Hamas Refuses to Surrender Weapons Amid Reconciliation Talks With Fatah

The Palestinian Cabinet met in Gaza on Tuesday for the first time since 2014 in a further step towards the internationally recognized Palestinian Authority retaking control of the territory.

Both movements fell out in 2007 after Hamas chased out Fatah members in the wake of 2006 elections won by the Islamist movement.

"We return to Gaza in order to conclude reconciliation and national unity and end the painful impacts of divisions and to rebuild Gaza brick by brick", Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah said, Reuters reports.

"I say on my behalf and on behalf of the brothers in Fatah and all the Palestinian factions that we are ready to pay any price for the success of Palestinian national reconciliation", he said. And a similar effort in 2014 tanked after Israel and Hamas started a brief war in Gaza.

Hamas has been more open to working with the Palestinian Authority since Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates imposed an economic boycott on its main donor, Qatar, over its alleged support of terrorism. Mohammed Dahlan, the former Palestinian security chief in Gaza and an Abbas rival, helped broker the deal with the other top Hamas chief, Yahya Sinwar, who grew up in the same refugee camp as Dahlan.

Hamas established the administrative committee to fill what it described as a void caused by the PA's neglect of its duties in Gaza.

In the interview on Monday night Abbas said there would be "one state, one system, one law and one weapon" - in an apparent reference to Hamas's military wing.

Fawzy traveled to Gaza to meet the Palestinian government, following a meeting in Ramallah with Abbas.

In a pre-recorded speech played at the meeting, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi backed the talks.

Hamas has ruled Gaza, while Abbas' party has controlled autonomous enclaves in the Israeli-occupied West Bank. The United States welcomed cautiously the return of the Authority to Gaza, stressing that any palestinian government must renounce violence and recognize Israel.

On the future of the weapon arsenal of Hamas, Hania explained that all the weaponry of police forces in the Gaza strip will be handed over to the Fatah movement as part of the recent reconciliation. Hamas with its new charter has stated its willingness to be a part of the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) to fight for liberation by accepting the statehood with 1967 borders and supporting the non-violent resistance with the right of recourse to armed resistance in self-defence. Bennett is expected to bring up these demands in the upcoming cabinet meeting.

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.

  • Rogelio Becker