Israeli military officials conditioned the handover of security in Qalqilia to the Palestinian Authority to collecting the weapons of wanted Palestinian fighters in Tulkarem and Jericho, Israeli sources reported on Monday.
‘If the Palestinian Authority has confiscated the weapons of the fugitives in Tulkarem and Jericho, then Qalqilia could be transferred to Palestinian security control in the coming week,’ the Jerusalem Post reported.
Israeli Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz stated during the Sunday’s cabinet meeting that the joint committee on the status of the wanted fighters will meet in the coming few days to check on the disarming of the fighters.
‘Israeli officials will attempt to determine if recent statements made by PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas claiming that all the fugitives’ weapons have been confiscated are true,’ Shalom said.
Despite Israeli claims, the Palestinian Authority has declared repeatedly that they have collected the weapons of the fighters in Tulkarem and Jericho, the only two cities handed over to the PA.
So, far Israeli security officials have expressed doubts over Abbas’s statements, noting that instead of confiscating the weapons, the PA has integrated the fighters into its security forces, thereby legitimizing their right to carry arms.
Abdul Fattah Hamayel head of the PA committee on the status of the wanted Palestinians told IMEMC ‘the PA had the fighters to sign what is like a job application into the security forces and therefore, they follow commands of the PA.’
Hamayel added, ‘We are ready to collect the weapons and absorb all fighters in every city Israel hands over to the Palestinian Authority.’