The Palestinian Authority insisted on disarming Hamas in the Gaza Strip in order to make reconciliation on the basis of “one weapon and one law”, while announcing the return of security coordination with Israel.
Palestinian Police Chief Major General Hazem Atallah told reporters on Wednesday that Hamas must disarm, saying: “We are talking about one authority, one law, one gun.”
This was the first public and official statement by the PA calling for Hamas’ disarmament. Palestinian officials have previously referred to the need to control and neutralize weapons, but the disarmament file was not discussed between Fatah and Hamas in the Cairo negotiations last month.
Asked whether Hamas’ Qassam Brigade would be able to maintain its weapons, the police chief replied: “No way… It is impossible. How can I do security when there are all these rockets and guns and whatever? Is this possible? It does not work.”
Hamas did not immediately respond to Atallah’s remarks, but its leader in the Gaza Strip, Yehya al-Senwar has repeatedly called the movement’s disarmament a “devil’s dream in paradise.”
The Qassam Brigade is very powerful in the Gaza Strip and has a large number of fighters, weapons and rockets. The brigade engaged in three major confrontations with Israel within 10 years.
The Palestinian police chief also said in a press conference that security coordination with the Israeli side was resumed around two weeks ago following a partial suspension in July.
“Security coordination between Palestinian and Israeli services have resumed as it used to be before it was halted,” adding that he was referring to joint efforts to prevent militant attacks, as crime-fighting police cooperation between the sides had never stopped.
In July, President Mahmoud Abbas announced the suspension of security coordination in protest of Israel’s construction of metal gates at the entrances to Al-Aqsa Mosque, after two Israeli policemen were killed in Haram al-Sharif courtyards where police had chased and killed three Palestinian suicide bombers.
“We don’t work for politics. We work for people,” Atallah stated.