(JNS.org) As the Palestinian terror group Hamas’s decade-long rule of the Gaza Strip ends this Friday amid a power transfer to the Palestinian Authority (PA), Hamas has defied calls to disarm and has vowed to move its battle against the Jewish state to Judea and Samaria.
“These weapons will not be touched. It's not for debate or talks," Khalil al-Hayya, a senior Hamas official, told reporters in Gaza this week.
"These weapons will clearly move to the West Bank to battle the [Israeli] occupation there. It's our right to fight the occupation until it ends," he said.
Hayya’s comments came as the first concrete steps towards transferring control of Gaza to the PA were initiated earlier this month within the framework of a new Palestinian unity deal.
On Nov. 1, Hamas officially handed over administrative control of Gaza’s Rafah border crossing with Egypt to the PA.
Egypt’s government has played a central role in mediating the recent reconciliation pact between the rival Palestinian factions.
High-ranking Egyptian Intelligence Services official Gen. Hamam Abu Zeid and other Egyptian government representatives visited Gaza this week to oversee the next steps in the Palestinian power transfer.
The Palestinian unity deal, announced in October, will see the PA-controlling Fatah party end sanctions on Hamas in return for allowing the PA to regain full control of Gaza.
The Israeli government reacted to the unity deal by calling for Hamas to disarm and recognize Israel.