Palestinian resistance movement Hamas says it will not accept to eliminate its armed wing as part of a unity agreement with the rival faction Fatah. Moussa Abu-Marzouq, the deputy head of Hamas political bureau, said the movement will never agree to remove its Qassam Brigades from the “equation of confrontation with the occupation,” the Times of Israel reported on Thursday. The Hamas official further said the “security” issue could realistically unravel reconciliation talks with Fatah. Fatah is reportedly demanding that Hamas dismantle its armed wing as a condition for reconciliation. Egypt is also concerned that unity talks between the two Palestinian factions might fail due to Hamas’s insistence on keeping its armed wing intact.
Abu-Ubaida, a spokesman for the Qassam Brigades, said, “Dismantling the Qassam Brigades or integrating them into the security forces is not up for discussion. We will not allow talk of it now or in the future.”“Those who contemplate erasing it will be erased from the pages of history,” he added. Regarding negotiations with the Tel Aviv regime, Abu-Marzouq reiterated that Hamas “has not and will never negotiate with Israel.” The new round of reconciliation talks between Fatah and Hamas are expected to resume in the Egyptian capital city of Cairo later on Thursday. On January 9, acting Palestinian Authority chief Mahmoud Abbas from Fatah and Hamas Political Bureau Chief Khaled Meshaal reached an agreement in Cairo to work toward implementing a unity deal they signed two years ago. MKA/HSN