Some Palestinian militants celebrated the withdrawal of the last Israeli troops and settlers from Gaza this week by torching abandoned synagogues and looting appliances. Meanwhile, armed militias representing various Palestinian factions, prominent among them Hamas, patrolled the ruins of the former settlements. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said that the first order of business would be to disarm such militant groups. “There is no Israeli presence in Gaza, so carrying arms in the streets and having militias isn’t justified,” said Abbas’ spokesman, Rafiq Husseini. But Hamas official Mahmoud Zahar said it was his group’s violent resistance that forced Israel out of Gaza. The next step, he said, is “an effective armed resistance in the West Bank.”
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