A long-time foreign policy adviser of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday ruled out the Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas as a potential peace partner for Israel.
"There is no question that Hamas is part of the jihadist universe," said Dore Gold, incoming director general of the foreign ministry and former ambassador to the United Nations.
"It is not a candidate to become a political partner," he told journalists as his conservative think-tank, the Jerusalem Centre for Public Affairs, unveiled a study of the 2014 war in Gaza, where Hamas is the de facto power.
Gold was named to the foreign ministry post last week by Netanyahu, who has retained the ministerial portfolio himself.
The position of deputy foreign minister is held by an ultra-Orthodox MP from the far-right fringe of Netanyahu's ruling Likud party.
Last week, President Reuven Rivlin appeared to challenge a longstanding taboo on talks with Hamas, saying he would talk to anyone.