadikhova/ Israel will continue negotiations with the Palestinian Hamas movement under previous conditions despite changing the Israeli official engaged in the process, Israeli official Mark Regev said.

"Israeli position is determined by the Israeli government," Regev told Trend in a telephone conversation from Jerusalem. "Therefore, Israel will continue the negotiations [with Hamas] under previous conditions, when it appoints someone new and he will be going to Egypt."
Regev refused to divulge the name of the new official.

On Feb. 23, Israeli Defense Minister Assistant and representative in the Hamas negotiations Amos Gilad was dismissed, Vesti reported. The official was let go upon the demand of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert when he criticized Israel's position on releasing Sergeant Gilad Shalit. Hamas took Shalit prisoner in 2006.

"Gilad Shalit is the top of the agenda and we will continue to request him," Regev said.

Last week, Olmert said Israel will not sign an armistice with Hamas until Shalit is released.

Hamas and Egyptian leaders are dissatisfied with Israel's position as they expected Shalit's release to be the subject of future negotiations.

"Israel new position will damage relations with Egypt and make the armistice impossible," Gilad said in an interview with the Israeli Maariv newspaper.

The last armistice between Israel and Hamas expired in late December. Hamas refused to prolong the armistice and shelled southern Israel.
In response, Israel commenced military operations in Gaza tht lasted 22 days and killed 1,300 Palestinians.

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