Hamas and Fatah have never discussed disarming Hamas’s military wing, the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, nor does Hamas intend to recognize Israel or abide by previously signed agreements, a Hamas leader announced on Saturday.
Speaking to the press in Gaza, political bureau deputy chief Moussa Abu Marzouk said that Hamas and the other Palestinian factions have “temporarily” agreed to a Palestinian state on land conquered by Israel in the 1967 Six Day War, “without recognizing the Zionist entity.”
The Quartet — an international entity comprising Russia, the United States, the European Union and the United Nations — has demanded that Hamas recognize the State of Israel, abide by previous diplomatic agreements signed by the PA, and renounce violence as a means of achieving goals. Those principles were endorsed by UN Security Council Resolution 1850, which was unanimously adopted on December 2008.
But Abu Marzouk said that accepting the international conditions was never on Hamas’s agenda.
“We have rejected and continue to reject any conditions detracting from Palestinian rights,” he was quoted by Qatari news channel Al-Jazeera as saying. “Hamas will remain loyal to the right of return and to liberation.”
Last week, a number of Hamas officials rushed to clarify their movement’s rejection of Israel following indications by PA leaders, including PA President Mahmoud Abbas, that Hamas would abide by previously signed agreements.
Another sticking point in reconciliation between the rival Palestinian factions remains the destiny of Hamas’s security forces in Gaza and its armed wing, the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, which has launched thousands of rockets into Israel in previous years.
Abu Marzouk stressed that recent reconciliation talks have not touched on the brigade’s weapons, nor have any previous talks with Fatah, Al-Jazeera reported.
Created in 1992, the Izz Ad-Din Al-Qassam Brigades carried out numerous suicide and shooting attacks inside Israel throughout the 1990s and 2000s. Designated a terrorist organization by the United States and the European Union, the organization was also instrumental in the abduction of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit in June 2006.