Israeli concerns that US President-elect Barack Obama will legitimize terrorist organizations dedicated to Israel's destruction by holding direct talks with them appeared to be confirmed on Tuesday when a Hamas leader said Obama had already sent advisors to meet with the group.
In an interview with London-based pan-Arab newspaper Al-Hayat, Hamas spokesman Ahmad Yousef said that Obama's advisors traveled to the Gaza Strip to meet with the group's leadership months ago when he was still campaigning for the presidency.
Said Yousef: "We first made contact on the Internet and then met with some of them here in the Gaza Strip. They advised us not to reveal this information lest it influence the elections or become manipulated by [Republican candidate John] McCain's campaign."
Yousef would not disclose any details of the meeting, but said that Obama's people remain in contact with Hamas.