January 9, 2011 - 1:00am

Prime Minister of the deposed Hamas government in Gaza Ismail Haneya does not meet Israeli personalities, an aide to Haneya said Sunday.

"Initially, Haneya rejects to see any Israeli persons seeking to meet him," said Yousef Rizka, the advisor of Haneya who leads the Hamas government in the Gaza Strip.

Thus, Haneya is unlikely to meet Israeli activists who plan to visit Gaza to urge him to help release Gilad Shalit, an Israeli soldier who was captured by the Hamas in 2006, according to Rizka.

Rizka said he believes that Israel will prevent the activists from entering Gaza, adding there were no official contacts between the Hamas government and any mediator regarding the visit.

Israeli media reported that the delegation will try to travel to Gaza on Tuesday. Israeli doctors from Arab origin will accompany the Israeli activists and to ask Haneya to enable the International Committee of the Red Cross to visit the captive soldier.

The reports said that the security establishment in Israel granted approval to the activists to enter Gaza which Israel has classified as a hostile entity since the Hamas won parliamentary elections in 2006.

Meanwhile, Rizka said that the Hamas government, which President Mahmoud Abbas fired after it took over Gaza in 2007, does not intervene in efforts to swap Shalit for a number of Palestinian and Arab prisoners. "The government only encourages concerned parties to secure an exchange deal bringing as much as possible to the Palestinians."

Egypt and Germany mediated between the Hamas and Israel to swap the prisoners, but the gap between the two sides was wide and the indirect discussions on this issue have stalled for months.


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