The Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, Hamas’s so-called “military wing”, on Tuesday outright rejected the Palestinian Authority’s (PA) demand that the armed militias in Gaza disarm as part of a reconciliation agreement between Fatah and Hamas.
"Our weapon...is the symbol of the victory and the headline of our discourse with the occupier, and it will continue to be directed at the thieving Zionist entity," the group said in a post on Facebook.
Mushir al-Masri, one of the leaders of Hamas, said that the weapon of the resistance is "a sacred national weapon that must not be harmed, and the very desire to harm it is a pipe dream.”
Masri accused senior Fatah members of using forceful language in an attempt to thwart reconciliation efforts and to evade the commitments Fatah made under the recent agreement with Hamas.
Hamas and Fatah, longtime rivals, signed a reconciliation agreement last month, which stipulates that the PA must regain full control of Gaza by December 1.
Representatives of the Palestinian Arab factions, including Hamas and Fatah, met last week in Cairo to discuss the implementation of the reconciliation agreement signed last month. The talks ended in an agreement to hold new elections by the end of 2018. If held, the new elections would be the first in the PA in over a decade.
However, Hamas later expressed disappointment over the latest round of talks, accusing Fatah of backing down from commitments in previous summits.
PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas has demanded that the armed militias in Gaza disarm as part of the implementation of the agreement, but Hamas continues to reject this demand.
On Monday, deputy Hamas leader Khalil al-Hayya reiterated that Hamas would not disarm and threatened that the group would carry out attacks against Israelis in Judea and Samaria.
"The weapons of the resistance are a red line that is non-debatable. These weapons will be moved to the West Bank to fight the occupation. It is our right to resist the occupation until it ends," he stressed.