Hamas Says Arms Red Line, Calls for Establishing Committee to Oversee Reconciliation

Palestinian Authority employees chant slogans and wave placards during a demonstration against the decision by the PA to reduce their salaries in Gaza City

Fatah officials have demanded that the PA control all weapons in the Strip, while Hamas officials have stated that their armed wing, the Izzeldin Kassam Brigades, will not be disarmed. "It's our right to fight the occupation until it ends".

In a statement, Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhum said the government call for former employees to return to their jobs was "in violation of a 2011 reconciliation deal in Cairo" between Palestinian factions.

In April, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas adopted a number of punitive measures as a way of piling pressures on Hamas to relinquish its control of Gaza.

Internal differences within Fatah over reconciliation with Hamas

The two leading Palestinian factions sparred Tuesday over the fate of tens of thousands of employees in Gaza ahead of a key deadline, the latest sign that a landmark reconciliation accord was faltering.

The reconciliation agreement signed on October 12 in Cairo does not specify a future for the Qassam Brigades.

Palestinian Authority Minister of Civil Affairs Hussein al-Sheikh stated on Sunday that a mere five percent of the territory has changed hands, even though the full changeover is supposed to be completed by December 1.

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According to official Palestinian sources, the delegation, who entered Gaza through the Beit Hanoun (Erez) crossing, included the deputy head of the Palestinian dossier at the Egyptian intelligence, Major General Hammam Abu-Zeid, and the Egyptian Consul-General in Ramallah, Khaled Sami.

The two factions agreed to allow the unity government to assume responsibility for all of Gaza's border crossings no later than November 1.

"The first sponsor of the division is Iran", Ahmad, the primary Fatah official in charge of discussing reconciliation with Hamas, said in an interview with the Saudi-owned al-Arabiya news outlet, in a rare rebuke of Iran from a Palestinian official.

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In Gaza, which Hamas has ruled since seizing it in 2007, there are no settlers after Israel withdrew in 2005.

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