Preliminary negotiations in preparation for indirect talks between Israel and Palestinian factions will continue despite Israel’s killing of two Palestinians on Tuesday morning, Hamas official Mahmoud Al-Zahar said.
“The meetings are only to set up a schedule for the indirect talks yet to come, but there is no discussion of other details until now,’ Al-Zahar said.
Israeli troops killed Amer Abu Aisha and Marwan Qawame, two Palestinians that Israel suspected of murdering three Israeli teenagers, on Tuesday morning.
“Overnight, Amer Abu Aisha and Marwan Qawsame, murderers of Eyal, Gilad and Naftali — were killed in exchange of fire with IDF [Israel Defense Forces] forces,” Israeli army spokesman Peter Lerner said on his Twitter account.
According to a statement released by the IDF, Qawasme and Abu Aisha are “Hamas terrorists [that] abducted and murdered three Israeli teenagers.”
Israeli authorities have previously detained the two men. Israeli officials arrested Qwasme five times, and detained Abu Aisha twice.
“What happened in al-Khalil is a crime. Israel chose this timing for the assassination to avoid its responsibilities in the ceasefire,” Al-Zahar said.
Hamas spokesperson Abu Marzouq said that after the “assassination crime” the Palestinian delegation will “look into its position and reply to the crime”.
Hamas condemned the “crime” and said in a statement that it was an Israeli “attempt to avoid fulfilling the ceasefire agreements”. The crime, the statement added, “will not escape peoples’ anger”.
Hamas also said in a press statement that the pathway of its resistance “will continue and will not be defeated.”
“This is the choice of continuing the resistance,” the statement read. “The assassination and imprisonment campaigns will not break it.”
The abduction and later murder of three Israeli teenagers last June as they were hiking in the West Bank triggered an Israeli campaign in which they arrested over 400 Palestinians and killed at least five in the West Bank.
Israel accused Hamas of murdering the three teenagers but Hamas denied the allegations.
On 8 July Israel began a series of attacks on Gaza and killed at least 2,137 Palestinians, including 577 children, according to the Gaza Ministry of Health. According to the United Nations the fighting killed 69 Israelis, including three civilians and one child.
The 50-day fighting came to an end after an Egypt-brokered ceasefire on 26 August. The factions agreed to resume negotiations within one month.
“As we have seen with the recent devastation in the Gaza Strip and rising tensions and violence in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, it is becoming increasingly difficult to contain the situation,” Ban-Ki moon said at a United Nations meeting on the situation in the Middle East.
He said the absence of a “political solution” has “severe consequences”.
Relations between Egypt and Hamas are currently improving, Al-Zahar said.
Ties between Egypt and the Islamist group have been tense since the ouster of Islamist former president Mohamed Morsi in July 2013.
Cairo is due to host a conference to discuss the reconstruction of Gaza on 12 October. Egyptian authorities maintained the closure of the Rafah border crossing, with the exception of a few days, during Israel’s offensive.