British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw shocked his Israeli hosts by disclosing that Britain has held contacts with elected officials from Hamas, which is on the US State Department's list of terrorist organizations. But Straw says Britain's policy hasn't changed. "And our policy is clear, we will have no dealings with the leadership of Hamas or other such organizations, unless and until they wholly renounce violence and they renounce their charter calling for the destruction of the state of Israel," Straw told reporters here in Jerusalem. Both Britain and the US have been softening their approach to Hamas, after the group scored victories in Palestinian municipal elections. But Israel says contacts with Hamas will not advance the peace process. (We’ll have a full report on Straw’s controversial visit in the July edition of “israel today” magazine.)
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