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Hamas uses backchannel to Tel Aviv

According to Hamas sources, the Islamist movement sent an indirect message to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and not for the first time.
GAZA CITY, -: Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniya, new Finance Minister Salam Fayad (2R) and new Sports and Youth Minister Bassem Naim (R) arrive for the first meeting of the new Palestinian unity cabinet in Gaza City, 18 March 2007. The new Palestinian government held its first cabinet meeting today, vowing to confront rampant lawlessness and end a crippling international aid freeze but facing a continued Israeli boycott. AFP PHOTO/MAHMUD HAMS (Photo credit should read MAHMUD HAMS/AFP/Getty Images)

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip — Hamas’ leadership quickly denied to Al-Monitor on Feb. 24 that Gaza Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh had sent a letter to the office of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu regarding the confrontations on the Gaza-Israel front. Hamas issued the denial to avoid being accused of hypocrisy, given Hamas regularly criticizes its rival Fatah for communicating with Israel.

Despite Hamas’ official denial about the existence of any direct communication channels with Israel, a source in Hamas asserted that the organization has sent a verbal message to the Israeli side — from the deputy foreign minister in the Hamas government Ghazi Hamad to Israeli peace activist Gershon Baskin — without explicitly asking Baskin to forward the message to Netanyahu’s office.

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