Palestinian Arab leaders to meet over Israel-UAE deal

Joint discussions to be held in Ramallah and Beirut said to aim to develop "a unified Palestinian strategy" against "normalization schemes."


Arab demonstrators protest against Trump peace plan in Hebron, February 28 2020
Arab demonstrators protest against Trump peace plan in Hebron, February 28 2020

Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh was in Beirut on Wednesday for a week-long visit that will see him meet with Palestinian Arab factions over growing cooperation between their enemy Israel and Arab states.

Haniyeh's visit, his first to Lebanon in 27 years, comes after an August 13 announcement that the Jewish state had normalized ties with the United Arab Emirates.

On Thursday, he will meet representatives of other Palestinian Arab factions in rare talks on how to respond to such accords and to a Middle East peace plan announced by Washington this year, said the terror group's representative in Lebanon, Ali Baraka.

The meeting at the "Palestinian embassy" in Beirut will coincide with talks in Ramallah between Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas and representatives of Palestinian Arab factions there.

Thursday's joint discussions in Ramallah and Beirut aim to develop "a unified Palestinian strategy to confront normalization schemes ... and to reject plans to annex the West Bank as well as (Trump's) 'deal of the century'," Baraka told AFP.

The "Palestinian embassy" in Lebanon said that a part of the meeting was organized in Lebanon because most participating officials were residing either in Beirut, Syria or Ramallah.

Baraka justified the choice of Lebanon by saying the country is a supporter of the "Palestinian cause" and has a large population of Palestinian Arab refugees who would be adversely affected by US President Donald Trump's peace plan for the Middle East.

The last time most heads of Palestinian Arab factions held joint talks was in 2013 in Cairo.