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Saturday, September 10, 2005

Abbas may try to disarm terrorist groups

To date, it has been difficult to guage how serious the new Palestinian government will be in quelling the violent activities of terrorist factions against Israelis after the Gaza pullout. However, Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas apparently has revealed some of his intentions for groups such as Hamas which... if true... seem to indicate a little intestinal fortitude on his part:

PA chairman orders security forces to prepare for disarming factions in wake of Monday’s Gaza blast; most complex task: Disarming Hamas members
Roee Nahmias

Will Hamas be disarmed? Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas ordered Palestinian Authority security officials Wednesday to prepare a plan for disarming terror groups in the Gaza Strip.

The move follows an explosion in a residential building in Gaza two days ago that left four people dead and another thirty wounded.

A senior Palestinian official told Arabic-language newspaper al-Bayan that Abbas demanded that relevant officials present him with plans to disarm Palestinian factions.

“The implementation of this task will take a long time, but the chairman expressed his determination (to ensure) not even one weapon would be found in the Strip expect arms held by security officers,” the source said.

“According to the reports received by Abu-Mazen (Abbas,) the most difficult task would be removing weapons from the hands of Hamas, because the (Fatah’s) al-Aqsa Brigades will eventually join the security forces and receive a permit for their weapons,” he said.

“The most appropriate time for taking away Hamas’ weapons would be right after the elections for the legislative council,” another source added.

Meanwhile, Hamas said it is determined to keep its weapons because the Gaza withdrawal “does not constitute the end of the conflict.”

“The continued occupation of the West Bank constitutes 94 percent of Palestinian territory occupied in 1967, an area where Sharon said he intends to reinforce settlement blocs,” the Hamas said.