Abbas: Hamas Is Smuggling Weapons Into the West Bank

Palestinian leader says his people not interested in armed conflict, accuses Hamas of cracking down on Gaza militants while encouraging them in his territory.

Jack Khoury
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Jack Khoury

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Thursday accused the rival Hamas movement of smuggling weapons into the West Bank territory under his control.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud AbbasCredit: Reuters

"On the one hand, the organization is punishing those who launch rockets in Gaza, while at the same time it hoards weapons in the West Bank," the Palestinian leader said in an interview with the London-based A-Sharq al-Awsat.

Palestinian security forces routinely discover these caches, Abbas told the newspaper/

Abbas added that the Palestinian people were not interested in armed resistance, despite calls from Syria and Libya last month to return to violence and cut off contact with Israel.

The Palestinian delegation to the Arab League conference where these calls were made voiced their opposition to such means, Abbas told the newspaper. "Every layer of the Palestinian nation opposes this. We support national resistance and the call to boycott products made in settlements, but this does not mean we want to incite against Israel."

The West Bank is controlled by the Palestinian Authority, while the Gaza Strip has been run by Hamas since it ousted the PA in a bloody coup in June 2007.

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