Islamic Jihad, Hamas leaders meet in Beirut in effort to strengthen ties

A Hamas delegation led by deputy head of Hamas' politburo, Saleh al-Arouri, met with PIJ secretary-general Ziyad al-Nakhala in the latter's offices in Beirut.

Demonstrators hold Palestinian flags during a protest marking the 71st anniversary of the 'Nakba', or catastrophe, when hundreds of thousands fled or were forced from their homes in the war surrounding Israel's independence in 1948, near the Israel-Gaza border fence, in the southern Gaza Strip May 1 (photo credit: IBRAHEEM ABU MUSTAFA / REUTERS)
Demonstrators hold Palestinian flags during a protest marking the 71st anniversary of the 'Nakba', or catastrophe, when hundreds of thousands fled or were forced from their homes in the war surrounding Israel's independence in 1948, near the Israel-Gaza border fence, in the southern Gaza Strip May 1
(photo credit: IBRAHEEM ABU MUSTAFA / REUTERS)

The leaders of Palestinian terror groups Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) met in the Lebanese capital on Friday as part of continued efforts to display a united front in the Gaza Strip in the aftermath of Operation Breaking Dawn.

A Hamas delegation led by deputy head of Hamas' politburo, Saleh al-Arouri, met with PIJ secretary-general Ziyad al-Nakhala in the latter's offices in Beirut.

Hamas stayed out of the Islamic Jihad's confrontation with Israel earlier this month, meaning already tense relations between the two terrorist organizations have been further strained by Hamas' lack of action during the three-day operation.

In addition to the lack of coordination during the operation, a Hamas terrorist was accidentally killed by a misfired Islamic Jihad rocket, The Jerusalem Post reported last week, according to information released by Hamas and Palestinian media during the conflict, together with corroborating statements made on Sunday by the IDF Spokesperson's Unit.

Hamas, PIJ: Tactical disagreements don't affect relations

In a statement released by Hamas, it was said the two groups agreed that "any disagreement over a tactical approach would never affect their long-standing and strategic relationship."

Prior to an Egyptian-brokered ceasefire being agreed between Israel and Islamic Jihad, the Post reported that Hamas leaders were exerting pressure on the organization to agree to a truce.

A MAN HOLDS a Hamas flag as he stands next to others atop a building near al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem’s Old City on Monday. (credit: AMMAR AWAD/REUTERS)A MAN HOLDS a Hamas flag as he stands next to others atop a building near al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem’s Old City on Monday. (credit: AMMAR AWAD/REUTERS)
In a vow to "liberate Palestine and Palestinian holy sites," the terror groups agreed to strengthen cooperation and relations within the Gaza Strip and the West Bank in "a way that serves the Palestinian people." Despite vows made by Hamas and PIJ officials, more Gazan civilians were killed by failed Islamic Jihad rockets than by Israeli airstrikes during Operation Breaking Dawn.
Amid recent calls by Palestinians for major reforms and changes in the Palestinian political system and institutions, Hamas and PIJ reaffirmed their intentions to form a new 'National Council' as a means of achieving "true Palestinian unity."

Middle East developments discussed in PIJ-Hamas summit

Also discussed during the meeting were the latest developments in the Arab world and the Middle East, as well as Israel's "attempts to undermine the growing Palestinian resistance," according to Hamas.

The groups thanked the Islamic Republic of Iran, currently locked in indirect nuclear negotiations with the United States, and Lebanese terror organization Hezbollah for "supporting Palestinian resistance."
Hamas' delegation to Beirut included politburo members Zaher Jabarin and Khalil al-Hayya. In the meeting along with PIJ's al-Nakhala were Akram al-Ajouri and Abdel Aziz Minawi, both members of PIJ's politburo, among other officials.