January 07 ,2004
Report: Top Hamas leaders hold talks with Jewish-American following Egyptian mediation
A reliable Egyptian source has disclosed that American Jews have recently held contacts with the Hamas movement's leadership in the Gaza Strip, the London-based A Sharq al Awsat reported Wednesday.
According to the source, "US Professor Steve Cohen had met with Dr. Mahmoud a Zahar and Ismail Haniyyeh - two prominent leaders of Hamas in the Gaza Strip."
Prof. Cohen is a representative of a well-known Jewish institute in the United States.
According to the daily, the source added that the meeting came following Egyptian efforts, but also after the two sides expressed readiness to meet.
The source, who requested not to be named, added "Hamas tries to hold contacts with the Americans" and noted this "was not the first of its kind". He added that Hamas wants to continue talks with the American side in order for its name to be lifted from the US list of "terror organizations".
However, the source estimated that no concrete results are expected to emerge from these contacts, especially before the next elections to the Hamas political bureau.
The source further predicted that the current head of the bureau, Khaled Masha'al, would not be elected for a third term.
Earlier this month, in an interview published by Al Quds Al Arabi, Mohammed Nazzal, a political bureau member of the Hamas, denied recent press reports that Hamas had held contacts with US officials, but said the movement's door is "open to the official and popular American bodies." (Albawaba.com)