A group of Hamas resistance fighters from the northern West Bank city of Nablus gave up their weapons on Tuesday in a bid to end the state of internal division in the city.The fighters were recently released from Palestinian Authority jails. At a press conference on Tuesday the fighters said their action was a bid to end the state of internal unrest in the city. They added that they recognize the legitimacy of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and his forces.

Hamas won the Palestinian legislative elections in January 2006, and shortly afterwards formed its National Unity government. Due to international pressure, which manifested in an economic embargo enforced by the USA, UK, EU and Russia, an internal bloody conflict erupted between President Abbas’ Fatah party and Hamas. On June 14 2007 Hamas took control of the Gaza Strip, leaving Fatah ruling the West Bank.

The fighters said today’s action did not mean they are severing ties with Hamas, but they see it as more of a much needed tactical move.

Speaking at the press conference, Mussa Al Kharraz, a prominent Hamas leader in the city of Nablus said ‘after consulting our brothers in the Islamic movement in Nablus, we ask all of our brothers to surrender their weapons to the Palestinian Authority. We ask the Palestinian security forces to stop arresting Hamas activists so they can turn their weapons in without any complications.’

Al Kharraz also condemned the Hamas takeover of the Gaza Strip.

The Hamas movement in the Gaza Strip stated that the members in Nablus do not represent Hamas and they were forced to conduct this press conference.

Hamas spokesman in Gaza, Fawzi Barhoum, told IMEMC ‘those young men in Nablus do not represent the Hamas leadership, all of them were arrested by the Fatah security forces, and some of them were released only for this press conference’.

‘The Hamas movement will continue to resist the occupation. Resistance weapons are used for that purpose only and not for internal unrest. Those men were forced to make this statement under arrest and threatened with torture,’ he added.