PA Chief Abbas Demands Hamas Dismantle Military Wing as Precondition for Unity Government
JNS.org – Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas said Monday he would not allow the Gaza-ruling Palestinian terror group Hamas to keep its weapons and armed brigades if control of the coastal territory was transferred to the PA.
“All control needs to be in the hands of the PA,” Abbas told the Egyptian television station CBC, ahead of a meeting between senior PA officials and Hamas members.
“I am not prepared to accept a reality like that which Hezbollah dictated in Lebanon,” he said. “The organizations in Gaza needs to relinquish their weapons. We want to be one state, with one governing body, with one law, and one military body.”
Abbas also warned that if these conditions were not met, efforts to form a Palestinian unity government between the rival factions could be halted.
“If we catch a weapon on a Hamas member, we will imprison him, just as is done with Fatah members who do not hold an official security position,” said Abbas.
Senior Hamas member Mousa Abu Marzook recently said the issue of dismantling the terror group’s military was not up for negotiation.
Earlier Monday, PA Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah arrived in Gaza for the first time since 2014, as the PA and Hamas initiated the first steps in forming a unity government. Hamdallah’s visit was intended as the first symbolic move towards transferring custodianship of the coastal territory from Hamas to the PA.