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Israeli Official Confirms Secret Meetings, Hamas Denies | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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A Palestinian Hamas security officer stands guard in Gaza, on October 9, 2014. (Mohammed Abed/AFP)

Ramallah-Recent leaked information about a meeting between Hamas and Israeli officials stirred nationwide debates, before a Hamas official had to deny what an Israeli figure had confirmed.

Channel 10 of Israeli television reported a meeting of the head of the regional Council of Ashkelon with the mayor of Beit Hanoun Mohammed al-Kafarneh, who is also a Hamas official.

The report said that the meeting took place about three weeks ago.

Both heads of local councils discussed the environmental issues, in particular, the method of wastewater treatment.

Israeli sources said that this issue is of main concern and should be dealt with jointly.

The rumors of the meeting sparked criticism among the Palestinians due to Hamas’ declared rejection for such meetings and its continuous denouncement of the Palestinian authority for coordinating with Israel.

The Palestinian authority had always responded to the criticism saying coordination is crucial for daily life matters. Authorities accused Hamas of conducting civil and security coordination with Israel despite the declared rejection.

Kafarneh came out to deny the accusation saying that the news circulating on Israeli media is not true. He issued a written statement that was published by al-Ray agency.

He refuted the news about secret or public meetings with the occupation authorities.

However, the head of the regional Council of Ashkelon confirmed the meeting, saying that such talks are practical. He added that he supports continuous dialogue with Hamas officials.

Israeli media outlets reported that during the past few days, the two officials discussed dealing with water and waste treatment issues.

This is not the first time that Israel announces such meetings despite Hamas’ insistence that it doesn’t conduct any sort of coordination with the occupation.

Israeli military officials had previously confirmed coordination with Hamas exists.

Former commander of Gaza Regional Division Mickey Adelstein declared once that the Israeli army is allowed to be inside the Gaza Strip to certain distances as long as Hamas is informed of the move, while Hamas remain calm about it.

The Israeli army can also be on the border with Gaza or inside the territory without being attacked. Activists condemned such activities that take place under the supervision of Hamas fighters.

Hamas is calling on Egypt to re-launch talks for a comprehensive armistice treaty. But Cairo has not yet responded.