Deal to end armed Palestinian parades

Palestinian resistance groups have decided to cease all military parades that were being held in the Gaza Strip in celebration of the Israeli army pullout.

    Hamas: Gaza parades were in celebration of Israeli pullout

    The decision comes following a meeting in Gaza between Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and representatives of 13 factions, including Fatah and Hamas.

    "Our focus is confrontation with the Israeli occupation, not parades in the streets," a spokesman for Hamas, Sami Abu Zuhri, told Aljazeera.

    "Therefore, Hamas has always steered clear of military parades in streets."

    However, some military parades have taken place recently in Gaza "to celebrate the resistance's great victory", Abu Zuhri added.

    Message to Israel

    The parades, he said, were a message to the Israeli military that Palestinian resistance groups will keep their arms and continue to fight the occupation.

    "The message of these parades and the Palestinian resistance factions' position have both become clear," the Hamas leader continued.

    Abbas rejected the Quartet's
    pleas to disarm the resistance

    "For this reason, all factions have agreed to cancel celebrations and military parades as of this Saturday."

    Abbas on Wednesday brushed aside an appeal from the Quartet of international peace mediators to dismantle resistance groups, saying he knew best how to handle them.

    "With regard to dealing with the Palestinian organisations, this is our affair," Abbas said.

    "We know more and are more capable than others in dealing with our brothers."

    Ministers of the Quartet - the United States, the United Nations, Russia and the European Union - said in a joint statement on Tuesday that following Israel's pullout from Gaza, Palestinians needed to "dismantle terrorist capabilities and infrastructures".

    Co-option strategy

    The Palestinian leader has preferred to co-opt resistance fighters with jobs after having coaxed them into a ceasefire in February. Abbas believes that to try to crush the resistance would risk civil war.

    Meanwhile, Israeli troops have shot and killed an unarmed Palestinian youth near an army camp in the northern West Bank.

    Witnesses: Troops fired on youths
    who headed into base for scrap

    According to Aljazeera's correspondent in Jenin, 19-year-old Alaa al-Hantuli was shot by troops who opened fire on a group of Palestinian youths who were standing in front of the Dotan military camp, south of Jenin, on Thursday.

    The Israeli army was evacuating the Dotan camp when the shooting took place, the correspondent added.

    The army confirmed soldiers had shot an unarmed Palestinian in the Dotan military base as it was being dismantled, saying he had failed to heed orders to stop.

    Palestinian witnesses and security sources said the victim was hit in the chest while heading into the base to scavenge for scrap metal. He was pronounced dead at a hospital in the Palestinian-ruled town of Jenin, medics said.

    Warning shots

    "Soldiers called for him to stop, fired warning shots in the air and he continued, (so) they opened fire," an Israeli military source said.

    Four Palestinians were arrested when they penetrated the base on Wednesday, the earlier source said.

    The shooting occurred in a part of the occupied West Bank where Israel evacuated and demolished four Jewish settlements last month as part of Prime Minister Ariel plan for "disengaging" from conflict with the Palestinians.

    Israel also uprooted all 21 of its settlements in the Gaza Strip, but still has about 120 more enclaves in the West Bank.

    SOURCE: Aljazeera + Agencies


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