Palestinian factions’ meeting in Egypt first step to complete dialogue, end division: Abbas

Ahram Online , AFP , Sunday 30 Jul 2023

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas hailed Sunday’s meeting of the Palestinian factions’ general secretaries in Egypt as a “first and important step” toward dialogue and unity among the factions.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas speaks during the meeting of the Palestinian factions general secretaries in Egypt s New Alamein, 30 July 2023. WAFA


Abbas made the remarks as he read out the final communique of the meeting that he chaired in northern Egypt’s New Alamein City with the participation of several Palestinian factions.

Abbas called for the factions to form “a committee that will be charged with completing the dialogue on the different files and issues discussed today, with the aim of ending the division and achieving Palestinian national unity.”

“I call for this committee to start work immediately and brief us on the agreements and recommendations that it reaches,” Abbas said.

The Palestinian leader thanked Egypt for hosting the meeting, praising President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi’s keen support for Palestinian unity.

“I hope that we may have another meeting soon on the soil of the sisterly Arab Republic of Egypt,” stated Abbas.

Abbas thanked the Palestinian factions for their “positive efforts to reach a comprehensive national agreement that restores the well-deserved esteem of our cause.”

The president also thanked Algeria, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Jordan, Turkey, Russia and China for their efforts to end the disunity among Palestinians.

"The coup d'etat and the division that befell us after... must end," said Abbas during Sunday's talks, referring to clashes between Hamas and Fatah that followed the 2006 vote, AFP reported.

"We must return to a single state, a single system, a single law and a single legitimate army," asserted the Palestinian leader.

Delegations from various Palestinian factions, including Hamas, Fatah, and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), attended the meeting, however, some were absent.

Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), the Vanguard for the Popular Liberation War – Lightning Forces, and a group from the PFLP refused to participate in the meeting over the Palestinian authority’s refusal to release their arrested resistance members.

During the talks, Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh called for Abbas to end "political arrests" and "security collaboration" with Israel, several representatives in attendance told AFP.

With PIJ and two other factions absent, Sunday's meeting was "incomplete", Haniyeh said.

The Hamas leader called for "the restructuring of the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO)", an umbrella institution promoting Palestinian statehood. The body includes most Palestinian factions, but not Hamas or PIJ.

The PLO is "the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people", said Abbas.

The Palestinian president has called for "peaceful popular resistance", in contrast to Haniyeh's advocacy for "comprehensive resistance".

The Hamas leader also said that "a new, inclusive parliament must be formed on the basis of free democratic elections."

Both Fatah and Hamas, in separate statements, said that they are seeking to unify the Palestinian position and reach a consensus on a unified national strategic plan to confront the occupation.

The factions' meeting comes amid a resurgence of violence in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and particularly in the West Bank, which Israel has occupied since 1967.

Violence linked to the conflict has killed at least 203 Palestinians, 27 Israelis, one Ukrainian and one Italian this year, according to an AFP tally compiled from official sources from both sides.

Abbas called the meeting in response to the two-day Israeli incursion into Jenin and its refugee camp earlier in July, which resulted in the loss of 13 Palestinian lives and left over 100 others injured.

On Sunday, Abbas held a meeting with the Head of the Egyptian General Intelligence Service (GIS) Abbas Kamel, where they discussed recent developments amid Israeli aggression against the Palestinian lands, people, and their sanctities, said the Palestinian Embassy in Cairo in a statement.

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