Photo Credit: Abed Rahim Khatib / Flash 90
Members of the military wing of Hamas in the streets of Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip.

Hamas has informed the Palestinian Authority of its willingness to lay down its arms in return for being accepted into the Palestinian Liberation Organization, Al-Hayat reported on Friday. The terror group also stressed that its position on national reconciliation was irreversible, and that it was going to attend the coming meeting of the Palestinian Central Council (PCC).

Hamas appeared to be re-positioning itself to join the Palestinian Authority political system in preparation for the post-American phase of negotiations with Israel. A Hamas leader in Ramallah told Al-Hayat that the group intention was to participate in the January 14 PCC meeting, because Hamas wants to enter the political system and participate in the institutions of the PLO and the PA. Also, according to the same Hamas man, the group wishes to share the political stage in resisting US pressure to impose political solutions on the Arabs in the disputed territories.

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Hamas spokesman Hossam Badran said in a statement Thursday that the movement received an official invitation to participate in the meetings of the Central Council, and they are studying it with interest. Meanwhile, Secretary of the PLO Executive Committee Saeb Erekat said that the decisions reached at that meeting will be “fateful.”

Al-Hayat cites “Gaza reliable Palestinian leadership sources” who revealed that Hamas’ vision was to “place the weapon of the resistance under the command of the leadership framework (of the organization in which it participates) or the executive committee, should it be allowed to joins it,” and that the movement had sent a message to that effect to Chairman Abbas.

Regarding reconciliation, the sources quoted Hamas as confirming that it had abandoned the idea of division forever. They said Hamas chief in the Gaza Strip Yahya al-Senwar repeatedly stressed to PA representatives that “the strategic choice of the movement, made by the politburo months ago, is to move to reconciliation, with the vision of promoting the Palestinian national project – especially since it appreciates that the Palestinian cause is facing great dangers regionally and internationally.”

“The old guard in the movement refuses to make further concessions without being met by steps from Fatah, the PA and Abbas, but the new guard, represented by al-Senwar and deputy head of the politburo Saleh al-Arouri and others, is determined not to return to the division,” a spokeswoman for Hamas told Al-Hayat. She added that the movement “will not return to control the government ministries and crossings, even if things continue as they are,” with the current stagnation in the reconciliation process.

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