Will Hamas surrender Qassam Brigades to Abbas?

Adjust Comment Print

Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas poured cold water on an expected reconciliation between rival factions by demanding that Hamas, the Islamist movement that has controlled the Gaza Strip for the past decade, turn its arms over to his Palestinian Authority in the West Bank.

In an interview with Egyptian television on Monday, PA President Abbas categorically rejected anyone possessing weapons other than the PA government and its security services.

Netanyahu said any move toward reconciliation must take into account recognition of Israel as a Jewish state, dismantlement of the Hamas military wing and a severance of diplomatic relations with Iran.

In his speech, El-Sisi called on the unity government to end the years-long division, while wishing them success in serving the Palestinian people. Hamas once governed the region jointly with the Fatah political party, which now leads the Authority.

On the other hand, we see a clear dividing line of stances and perspectives where President of Palestine categorically opposed Hamas's stance of possessing military assets which are a threat to the nation's sovereignty and integrity.

At a meeting of his Likud party on Tuesday, Netanyahu said: "We are not prepared to accept bogus reconciliations" in which the Palestinians reconcile "at the expense of our existence". However, if the PA agrees to a role for Hamas in running Gaza or to Hamas retaining their capacity to strike against Israel, Abbas can be sure that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will accuse him of being an accomplice of a terrorist organization.

Rami Hamdallah is heading a delegation from the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority, which is taking over from an administration disbanded by Hamas.

The prime minister went on to say: "We are fully aware that the road is still long and arduous, and that we will encounter obstacles and challenges..."

Egypt's General Intelligence Service worked with both sides to broker reconciliation talks.

Donald Trump's Mideast envoy Jason Greenblatt said in a statement the USA "welcomes efforts to create the conditions for the Palestinian Authority to fully assume its responsibilities in Gaza".

During the cabinet meeting, Mr Hamdallah said the achievement of reconciliation would cause donor countries to fulfill their financial commitments to the PA.

Abbas also warned that if these conditions were not met, efforts to form a Palestinian unity government between the rival factions could be halted.

At the same time, roughly 100,000 Palestinians now living in Jerusalem neighborhoods - but outside Israel's West Bank separation wall - would be administratively cut off from the city. On the contrary, national reconciliation is part of Hamas' further politicization.