["The PLO commits itself to the Middle East peace process, and to a peaceful
resolution of the conflict between the two sides and declares that all
outstanding issues relating to permanent status will be resolved through
negotiations...the PLO renounces the use of terrorism and other acts of
violence and will assume responsibility over all PLO elements and personnel
in order to assure their compliance, prevent violations and discipline
Yasser Arafat's 9 September 1993 letter to Prime Minister Rabin
Palestinian Authority 'won't disarm militants'
Mon Jun 13, 2005 1:08 PM ET
By Mohammed Assadi
RAMALLAH, West Bank (Reuters) - The Palestinian Authority will not disarm
militants until Israel ends its occupation of the West Bank and Gaza as
stated in a U.S.-backed peace plan, Foreign Minister Nasser al-Kidwa said on
"Under international law, the Palestinian people have the right to resist
this occupation and defend themselves," Kidwa, the former Palestinian envoy
to the United Nations, told Reuters in an interview.
"When occupation ends, it becomes a different matter. It would have to come
to a national position to start disarming everybody, everybody but the
security apparatus," he said, referring to Palestinian Authority security
A spokesman for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, who declared a
ceasefire with Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon in
February, could not be reached for comment on whether the Palestinian leader
agreed with Kidwa's remarks.
Israeli Vice Prime Minister Ehud Olmert had said in response to similar
statements Kidwa made on Palestinian television that the Palestinian
government's refusal to disarm militants was "akin to dropping a cluster
bomb" on diplomatic negotiations.
Israel has said it would not renew talks on a permanent peace deal until
Abbas reins in gunmen and dismantles their organizations as dictated by a
U.S.-backed peace "road map."
The "road map" says the Palestinian leadership must "undertake visible
efforts on the ground to arrest, disrupt and restrain" gunmen who plan
anti-Israeli attacks, confiscate illegal weapons and dismantle militant
It also calls for Israel to pull out of the West Bank and Gaza, land it
occupied in the 1967 Middle East War, freeze construction in Jewish
settlements and for the formation of an independent Palestinian state.
Kidwa said while the Palestinian Authority would not disarm gunmen, it would
crack down on militants planning anti-Israeli attacks by closing off
weapon-smuggling tunnels and munitions foundries.
"These are things we are doing (to crack down on gunmen) and will continue
to do," he said.
Gaza militants have stepped up mortar bomb and rocket attacks against
Israelis in recent days and have threatened to break a de facto truce they
accepted in March, saying Israel had not respected its part in it by its
recent killings of gunmen.
"Palestinian factions view very seriously the Israeli violations and we
regard them as a destruction to the (truce) agreement," said top Islamic
Jihad leader Mohammad al-Hindi.
Kidwa said he believed the groups would not resume violence.
(Additional reporting by Nidal al-Mughrabi in Gaza)