Secret Meeting Between Palestinian Islamic Jihad, Fatah in Gaza
Leaders of the Iran-backed Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) group and Fatah held a rare meeting in the Gaza Strip on Monday. This comes after the leaders of PIJ, Ziyad al-Nakhaleh and Mohammed al-Hindi, met Hassan Nasrallah, the secretary-general of Hezbollah, in Beirut. The differing Palestinian factions, also being mediated by Turkey and Egypt, are working towards reconciliation.
A joint statement by the PIJ and Fatah central committee highlighted that they are strengthening bilateral relations and defending the Palestinian cause. “The two sides have agreed to continue these meetings in a way that contributes to strengthening bilateral relations between the members and leaders of the two movements in confronting the occupation, restoring the unity of our Palestinian people, strengthening their resistance, and preserving the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people.”
The Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, who is also the leader of Fatah, called for an inter-Palestinian meeting in Cairo last month to end their respective differences. Hamas also attended the meeting. They agreed to form a reconciliation committee to continue talks in an effort to end the split. However, the meeting was boycotted by the PIJ, who called on the PA to release its members held prisoner by the Palestine security forces.
Daoud Shehab, Islamic Jihad spokesperson, said last month that 10 of their members were arrested Palestinian security forces following Israel’s raid on the Jenin refugee camp in the northern West Bank. Palestinian armed groups blamed the PA and its security coordination with Israel for the increase in Israeli settler attacks and raids inside West Bank cities and towns.
There has been a noted rise in tensions in the armed factions of Palestine and the PA; plus the emergence of other groups attacking Israeli checkpoints and settlements. Now, meetings are being held to achieve national unity and formation of a new Palestinian unity government.