Condoleezza Rice had the following exchange on September 15 with the New York Post Editorial Board:
QUESTION: At what point [does] the Administration insist that [Abbas] abide by the requirements to the roadmap, which is not temporary truce agreements but disarming and dismantling terrorist groups?
SECRETARY RICE: Well, we are insisting on it every time we talk to him. But you want him to be successful when he does it. You don’t want him to go to dismantle Hamas and fail. And so we’re trying to increase his capability on the security forces side to create better political conditions on the ground. But there’s no doubt that they’re going to have to dismantle these terrorist organizations. . . .
QUESTION: He has said, I mean, kind of recently, but at some point he has said he did not favor the idea of removing arms by force, you know, arms that are controlled joined by other Palestinians.
SECRETARY RICE: Well, he has said that he believes that they can build a national consensus that there should be one authority and one gun. What he’s not said publicly is what he will do if that fails. But again, I don’t think this is -- I do not think that he is confused about what it would mean for the long-term viability of the Palestinian Authority if Hamas has both political option and a violence option. He can’t live with that either.
UPDATE, in response to Yael’s perceptive comment below: There already is “one gun and one authority” in Hamastan, held by the group after whom the country is named, as today’s march demonstrates.
Thousands of Hamas militants paraded with weapons through the streets of Gaza City on Sunday in the group's largest show of force in years, defying Palestinian efforts to ban public arms displays. . . .
Hamas leaders vowed to continue fighting Israel as tens of thousands cheered and waved the group's green flags and masked gunmen hoisted assault rifles, rockets and anti-tank missiles.
The demonstration, which Hamas called its largest armed protest since its founding in the late 1980s, openly defied Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas who vowed in a speech last Tuesday he would not tolerate the "chaos of weapons".
Abbas’srole is not to disarm them (he might look down at his papers, though). His role is to receive land, money, prisoners, greenhouses, and other concessions from a credulous world. Weakness is his strength, and also his strategy -- something he adopted a long time ago. Yael’s post today shows what’s coming next.