Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh held a “thorough and frank” meeting in Ankara, Turkey, Hussam Badran, member of the Hamas political bureau, announced on Wednesday.
After the meeting, which apparently took place on Tuesday night, Abbas and Haniyeh were invited to a closed meeting on Wednesday with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in his presidential palace, the Turkish Anadolu news agency reported, without providing further details.
It was the first meeting between Abbas and Haniyeh since July 2022, when the two met in Algeria during the country’s independence day celebrations. Then, the two men also talked about achieving unity, but failed to make any progress in this regard.
The meeting came ahead of a conference of leaders of several Palestinian factions, scheduled to be held on July 30 in the Egyptian capital of Cairo. Hamas has confirmed that it will attend the conference.
Abbas invited the faction leaders to the Cairo parley during the large-scale Israeli security operation in Jenin Refugee Camp earlier this month. The purpose of the meeting is to discuss ways of achieving Palestinian national unity and a “comprehensive vision” toward the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
The Egyptians have expressed full backing for Abbas’s efforts to end the Fatah-Hamas rivalry and form a Palestinian unity government.
What encouraged this meeting?
The Abbas-Haniyeh meeting was held under pressure from Turkey and Qatar, according to Palestinian sources. In the past, the two countries made unsuccessful attempts to achieve “reconciliation” between the rival parties.
Abbas’s Fatah faction and Hamas have been at loggerheads since 2006, when the Islamist movement won the Palestinian parliamentary election. The dispute reached its peak in 2007, when Hamas seized control of the entire Gaza Strip after toppling the Palestinian Authority.
Last week, a senior Palestinian official in Ramallah said Abbas was seeking to persuade Hamas and other Palestinian factions to become part of a new Palestinian unity government that would work to end the split between the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
Badran said Abbas and Haniyeh discussed “ways of preparing the atmosphere” for the planned meeting of the faction leaders in Cairo.
Badran added that the meeting, which was attended by officials from the Palestinian Authority and Hamas, “witnessed a frank and thorough discussion and came in the context of Hamas’s consultations with various Palestinian factions in preparation for the Cairo conference.”
According to the Hamas official, the two sides agreed on the need to “unite national efforts to confront the dangers facing the Palestinian cause, especially in the West Bank and Jerusalem, in light of the extremist Zionist projects that seek to devour the land, expand settlements and seize control of the resources of the Palestinian people.”
Hamas affirmed during the meeting that “the comprehensive resistance is the most effective way to confront the occupation and the dangers facing the Palestinian cause,” Badran said.
After meeting with Erdogan on Tuesday, Abbas said the Palestinians “are facing an extreme right-wing Israeli government that seeks with all its might to destroy what remains of the foundations of the political process through deliberate and racist colonial practices.”
Abbas said he was working to “achieve the unity of the Palestinian land and people” through the upcoming conference in Cairo. He revealed that the Palestinians have decided to name a square in Ramallah after Erdogan “in appreciation of his big and important role” in supporting the Palestinians.