Days before the Palestinian Authority was set to assume full control of the Gaza Strip in accordance with a reconciliation deal signed in October, the Palestinian Hamas movement announced on Monday that it will not allow any debate over its possession of arms.
Khalil al-Hayya, a senior Hamas official, told reporters in Gaza: “These weapons will not be touched. It's not for debate or talk.”
“These weapons will move to the West Bank to confront the occupation. It is our right to resist the occupation until the very end,” he declared.
“These weapons are our dignity and pride. They are a red line,” he continued,
“Neither the United States nor any other power can eliminate them,” Hayya stressed.
“We urge all political powers to stop talking about the resistance’s weapons,” he demanded.
“We are prepared for the security aspect of the reconciliation deal,” he said without elaborating, knowing that the October reconciliation did not include details on security.
The reconciliation signed in Cairo last month ended a decade of division between Hamas and Fatah.
Among the agreements reached in the deal was the transfer of power over the Gaza Strip from Hamas to Fatah.
Hayya stressed that Hamas will continue with the implementation of the reconciliation, demanding that the government end its “punishing” measures in Gaza.
The Palestinian Authority had, months prior to the deal, taken a series of measures aimed at pressuring Hamas to reconciliation. They included salary cuts to employees hired by Hamas to run Gaza.