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Posts

Palestinian police chief says Hamas must disarm


Palestinian police in the West Bank. ‘“According to the agreement, the Palestinian government will be able to take over all its roles in the civil and security sectors, for which 3,000 Palestinian policemen from the …. Palestinian Authority will be redeployed,” the official involved in the talks told AFP on condition of anonymity.’  AFP and Times of Israel. Photo by Issam Rimawi/Flash90

Hamas must disarm under unity deal: Palestinian police chief

Hazem Atallah’s comments came as cracks began to show in the Palestinian reconciliation deal mediated by Egypt over the issue of security control of the Gaza Strip

By AFP, posted by Al Arabiya
November 08, 2017

The head of the Palestinian police said on Wednesday that Hamas must disarm to allow a landmark reconciliation deal signed last month with rivals Fatah to succeed.

Hazem Atallah’s comments came as cracks began to show in the Palestinian reconciliation deal mediated by Egypt over the issue of security control of the Gaza Strip.

The Palestinian National Authority (PNA) is due to retake control of the Gaza Strip, currently still run by Islamist movement Hamas, by December 1st this year.

“We are talking about one authority, one law, one gun,” Atallah told journalists in Ramallah in the occupied West Bank, echoing a line from Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas.

Asked whether he could allow Hamas’s armed wing to maintain their weapons while being in charge of police in Gaza, he said: “No way”.

“It is impossible. How can I do security when there are all these rockets and guns and whatever? Is this possible? It doesn’t work.

“Otherwise how can I be in charge? Who is going to be standing and saying ‘I am the chief of police, I am in charge,’ if I am not controlling everything?”


Hazem Atallah – will not tolerate continuation of Hamas police force but will take back the pre-Hamas police officers. Photo  taken on November 8, 2017 in Ramallah by Mohamad Torokman, Reuters

He said the 8,000-9,000 Palestinian police who worked in Gaza before Hamas took over in 2007 would return to their posts, rejecting the idea of merging with the existing Hamas-led police.

This, he added, would need major financial support as the police’s budget would effectively double.

Hamas seized Gaza in 2007 following a near civil war with Fatah, which currently dominates the PNA.

Last month the two political parties signed an Egyptian-brokered reconciliation agreement under which Hamas is meant to hand over control of Gaza by December 1.

The agreement signed in Cairo does not specify the future for Hamas’s vast armed wing, the Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades. Hamas has so far refused to disarm.

On November 1, Hamas handed over control of border crossings in a first key test.

But in a sign of tension, Palestinian prime minister Rami Hamdallah said Tuesday the PNA still did not have full control of the crossings, with Hamas dominating the police and security inside Gaza.

Hamas rejected that, with a statement saying it had fully transferred power.

Hamas, which is considered a terrorist organization by the United States and the European Union, has fought three wars with Israel since 2008.

Israel has maintained a crippling blockade on Gaza for a decade, while Egypt has also kept its border largely closed in recent years.

Multiple previous reconciliation attempts have failed.

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