Hamas has rejected the Palestinian Authority’s demand for disarmament and has vowed to hold onto its weapons to fight Israel.
The terrorist group’s Politburo Chief, Ismail Haniyeh, said in an interview with Egyptian television that “there are two groups of weapons: There are the weapons of the government, the police and security services,” The Jerusalem Post reported Tuesday.
He added, “And there are the weapons of the resistance. Regarding the weapons of the resistance, as long as there is a Zionist occupation on Palestinian land, it is the right of the Palestinian people to possess weapons and resist the occupation in all of forms of resistance.”
The Qassam Brigades, Hamas’s armed wing, are believed to have 25,000 members and Hamas has a stockpile of thousands of short-range rockets, as well as scores of longer-range Grad rockets that could strike Israeli population centers.
Haniyeh made his comments after Hamas leaders met with PA Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah in Gaza on Monday in a bid to start work on ending the political division between the West Bank and Gaza. Hamas has controlled the territory since seizing it from the PA in a near civil war in 2007 and multiple previous reconciliation attempts have failed.
In an interview with Egyptian television on Monday, PA President Abbas made clear again his position that no entity other than the PA government and its security services must be allowed to possess weapons.
Abbas said he would not allow for the recreation of the “Hezbollah experience” in Gaza. The Iranian-backed terrorist organization Hezbollah, which is in complete control of Lebanon, oversees a vast army within the country.
In a conference call with The Israel Project on October 2, Avi Issacharoff, a longtime Palestinian affairs correspondent, told the audience that if Hamas refuses to give up its weapons, reconciliation will never be accepted by Israel.
He also explained why the power struggle in the Palestinian territories mirrors the situation on the ground in Lebanon. “There is a government that is taking care of water, electricity, garbage,” Issacharoff said, adding “But the ones that are in charge of the security issues and the military issues, that will be Hamas just like Hezbollah in Lebanon.”
In an analysis published Tuesday in The Times of Israel, Issacharoff observed that “there will be no true reconciliation or unity if Hamas insists on maintaining possession of its weaponry.”
[Photo: Journeyman Pictures / YouTube ]