Abbas's Gamble: Pulling a Foe into Palestinian Politics

(New York Times) Steven Erlanger - In their meeting on Thursday, Mr. Bush is expected to tell Mr. Abbas that bringing Hamas into politics will work only if he moves against the military wing to disarm it and ensure that the PA has a clear monopoly on weapons and force, a senior American official said. "The U.S. would have to be convinced either that Hamas is not a terrorist organization, or that they are dismantled," the official said. "We don't care about religious people with views we dislike sitting in parliament. But we can't accept militant terrorism brought into politics." "Abu Mazen has to take the guns away from the street - not necessarily seize them from houses," the official added. The PA has enough weaponry now "to at least get started," the official said, relaying the judgment of Lt. Gen. William Ward, the American security coordinator for the Palestinians. The PA police in Gaza recently stopped a truck full of locally made Kassam rockets produced by Hamas, American and Israeli officials said, but did not confiscate them. "It's in Hamas's interests to keep Gaza quiet and even make a success of Gaza," said the senior American official. "But if Hamas believes that Israel can't deal with casualties, and that it won the war for Gaza, why shouldn't it transfer resistance to the West Bank?"

2005-05-26 00:00:00

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