Hamas Refuses to Disarm, Threatens to Send Weapons to West Bank

Internal differences within Fatah over reconciliation with Hamas

In a press conference in Gaza City yesterday, Hamas leader Khalil al-Hayya called on the unity government to fulfill its obligations toward Gaza, according to Anadolu Agency (AA).

An Egyptian security delegation arrived in the Gaza Strip to contain tension between the Fatah and Hamas movements, in wake of mutual accusations over the past few days that threatened to hinder the reconciliation agreement reached between the two sides in Cairo in October.

The Egyptian delegation entered Gaza through the Beit Hanoun (Erez) crossing as the Egyptian officials are expected to meet with Hamas officials and discuss the reconciliation process, including the steps that were taken to enable the Palestinian government to assume its responsibilities in Gaza.

Fatah, which dominates the Palestinian Authority, and Hamas, which has controlled the Gaza Strip since it took over the enclave in 2007, are now in the midst of a reconciliation process that began in October. Palestinian officials say Abu Zeid is responsible for overseeing the Hamas handover of authority to the PA.

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Palestinian Authority Minister of Civil Affairs Hussein al-Sheikh stated on Sunday that a mere five percent of the territory has changed hands, even though the full changeover is supposed to be completed by December 1.

The two factions agreed to allow the unity government to assume responsibility for all of Gaza's border crossings no later than November 1. "The weapons will be moved to the West Bank to fight the Occupation; it is our right to resist the occupation until it ends".

Despite the reconciliation talks, Hamas has reportedly declined to give up its weapons and vowed to continue terrorist activity against Israel also from the West Bank.

In Gaza, which Hamas has ruled since seizing it in 2007, there are no settlers after Israel withdrew in 2005.

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