US Says 'No Talks' With Hamas

By Julie Stahl | July 7, 2008 | 8:14 PM EDT

Jerusalem ( - Hamas leaders would rather die than compromise by putting a halt to terrorist attacks, senior Hamas official Abdul Aziz Rantisi said in a media interview with Al Jazeera this week.

Recent reports said the U.S. has been involved in talks with Hamas. But a U.S. diplomat in Jerusalem said there were no contacts with the terrorist group, nor would there be any.

"We have not talked to Hamas and have no plans to do so," said Charles Hunter, Public Affairs Officer at the U.S. Consulate in eastern Jerusalem.

The Consulate in eastern Jerusalem generally handles all contacts and business with the Palestinians and Palestinian Authority.

According to Rantisi, "a message arrived" from the U.S. but the organization rejected the U.S. offer.

"America is talking with Hamas in a very strange way. They are asking Hamas to halt the operations in return for protecting Hamas leaders. I say, let all Hamas leaders be martyred," he said, naming himself, spiritual leader Sheikh Ahmed Yassin and others. Rantisi has already been the target of a failed Israeli assassination attempt.

"However, the operations shall not be stopped until this occupation is stopped... Hamas and its leaders sacrifice their blood, their sons and their money, for the sake of liberating Palestine, and they shall never prefer their own souls over their nation," Rantisi said.

Hunter emphasized there were no messages passed to Hamas from Washington in any way or through anyone else.

Rantisi also praised the young mother who carried out a suicide bomb attack in Gaza on Wednesday for abandoning her children and husband in order to blow herself up. Four Israelis were killed in that attack.