Mashaal: Disarmament Isn't Open for Negotiations

Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal rejects Israel's demand that Gaza be demilitarized, says weapons "are for fighting the occupying enemy."

Elad Benari ,

Khaled Mashaal
Khaled Mashaal
AFP photo

Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal on Sunday asserted that the group’s weapons are for use only against Israel, Bloomberg reported.

Speaking at a conference in Doha, Qatar, Mashaal ruled out Israeli demands for disarmament in Gaza.

“The subject of the resistance’s weapons isn’t open for negotiations,” Mashaal said, adding, “Those weapons are for fighting the occupying enemy. They are not for internal affairs.”

Talks between Israel and Palestinian Arab factions, which started after 50 days of deadly fighting between in Gaza ended on August 26 with an open-ended truce agreement, are scheduled to restart this week.

The Egyptian-brokered negotiations are aimed at discussing key issues, including Hamas's unprecedented demand for a port and an airport and for terrorist releases, as well as Israel's demands for the area's demilitarization.

Hamas has repeatedly declared that it would reject any attempts to disarm the terrorist groups in Gaza.

Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri recently said that the demilitarization of the factions was "inconsistent with international law and our people will not allow it."

Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon, on the other side, has clarified that there is “no chance” Israel would agree to Hamas’s airport and seaport demand.

"Hamas in essence accepted the terms of the ceasefire as we wanted, without all the issues it tried to bring up - a seaport, airport and prisoners. In accepted a ceasefire as we wanted without conditions," Ya’alon said in a television interview, making clear that "there is no chance that Hamas will receive a seaport - it is not in Israel's interest, it is not an Egyptian interest, it's not even in the interest of the Palestinian Authority."

In Sunday’s comments, Mashaal also declared that Hamas is committed to its unity agreement with Palestinian Authority (PA) Chairman Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah party, saying talks with Fatah will take place in the next few days, as was reported on Saturday