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Hamas officials tell Yomiuri they reject talks with Israel; The killing of civilians in Rafah and all of Gaza must stop first, they say


The Yomiuri Shimbun
Taher Nono speaks to The Yomiuri Shimbun in Doha on Tuesday.

DOHA — Taher Nono, an advisor to

Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh said in an interview with The Yomiuri Shimbun in Doha on Tuesday that it is impossible to negotiate with Israel while the country is killing civilians in Gaza.

“The killing of families and civilians makes it difficult for us to discuss any negotiations with the occupation,” said Nono, 49, referring to Israel as “the occupation.” He also made clear that what he said was the position of Hamas, the Islamist militant group that effectively rules the Palestinian territory of Gaza.

Negotiations on a ceasefire in Gaza and the release of hostages, based on new proposals from Egypt and Qatar, were expected to resume at the end of this week, but Nono’s comments show that Hamas has hardened its stance after the attacks by the Israeli forces. about Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip.

Nono is from Gaza and is a close aide to Haniyeh, the Qatar-based leader of Hamas.

“We believe that what is happening now against our people is a real Holocaust against the Palestinians, whether in Rafah or in other parts of the Gaza Strip,” Nono said. “The occupation must stop firing immediately, and then we can talk.”

Meanwhile, Ghazi Hamad, a member of Hamas’s negotiating team, was also interviewed by The Yomiuri Shimbun on Tuesday.

“It is not reasonable to sit at the table and talk about negotiations when it is a bloodbath [happening] in Gaza,” said Hamad, 59.

On Sunday, two days after the International Court of Justice issued a temporary measure ordering an immediate halt to military attacks on Rafah, Israeli forces launched an airstrike on an area where many tents used by displaced people in Rafah were located. According to Reuters, at least 45 people were killed in the attack.

The latest battle in Gaza was sparked by Hamas’s attack on Israel last October, which killed 1,200 people and led to Hamas taking about 250 hostages. Israeli forces continue their attacks on Gaza with the aim of destroying Hamas and freeing the hostages, while Hamas’s surprise attack is also strongly criticized by the international community.

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