Hamas Vows to Keep Weapons Under Reconciliation Deal with Fatah

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TEL AVIV — Hamas will continue to hold onto its weapons in order to fight Israel, the terrorist group’s so-called political leader, Ismail Haniyeh, said in an interview with the Egyptian television station ON.TV.

“The weapons of the resistance are a right of the Palestinian people as long as the occupation exists on our land,” Haniyeh said in the interview with senior Egyptian anchor Imad Adeeb. “As long as the occupation exists in Palestine, the weapons in the hands of the resistance will continue to exist.”

Hamas considers the entire State of Israel “occupied” territory.

Haniyeh noted that in the shadow of the new government in the Gaza Strip, “Two weapons will continue to exist: One in the hands of the police and the second in the hands of the resistance.”

According to Haniyeh, the Hamas movement is prepared to hold a dialogue with the Fatah movement “in order to unite the decision of war and peace,” in reference to the issue of Hamas participation in PLO institutions. Many in the Fatah movement led by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas are concerned that Hamas will gain control of the PLO, which is the body that signed the Oslo Accords with Israel.

The Hamas leader said that today Hamas is “in its best situation military, politically and security-wise.”

Haniyeh added that his terrorist group is marching toward reconciliation “not out of weakness. We are prepared to pay any price in order to bring about the success of the reconciliation.”

Haniyeh repeated previous statements from the group, stressing that Hamas is not a branch of any organization active outside of Palestine – a comment in reference to a recent change to the movement’s charter declaring that Hamas is a national Palestinian movement, in contrast to the previous charter that established Hamas as part of the ideology of the Muslim Brotherhood.

“We aren’t a branch of any organization outside of Palestine,” said Haniyeh. “We are a national liberation movement interested in resistance against the occupation.”

In response to a question from the Egyptian interviewer regarding Hamas’ relations with Egypt’s rival Qatar, Haniyeh said, “In regards to our relations with Qatar: We are trying to recruit the countries and Arab peoples to receive support for the Palestinian issue regardless of the national divisions in the region.”

According to Haniyeh, he will visit Cairo next week “to complete the reconciliation meetings. Hamas is coming to reconciliation strong and is prepared to go as far as possible to reach it. The division is already behind us. We will pay any price so that Palestinian reconciliation will succeed.”

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