Hamas Leader: Our Weapons Not up for Discussion in Reconciliation Negotiations

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MOHAMMED ABED/AFP/Getty

TEL AVIV — The Hamas movement won’t agree to any movement on the issue of relinquishing weapons currently held by Hamas during reconciliation discussions with Fatah and the Palestinian Authority, according to Hamas deputy politburo chief Mousa Abu Marzook.

“This topic isn’t up for discussion; it wasn’t in the past and won’t be in the future,” Abu Marzook said in an interview with the Turkish Anadola News Agency.

According to Marzook, the issue didn’t come up in discussions between the Hamas terrorist groiup and the Egyptians who mediated between Hamas and the Fatah movement in recent weeks.

“The weapons of the resistance exist in order to defend the Palestinian people,” said Abu Marzook. “It isn’t logical that the Palestinian resistance would throw away its weapons as long as its land is occupied and its people are dispersed.”

Palestinian organizations routinely use the term “resistance” to refer to terrorist attacks targeting Osraelis.

Despite Hamas weapons being one of the problematic clauses for the reconciliation efforts, Abu Marzook said that his movement is doing everything possible in order to succeed in achieving reconciliation.

“We presented everything we have and removed all the barriers in order to achieve an inclusive national reconciliation,” he said.

The Hamas official attributed the progress made in reconciliation contacts with Fatah and the Palestinian Authority and the likeliness that this time, as opposed to the past, these efforts will eventually lead to true reconciliation, to what he claimed was the silence on behalf of the U.S. about the popssible reconciliation deal.

“We received information from Western diplomatic sources that the U.S. has removed the veto on Palestinian reconciliation,” claimed Abu Marzook. “This is also what American media has noted. There has been a change in the government’s policy.”

According to the Hamas official, the alleged removal of American opposition to reconciliation allows Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to take bold steps in order to achieve Palestinian reconciliation after a period in which the U.S. was the main barrier to reconciliation.

Abu Marzook didn’t know how to respond when asked what led to the supposed change in U.S. policy. He also said that his movement will continue to oppose conditions demanded by the international quartet (the U.S., UN, EU and Russia), according to which Hamas must recognize Israel and the agreements previously signed with it.

“The conditions of the quartet aren’t just and they haven’t changed and they are the ones who led to the imposing of the international blockade of our people because of democratic elections held in 2006 (elections in which Hamas won),” said the Hamas official.

Abu Marzook confirmed that Russia played in important role in the efforts to achieve internal Palestinian reconciliation. He labeled Iran, “as one of the countries that supported the Palestinian resistance the most with money and weapons and it did so out of the most difficult reasons and it has a central part in the abilities and power of the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades (the military wing of Hamas).”

He also expressed hope that relations between Hamas and Iran would return to be as they were in the past.

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