Visiting from Gaza, Hamas chief makes historic trip to Lebanon's largest Palestinian camp

Visiting from Gaza, Hamas chief makes historic trip to Lebanon's largest Palestinian camp
Hamas Chief Ismail Haniyeh was warmly received by Palestinian refugees in the Ein El-Hilweh refugee camp.
3 min read
07 September, 2020
Haniyeh was greeted warmly in Ain El Helwe [Twitter]
In his first visit to Lebanon in 27 years, Hamas politburo chief Ismail Haniyeh insisted on the Palestinian right to return as he was warmly greeted in the Ein El-Hilweh refugee camp. 

"We will not accept naturalisation, immigration to any other country and the Deal of the Century will not be achieved," Haniyeh said, according to Lebanese news outlet Elnashra.

"We will be guests in Lebanon until we manage to return to our country," Haniyeh said.

Haniyeh received a parade-like welcome to the camp and was carried by the refugees around the neighbourhood.

Haniyeh also called for the formation of a national unity government to end all political divisions within Palestine. 

In an interview with Palestine TV from Beirut, Haniyeh said that "a government of national unity in the West Bank and Gaza Strip is carrying out three tasks that could be a gateway to ending the Palestinian division".

Haniyeh explained plans to unify Palestinian Authority institutions in the West Bank and Gaza and preparations for parliamentary and presidential elections. 

Haniyeh added that the third task of the unity government is related to "ending the Israeli siege imposed on the Gaza Strip and confronting the occupation and its plans in the occupied West Bank".

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"I think forming a unity government is easy, because we have many agreements that have been talked about on this issue," Haniyeh said.

He added that a committee related to investigating how to end the divisions that have emerged during a meeting held simultaneously in the Palestinian city of Ramallah and the Lebanese capital of Beirut, on Thursday.

During the meeting, the leaders of the factions agreed on the necessity of "achieving national unity and rearranging the internal structures to address the challenges and conspiracies facing the Palestinian cause".

Haniyeh said that the meeting came at a "delicate stage". 

"One of the goals of the meeting is to work to save the national project, to fortify the Palestinian house and not to allow it to be penetrated by any party," he said

He also called for a Palestinian initiative to counter the Israeli-American plans to "target Jerusalem", echoing stark warnings by the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem in June.

"The Palestinian people are the introduction to the bridge to our nation in preserving Jerusalem and confronting Israeli plans, which aim to remove Jerusalem from its Palestinian, Arab, Islamic, Christian and humanitarian surroundings," he said. 

Hamas and Hezbollah meet

Haniyeh on Sunday met with Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of Lebanon's Hezbollah, to discuss diplomatic normalisation between Israel and Arab countries.

They discussed "political and military developments in Palestine, Lebanon and the region" and "the dangers to the Palestinian cause" including "Arab plans for normalisation" with Israel, Al-Manar said.

The meeting comes after the 13 August announcement that the Israel and the UAE agreed to normalise ties.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said his country is in talks with other Arab and Muslim leaders to normalise relations.

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