The Palestinian faction Fatah has denied making the disarmament of Hamas’ military wing, the Qassam Brigades, a condition for ongoing Palestinian reconciliation talks.
Osama al-Qawasmi, spokesman for Fatah, told Al Jazeera on Monday that the “weapons of the resistance” were a red line.
Pointing out that it is only Hamas that has spoken to the news media on the disarmament question, al-Qawasmi said: “Fatah wants to discuss with Hamas the issue of security.
“The Palestinian government will not be able to operate and implement its projects and security plans in the Gaza Strip if it is without a security arm.”
Al-Qawasmi’s statement followed a press conference earlier on Monday by a senior Hamas official, Khalil al-Hayya, in the Gaza Strip, who elaborated on the results of the reconciliation talks held in Cairo a few days ago.
The meeting was attended by all 13 Palestinian political factions, led by Fatah and Hamas.
Al-Qawasmi said implementation of the reconciliation agreement that was signed on October 12 in Cairo is progressing slowly, adding that Fatah has maintained from the outset that “the path of ending the division, which lasted for 11 years, is not paved with flowers”.
For his part, al-Hayya said that the subject of the “weapons of resistance” is not up for discussion and that ending the long-running blockade of the Gaza Strip by Israel and Egypt remains a priority.
“Hamas will push the Palestinian government to lift sanctions on the Gaza Strip,” al-Hayya said, adding that neither Hamas nor the Palestinian people will be able to wait until Fatah is convinced of what it calls the “empowerment” of the government.
He also called on Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to attend the reconciliation talks and to set the date of the general elections, which Hamas is prepared for at any time.