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Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Palestinians show no interest in disarming. World ignores.

So, once again we see that a period of relative peace has no relationship with real peace, in the minds of the terrorists and their supporters. But such is the power of wishful thinking that the Israeli and Western leadership can willfully ignore the explicit statements of their "peace partners", point to minor diplomatic victories like an Egyptian ambassador to Israel, and whistle past the graveyard.

I wonder whether we'll see any "peace" groups condemn the unambiguous words of war from the mouths of these Palestinian leaders?

Palestinian militant groups, weakened by more than four years of fighting against Israel, are capitalising on the relative calm of an informal truce to strengthen their political and military clout.

Representatives of the 13 main Palestinian factions agreed last Thursday to observe a period of calm until the end of the year at talks in Cairo, provided Israel ends all forms of aggression and releases prisoners.

What Palestinian representatives in Cairo did not sanction was an end to armed resistance nor the dismantling of armed factions as demanded by Israel.

"This calm is not a gift to the occupation. We will work on and prepare ourselves. Disbanding the armed wing of Hamas is absolutely out of the question," said Abu Ubada, spokesman for the Ezzedin al-Qassam Brigades.

The faction agreed to extend the informal truce, not out of love for Israel but "to put Palestinian affairs in order and to ensure a period of calm conducive to holding elections", he said.

Palestinian parliamentary elections are scheduled for July and Hamas has declared its intention to contest the legislative ballot for the first time.

Abu Ubada refused to countenance any idea of Palestinian disarmament.

"Our rifles are aimed at the occupiers. Weapons that have to be collected up will be used to unleash chaos," he added.

A spokesman for Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, loosely affiliated to the mainstream Fatah party, said its militants would integrate into Palestinian Authority security forces without sacrificing the "resistance".

"A large number of our fighters already belong to the security services. Joining the security services does not at all signify the end of resistance against the occupation," said the spokesman, calling himself Abu Qussay.

He cautioned Israel against violating the period of calm.

"We are ready to fight back at any moment," the Al-Aqsa spokesman warned. "Weapons will remain in the hands of the resistance and we will direct them only against the Israeli enemy."

Abu al-Walid from the leadership of Al-Quds Brigades, the armed wing of Islamic Jihad, said the faction aimed to take advantage of the lull "to prepare our military apparatus to confront any eventuality".

Support for the calm depends on concessions from Israel, particularly over its withdrawal from Gaza, the release of the more than 7,000 Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli jails and an end to aggression, he stressed.