Abbas has voiced concerns of Palestinian civil war should he use force to disarm gunmen and in recent remarks U.S. President George W. Bush has steered clear of demanding he do so.
But Palestinian Interior Minister Nasser Youssef, who has wide security powers, has been hammering home a message that weapons militants have paraded through the streets in the past 4-1/2 years of fighting with Israel will no longer be tolerated.
"In the Gaza Strip after the Israelis leave ... there can be no arms but that of the (Palestinian Authority) and the security institutions," Youssef said on Sunday.
Hamas, which advocates Israel's destruction but has signed on, at least until the end of the year, to a truce Abbas brokered with Israel last February, said the issue was not up for discussion.
Youssef, meanwhile, renewed an invitation to gunmen to join the security forces after the Israeli pullout, promising to "put them in the positions they deserve".
The positions they deserve? Doesn't it sound like the PA Interior Minister has a great and abiding respect for Hamas, and is just so anxious for their seasoned terrorists to join the PA police?
Somehow, the author of the Reuters article (the always entertaining apologist for terror, Nidal al-Mughrabi) doen't notice the utter incongruity of these two statements from the same Palestinian official. But, hey, Reuters reporters on the Palestinian beat haven't exactly been known to ask the tough questions.
In Reutersvillle and the rest of La-La-Medialand, the idea of a terror organization trading in their AK-47s for the AK-47s of a quasi-official army-in-training, as a crucial step on the "roadmap to peace", makes perfect sense.