A top aide of the Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas, said that Abbas aims to start disarming resistance factions, and will demand Hamas to lay down its arms after the legislative elections in January 2006.

Rafeeq Husseiny, P.A chief of staff, reported that Abbas is determined to end all sorts of lawlessness in the Palestinian territories, adding that Abbas will at first start disarming small resistance factions which emerged from his Fateh movement, before moving to disarming bigger groups such as Hamas and the Islamic Jihad.

“The president will act against small groups, especially those who claim to be part of Fateh movement”, Husseiny said, “He will start in his own faction in order to prove to other groups that he is serious”.

Husseiny did not report a specific date of starting the disarming process, or whether the P.A will use force in order to get armed groups to comply.

Although several Palestinian factions rejected any suggestion that they would disarm, most of them followed the truce declared with Israel in February, and were committed to a smooth Israeli withdrawal from Gaza.

“The armed groups will be asked to breakup, and join the Palestinian security forces”, Husseiny said, “Otherwise, they will be considered outlaws that have no right to exist”.

“The occupation left Gaza, carrying arms in the streets and having militias is not justified”, Husseiny added.

Abbas said earlier this week that he would bring unrest in Gaza under control by the end of this year, but said that he would not disarm Hamas.

Also, Abbas added that after the legislative elections in January, which Hamas plans to contest for the first time since the P.A was formed, they will not need weapons.

Senior Palestinian officials said that Abbas will try to get the new legislative council to pass a new law which outlaws the creation of armed groups.

“Hamas can’t mix between being a political party, and having armed groups after elections”, Husseiny said, “They will have to choose, between being a militia or a political party”.