In the run-up to a significant assembly of Palestinian factions in Cairo this Sunday, leaders of Fatah and Hamas are said to have convened in Turkey, according to multiple sources.
This alleged gathering aligns with the visit of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to Turkey. Ismail Haniyeh and his deputy Saleh Al Arouri, leading the Hamas delegation, are rumoured to have engaged in discussions with Mr Abbas in Ankara this Tuesday, based on information provided to Al Araby Al Jadeed.
Public acknowledgment of such a meeting remains absent from both Fatah and Hamas. Requests for comment to a Hamas official have remained unanswered at the time of print.
Post meeting with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, President Abbas acknowledged ongoing endeavours to consolidate unity within the Palestinian population and territory.
Abbas confirmed that Fatah has extended invitations to heads of Palestinian factions for a crucial meeting in Cairo on Sunday, the objective being “to restore national unity and develop a national programme to address the challenges facing the Palestinian people and land”.
However, Ziyad Al Nakhalah, Secretary-General of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad militant group, declared their intention to withdraw from the Sunday gathering in the Egyptian capital.
A public encounter between the leaders of Fatah and Hamas last transpired in Algeria in June 2022, marking the first occasion in over five years.
For more than a decade and a half, Palestinian politics have remained in a state of impasse. The militant group Hamas, ruling Gaza, and Fatah, were embroiled in an internal struggle for control of the Palestinian Authority, resulting in Abbas’ party being ejected from the Gaza Strip. Previous reunification attempts have proven unsuccessful, and Palestinians have been denied the opportunity to vote for their leadership since 2006.
President Erdogan and President Abbas conducted in-depth discussions at the presidential complex in Ankara on Tuesday, focussing on relations, the Palestine-Israel conflict, and other international and regional developments.
Erdogan emphasised post-meeting that “we cannot tolerate any acts attempting to change the historical status quo of holy places, particularly the Al Aqsa Mosque. The unity and reconciliation of the Palestinians are key elements in this process.”
A scheduled visit by Benjamin Netanyahu to Turkey this week has been postponed due to the Israeli Prime Minister undergoing an unplanned surgery over the weekend.
Image Credit: European External Action Service