Despite a reconciliation agreement with Fatah, the main Palestinian faction, Hamas, the terror group that controls Gaza, still refuses to disarm and has threatened to send its arms into the West Bank to build a terrorist infrastructure there, the Associated Press reported Monday.
As part of the reconciliation agreement between the two factions, the Palestinian Authority, which is run by Fatah, is demanding that Hamas disarm, so that it can gain security control over Gaza. As of Sunday, Palestinian Authority Minister of Civil Affairs Hussein al-Sheikh said that Fatah has only been able to assume control over 5% of Gaza, which remains under the military and political control of Hamas.
Hamas is also threatening to transfer its arsenal to the West Bank.
“These weapons will not be touched. It’s not for debate or talk,” Khalil al-Hayya, a senior Hamas official, told the AP. He added, “These weapons will clearly move to the West Bank to battle the (Israeli) occupation there. It’s our right to fight the occupation until it ends.”
Last month, Iran’s PressTV reported that Saleh al-Arouri, the deputy political chief of Hamas, said last month, “We don’t accept it at all,” of the condition that Hamas disarm. Al-Arouri said that Hamas also rejected the condition that it must recognize Israel. He added that Hamas would never cut its ties with Tehran, referring to a condition mentioned by Israel’s security cabinet made earlier as necessary for it to negotiate with the Palestinian unity government.
Later, Jason Greenblatt, the Trump administration’s Special Representative for International Negotiations, released a statement largely reiterating the Israeli conditions. Greenblatt’s statement read, “the United States reiterates the importance of adherence to the Quartet principles: any Palestinian government must unambiguously and explicitly commit to nonviolence, recognize the State of Israel, accept previous agreements and obligations between the parties – including to disarm terrorists – and commit to peaceful negotiations.”
[Photo: Essam Nashar / YouTube]