Hamas and other Palestinian terrorist groups have been holding meetings in Lebanon over the past few days to discuss the “dangers” of the impending emergence of a security alliance between Israel and some Arab countries, including Saudi Arabia.
The proposed alliance, whose chief goal is to confront Iranian threats and “expansionist” schemes, is expected to be at the top of US President Joe Biden’s agenda during his visit to Israel and Saudi Arabia next month.
Military presence between Israel and Gulf states
In addition to Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) and other Palestinian groups, as well as the Iranian-backed Lebanese Hezbollah are also concerned about the new military build-up and growing security cooperation between Israel and the Gulf States.
Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh, who is based in Qatar, arrived in Lebanon last week for talks with Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah and leaders of several Palestinian terrorist groups about the emerging Israeli-Arab alliance and Biden’s upcoming visit.
Haniyeh and Nasrallah agreed on the need to strengthen the “axis of resistance” in the region ahead of Biden’s visit, and also expressed strong opposition to the normalization of relations between Israel and the Arab countries.
Hamas, PIJ, PFLP and Hezbollah officials were quoted as saying the Middle East was facing a “dangerous Zionist-American conspiracy” aimed at “liquidating” the Palestinian issue and undermining the Palestinian and Lebanese “resistance” against Israel.
Haniyeh met in Beirut on Monday night with the leaders of PIJ, PFLP and other Lebanon-based terrorist groups to discuss the latest developments in the region on the eve of Biden’s visit.
The groups said after the meeting that they discussed “the mechanisms of action to confront the dangers facing the Palestinian issue at various levels.”
Since Haniyeh’s arrival in Lebanon, Hamas and the Palestinian “resistance” groups have stepped up their threats against Israel.
Back and forth: normalizing relations with Israel
PFLP Deputy Secretary-General Jamil Mezher called for increasing efforts to “thwart Zionist schemes” against the Palestinians and Jerusalem. He said the leaders of the terrorist groups “reviewed the efforts made by the US administration to protect the Zionist entity and achieve security for it, and enable it to penetrate the region at the expense of our national rights and our Arab and Islamic peoples.”
Mezher was referring to unconfirmed reports that Saudi Arabia was moving closer toward normalizing relations with Israel. He added that the terrorist leaders “affirmed their rejection of normalization or any alliances that allow the Zionist entity to threaten Arab and Islamic countries.”
EARLIER THIS WEEK, the National and Islamic Forces, an alliance of various Palestinian factions in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, condemned the “willingness” of some Arab countries to join a Middle Eastern military consortium that brings them together with Israel.
“The goal of these alliances is not to protect the security of the Arab countries, but rather to control and dominate the security of the region and push Arab countries into proxy wars and conflicts that drain the nation’s capabilities and resources and threaten their security and stability,” the factions claimed.
They expressed their rejection of all projects aimed at “integrating” Israel into the Arab region and normalizing with it, and also rejected so-called economic peace projects “aimed at liquidating and isolating the Palestinian cause in preparation for enabling the occupation entity to expel the Palestinian people from their land and completing the project of Judaizing the Arab Christian and Islamic holy sites.”
The factions urged all Arabs to reject any alliance with Israel.
“Biden’s visit to the region does not carry anything new, and will not provide any just solutions to the Palestinian issue,” they added. “The current US administration did not differ much from the previous administration, but rather implements the same policies.”
During his visit to Lebanon, Haniyeh announced that the Gaza Strip was “preparing for a strategic battle with the Zionist entity.” He and other Hamas representatives also called for increasing attacks against Israel, especially in Jerusalem and the West Bank.
Senior Hamas official Khalil al-Haya told the Hezbollah-affiliated newspaper Al-Akhbar that his group has a “clear strategy” to engage Israel.
“Gaza has no fear, and the resistance is ready in the event that a real battle takes place,” Haya said. “Israel will be surprised. We are preparing the ground for the battle to be in the heart of the Zionist entity. The battle should be in Jerusalem, the West Bank and the 1948 territories. It is important to move the battle to the heart of the Zionist entity.”
The Hamas official revealed that the groups had managed to establish a “structure for resistance” in the West Bank, a reference to terrorist cells operating there.
Haya claimed that the proposed Israeli-Arab security alliance would target Iran and its terrorist proxies in the Middle East.
“Our reading of the situation says that we must confront the normalization that has shifted from political and economic normalization to the massive integration of Israel into the region,” he said. “We say it publicly: there must be an alliance in the region that brings together everyone who sees Israel as a threat, everyone who sees America as an enemy of the region, and everyone who sees that the alliance formed by America in the region is a danger to the peoples of the region.”