JERUSALEM – The U.S. recently held secret talks with Hamas in hopes of
establishing some sort of relationship with the terrorist group in control of the
Gaza Strip, charged a member of the rival Fatah organization.

“The Palestinian delegation in Egypt has precise information about secret
talks between Hamas and the U.S. These talks are ongoing and took place as
recently as in the last weeks,” said Saed Kamal, a Fatah legislator and a former
Fatah ambassador to Egypt.

Fatah is the U.S.-backed party of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud
Abbas. Kamal was speaking to the Saudi Arabian Okaz newspaper in an article
published today and translated from Arabic by WND.

He continued: “These talks don’t aim to bring recognition to Hamas but they
bring together common interests of both sides and go with the interests of
Hamas. These talks are behind the fact that Hamas is not enthusiastic to
renew the Palestinian national dialogue.”

Hamas, responsible for scores of suicide bombings, shootings and rocket
attacks, officially is listed as a terrorist organization by the U.S. State
Department. Hamas’ charter calls for the murder of Jews and destruction of Israel.

A spokesman for the U.S. State Department confirmed to WND it would violate U.S.
law for any American official to talk with Hamas.

Ahmed Yousef, Hamas’ chief political adviser in Gaza, claimed to WND today
his group has held talks with U.S. officials, including members of both
Democratic and Republican parties. He said he is not encouraged the Bush
administration will engage with Hamas, but said he believes the incoming administration of Barack Obama will favor dialogue.

He also said Hamas is in talks with former British Prime Minister Tony
Blair, who serves as the main envoy for the “Quartet” of Russia, the U.S., the EU and the U.N.

Last month, Yousef sparked controversy after he claimed Hamas held a meeting in the Gaza Strip
several months ago with aides to Obama. He claimed the terror group was asked to
keep the contacts secret until after last month’s elections.

The charge was denied by Obama’s transition team.

Seven months ago, Robert Malley, a Mideast expert described as an ancillary
adviser to Obama, resigned amid a report in a London newspaper that he had
contact with Hamas.

Some trace Hamas’ claim of newfound international dialogue to former
President Jimmy Carter’s visit in April when he met with top Hamas

Immediately after Carter’s meeting, French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner
confirmed Paris held talks with Hamas and Norway’s deputy foreign minister,
Raymond Johansan, admitted meeting with Hamas leader Ismail Haniya.

Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum confirmed to WND that Hamas this year “met a delegation from the European Parliament, from France, and from Italy, and
Norway, and from the EU parliament and from Carter.”

“All of these are supporting Hamas, and they have a plan to support
Palestinian rights and interests,” Barhoum said, speaking from Gaza.

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