I'm all for citizens carrying weapons, but I don't get the idea that the sudden influx of weapons from Egypt into the Gaza Strip is motivated by self-defense.

RAFAH, Gaza Strip - Palestinian gunrunners smuggled hundreds of assault rifles and pistols across the Egyptian frontier into Gaza, dealers and border officials told The Associated Press on Wednesday. The influx confirmed Israeli fears about giving up border control and could further destabilize Gaza.

Black market prices for weapons dropped sharply, with AK-47 assault rifles nearly cut in half to $1,300 and even steeper reductions for handguns.

News of the smuggling came as Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas tried to impose order following the Israeli troop withdrawal from Gaza this week. Militant groups scoffed at a new Palestinian Authority demand that they disband after parliamentary elections in January, saying they would not surrender weapons.

Without Israeli muscle, the Palestinian Authority will quickly be reduced to impotence, destroyed, or dominated by "militant" groups (i.e., terrorists like Hamas).

Abbas' top aide, Rafiq Husseini, outlined what he said was a new security plan.

"Our plan is that ... by the (January) election, the Palestinian street will be cleaned of militias and illegal weapons," he said.

Husseini said that starting next week, militants in the ruling
Fatah movement would be absorbed into security forces. Abbas would insist that all groups participating in the election disarm after the vote.

Hamas leader Mahmoud Zahar rejected that. "We will not allow for even one gun to be taken away from us," he said. "Why should we give up our weapons while Israel still threatens our borders?"

Israel will be seen to be "threatening" as long as the Jewish nation exists, no matter how many concessions they make.



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