Hamas: Everyone has the right to arm themsleves to resistant the occupation

Palestinian Authority ministers met in Gaza today for the first time in three years in a meeting overshadowed by a warning from president Mahmoud Abbas over Hamas's weapons.

Last month Hamas announced that it would dissolve its administration in Gaza and was ready for elections to form a unity government ruling over both the strip and the West Bank.

The Gaza Strip has been under siege by Israel since 2007.

Hamas has been the de-facto ruler in the Gaza Strip since 2007 after the party defeated Abbas' long-dominant Fatah party in parliamentary elections.

Despite the caution, fed by the failure of previous attempts at reconciliation, this visit is to prepare the ground for a gradual transfer of responsibilities -at least calendar - from Hamas to the palestinian Authority, which issued the government of Prime minister Rami Hamdallah.

He said all outstanding administrative issues, including the issue of public employees, would be gradually dealt with in the framework of the 2014 Cairo agreement "within the available resources".

"We return to Gaza in order to conclude reconciliation and national unity and end the painful impacts of divisions and to rebuild Gaza brick by brick", he said.

On Monday, Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah arrived in Gaza for the first time since 2015, describing it as a "historic" moment.

The latest developments have come as Hamas finds itself increasingly isolated internationally, not least by the Saudi-led embargo of Qatar, a long-time supporter of Gaza, which has forced Hamas to try to make its peace with Egypt.

Hamas, which is considered a terrorist organization by the US, the European Union and Israel, agreed to cede control of Gaza as funds from overseas dried up and Abbas imposed sanctions that reduced government salaries and cut electricity to three hours a day. The battle left Hamas in control of Gaza but not the West Bank.

"We aren't a branch of any organization outside of Palestine", said Haniyeh.

"The US welcomes efforts to create the conditions for the Palestinian Authority to fully assume its responsibilities in Gaza", White House special envoy Jason Greenblatt said.

Another cause for wariness on Abbas' part is the role of Egypt's Palestinian protégé, Mohammed Dahlan.

On the future of the weapon arsenal of Hamas, Hania explained that all the weaponry of police forces in the Gaza strip will be handed over to the Fatah movement as part of the recent reconciliation. More specifically, Abbas said he would not allow for the recreation of the "Hezbollah experience" in Gaza.

The PA has signed peace deals with Israel, but Hamas was not party to them and does not recognize Israel's right to exist. Bennett is expected to bring up these demands in the upcoming cabinet meeting.

  • Jon Douglas