The Islamic Resistance Movement, Hamas, denies reports that it started collecting and registering the weapons of its armed wing in the Gaza Strip.
The denial, by a Hamas legislative member, came after the Israeli online daily Haaretz reported that the Iz Ed Deen Brigades, the military wing of Hamas, has begun to collect and register the weapons of its fighters.
According to Haaretz, the political leadership of Hamas ordered the armed wing to collect and register the weapons of the fighters following the movement’s victory in the elections.
The Israeli paper reported that their source in Hamas told them that this move is to prove to the world that the movement can control its armed wing, and that this procedure precedes a possible government decision to renew the truce and collect the weapons of all armed groups.
Fathi Hammad, one of Hamas’ elected legislative council members, denied the report and accused Israeli intelligence of “spreading the rumors regarding this issue”.
Hammad added that the movement does not intend to disarm the military wings while Israel continues to occupy the Palestinian territories. He also said that the political leadership of Hamas does not know the number of its armed members and the number of the leaders of its armed wings.
The Arabs48 news website reported that Khaled Mashal, head of Hamas political bureau, told a Russian newspaper Monday that Hamas might consider disarming its fighters and recognize the 1967 borders as the borders of the Palestinian state if Israel recognizes the Palestinian rights and withdraws from all of the Palestinian territories it has occupied since 1967.
Mashal also said in Monday’s interview that as long as Israel refuses to adhere to the ‘Road Map to Peace’, Hamas has no obligation to respect it – referring in part to the increase in Israeli settlers in the West Bank by 12,000 in 2005 to make a total of 250,000 in the West Bank, a move which violates the ‘Road Map to Peace’ agreement made between the Israeli government and Palestinian leadership.