Abbas: After Reconciliation, Hamas Will Have to Surrender Its Arms

'All weapons will have to be under the control of the Palestinian Authority and rule of law,' Palestinian president says

Palestinian flags and a poster of the Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah in Gaza, Oct. 1, 2017.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said that at the end of the reconciliation between the Fatah party and Hamas, all weapons – including those in Hamas’ hands – must be under the control of the rule of law of the Palestinian Authority. Abbas made spoke in an interview on Egyptian television on Tuesday.  

“We will not agree to the Hezbollah model,” said Abbas, speaking from his office in Ramallah to mark the hope for reconciliation. The PA and Fatah movement will invest all their efforts to help the reconciliation succeeds, he added. But when Hamas joins the institutions of the Palestine Liberation Organization, which is the umbrella group for all the Palestinian factions, Hamas will be required to accept the principles of the organization and its decisions, said Abbas.

“We, in the West Bank, operate according to a single law and a single authority,” said Abbas. “I order to arrest anyone who holds weapons that is not under the auspices of the law, even if they are Fatah members, and that is what is meant to be.”  

Palestinian Prime Minister Rami al-Hamdallah chaired his first meeting of the Palestinian cabinet in Gaza on Tuesday in a move towards reconciliation between the mainstream Fatah party and Islamist Hamas group that rules Gaza.

Hamas seized the coastal enclave in 2007 in fighting with Fatah forces loyal to Abbas.

The reconciliation process, which is beginning with the cabinet session, was promoted by Egypt and other U.S.-allied Arab countries.

Hamas, considered a terrorist group by Israel and the West, last month disbanded its Gaza shadow government, after Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates imposed an economic boycott on its main donor, Qatar.