The leaders of Palestinian factions are scheduled to hold a meeting today via video conference to discuss ways of thwarting Israeli and US “conspiracies” against the Palestinians and the recent normalization agreement between Israel and the United Arab Emirates.
The meeting will be held under the chairmanship of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in his capacity as chairman of the ruling Fatah faction.
Leaders of Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad and other factions based in Lebanon are expected to participate in the meeting, the first of its kind since 2013, when the faction leaders met in Egypt.
Leaders of the Palestinian factions in the West Bank have been invited to Abbas’s office in Ramallah to join the video conference. The leaders of Palestinian factions abroad will join the meeting from the PA embassy in Beirut.
“The main purpose of the meeting is to launch important steps towards achieving [Palestinian] national unity and foiling the annexation conspiracy, apartheid, settlement and the Judaization of Jerusalem,” said Nabil Abu Rudaineh, spokesman for the PA presidency. “The meeting itself constitutes a clear message to all that the Palestinian people and their holy sites are bigger than all the conspiracies.”
The annexation plan refers to Israel’s intention to apply its sovereignty to portions of the West Bank. The move has been suspended in accordance with the normalization agreement that was announced last month between Israel and the UAE.
Abu Rudaineh added that the meeting would also send a “powerful and clear message” to all about the need to “protect the foundations that will lead to the establishment of a Palestinian state on the 1967 borders with east Jerusalem as its capital,” and that the Palestinians continue to adhere to the Arab Peace Initiative in order to thwart free normalization between the Arab countries and Israel.
The 2002 Arab Peace Initiative states that the Arab countries would normalize their relations with Israel only after the establishment of an independent Palestinian state and a full Israeli withdrawal to the pre-1967 armistice lines.
Abu Rudaineh said that Palestinian unity and harmony will foil schemes “targeting our lands and holy sites.”
Referring to the Israel-UAE accord, he said: “No agreement will pass without the consent of the Palestinian people and their leadership. The only way to achieve security and stability is through the PLO, the sole representative of the Palestinians under the leadership of President Mahmoud Abbas.”
PLO secretary-general Saeb Erekat said that Thursday’s meeting of the leaders of Palestinian factions “shows that we are facing a new phase in confronting the UAE-US-Israeli agreement that seeks to impose the ‘Deal of the Century,’” referencing US President Donald Trump’s “Peace to Prosperity” vision for solving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
The meeting, Erekat added, shows that the Palestinians and all their factions and representatives “are prepared to face all challenges.” He again accused the UAE of stabbing the Palestinians in the back with a “poisonous dagger,” but urged Palestinians not to burn UAE flags and other symbols of the Gulf state.
Ahmed Majdalani, a senior PLO official, said the meeting aims to reach agreement among the Palestinian factions on a national program to confront the Trump peace plan, Israel’s “annexation” scheme and normalization between Israel and some Arab countries, as well as ending the dispute between Fatah and Hamas.
Qais Abdel Karim, a representative of the PLO’s Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine, said that Thursday’s meeting was extremely important because it would pave the way for achieving Palestinian unity “at a time when the Palestinians are facing conspiracies and dangers.”
Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh, who arrived in Beirut earlier this week, is also scheduled to participate in the meeting. Haniyeh, who is currently based in Doha, Qatar, will hold a series of meetings with Lebanese officials during his visit to Beirut.
It was Haniyeh’s first visit to Lebanon since he and dozens of Hamas members were deported by Israel 27 years ago.
On Tuesday, some reports suggested that the Lebanese authorities were unhappy about the arrival of Haniyeh and other Palestinian faction leaders in Beirut, whose residents are still coping with the repercussions of the massive explosion in the city’s seaport last month.
Hamas and other Palestinian factions said they also want the participants to discuss plans to reform and reconstruct the PLO and the possibility of holding long-overdue presidential and parliamentary elections. In addition, they are demanding that Abbas renounce all agreements signed between the PLO and Israel, including the Oslo Accords.