The Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas) will respond positively to the ceasefire and calmness proposals offered by former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, said Mohammed Nazzal, an exiled member of Hamas politburo, on Sunday. However, the positive responses "will not be at any price because the interests of the Palestinian people should be calculated," he said.
Carter kicked off a week-long trip to the Middle East on April13 to look for ways in a personal capacity to push the Mideast peace process. He has held several meetings with Hamas leaders, including exiled Hamas politburo chief Khaled Mashaal in Damascus. Nazzal, a top figure in Hamas' political bureau, said the discussions between Hamas and Carter focused on achieving truce between Israel and the Palestinians, exchanging prisoners and lifting the Israeli siege on the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip. More details about the talks with Carter "will remain withheld to respect the meetings," he told a website close to the Islamic Jihad movement.
Hamas kidnapped Israeli Corporal Gilad Shalit in a cross-border raid near Gaza in 2006. In June last year, Hamas took over the Gaza Strip by force and Israel increased military operations against the coastal enclave.