The spiritual leader of Hamas said Wednesday that his movement will not disarm, agree to a truce or join the new Palestinian government.
Speaking at a Gazan mosque, Sheikh Ahmed Yassin rebuffed incoming Palestinian Prime Minister Ahmed Qurei, who has complained of the "chaos of weapons" in the Palestinian areas, proposed a comprehensive truce with Israel and invited Hamas into his government.
Yassin said Wednesday that Hamas would not disarm voluntarily. "The weapons that our people carry to defend our land and our people, nobody can confiscate them," he said, according to The AP. "We can only talk about this after liberating the land. Taking weapons means surrender and defeat."
Palestinian President Yasser Arafat has recently declared a commitment to reaching a total cease-fire with Israel in a letter given to envoys of the peacemaking “Quartet”.
On his part, Yassin said Hamas would not agree to a truce with Israel. "There is no place to talk about a truce because the enemy is continuing his aggression, killing and settlement activities," Yassin said.
Yassin on Wednesday also renewed his opposition to a broad coalition. "We refuse to be part of any government under occupation," Yassin said. "If this government wants to liberate our land and our sacred places, we will surely welcome it. But if it wants to push us to surrender, we will reject it."
Meanwhile, the Islamic Awkaf in occupied Jerusalem has accused the Israeli authorities of causing the fall down of one of the internal walls in the Aqsa Mosque.
The Awkaf said that the wall, which crumbled Tuesday, could have been repaired but the Israeli authorities refused to allow the Awkaf engineers to maintain it.
The collapsed wall, which is located near the Islamic Museum, was considered relatively new considered to other walls of the Mosque.
Director of the Awkaf, Adnan Al-Husseini, said that the wall collapsed as a result of Israeli interference in his department’s work. He added, “We discovered that the wall was in need of urgent maintenance to avoid its downfall” but the Israeli authorities refused to allow such repairs. (Albawaba.com)