The Palestinian Authority’s (PA) police commander questioned how the PA could provide security to the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip, when the terrorist organization has “all these rockets and guns,” the Associated Press reported Wednesday, calling the issue the “most significant sticking point” of Palestinian reconciliation talks.
Speaking about the reconciliation talks with Hamas, Hazem Atallah told reporters, “It is impossible. How can I do security when there are all these rockets and guns? Is this possible? It doesn’t work,”
Fatah, the dominant party in the Ramallah-based PA and Hamas have been at odds for more than a decade, when Hamas launched a bloody coup and expelled the PA from Gaza in 2007. Although the two factions have previously announced reconciliation agreements, none have ever taken hold.
The United States has said that in order for it to recognize a Palestinian government that incorporates Hamas, Hamas would have to embrace the Quartet principles for peace with Israel including a rejection of “incitement, and terror,” and acceptance of “the two-State solution, building upon previous agreements and obligations.”
Hamas has said that it will not give up its arsenal, the AP reported, calling disarming a “red line” that it will not cross to reconcile with Fatah.
Atallah said that he would not accept members of Hamas into his police force—unless they had previously been members of the PA police prior to the 2007 coup—and indicated that Hamas must disarm. Referring to Hamas’s weapons, the PA would have to “take them away, to dig them down,” Atallah said, adding that the requirements for reconciliation “are very clear. We are talking about one authority, one law, and one gun.”
While Atallah—who commands the police, which is one of six security organizations controlled by PA President Mahmoud Abbas—had some complaints about Israel, he defended working with Israel because the cooperation helps to keep the calm in the West Bank.
Leaders of Hamas have given every indication that they do not accept the Quartet principles.
Last month, Hamas declared that it would not disarm, raising the specter of it following what is called the “Hezbollah model,” and allow the PA to have political control, while maintaining its military capabilities intact.
In an interview with Egyptian television last month, the terrorist group’s Politburo Chief, Ismail Haniyeh said that “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.”
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