A week after the iconic meet between Arab and Israeli delegates in the UAE brokered by the US, Leaders of Lebanon’s Hezbollah movement and the Palestinian Hamas group met to discuss diplomatic normalization between Israel and Arab countries.
On Sunday, Hamas chief Ismail Haniya was welcomed at Ain al-Helweh, Lebanon’s largest Palestinian refugee camp. Hezbollah-run Al-Manar television reported earlier that Hassan Nasrallah, head of the Iran-backed Shia Hezbollah movement, and Haniya stressed the “stability” of the “axis of resistance” against Israel. Haniya, who heads the political bureau of Hamas, the movement that controls the Gaza Strip, arrived in Ain al-Helweh under the protection of Hamas members and camp guards.
The leader arrived in Lebanon on Wednesday, on his first visit to the country in nearly 30 years, for direct and video-conference talks with other Palestinian groups that oppose Israel’s diplomatic initiative.
According to reports, the leaders discussed “political and military developments in Palestine, Lebanon and the region” and “the dangers to the Palestinian cause” that have been posed recently, including “Arab plans for normalization”. The meeting of the two outfit leaders comes after the Augst 13 announcement that the UAE and Israel have agreed to normalize ties, with mediation by the US convoy, led by Jared Kushner. The aim of the diplomatic drive from the USA’s standpoint can be described as an underlying aim to boost a regional alliance against Iran.
After the meet between the delegates from the two nations in the last week of August, Palestinians condemned the event as a “stab in the back” as the Arabs were potentially their best chance at acquiring their own state. Furthermore, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Kushner have claimed and indicated that Isreal is in talks with other Arab and Muslim leaders now about normalizing relations, following the deals with the UAE and, decades ago, Egypt and Jordan.
In his address at Sidon, Haniya praised his movement’s military capacity and shrugged off the UAE-Israel normalization deal. “Not long ago, our rockets only reached meters from Gaza’s borders. Today, the resistance in Gaza possesses rockets that can reach Tel Aviv and beyond Tel Aviv,” he said. As for normalization between Israel and Arab countries, that “does not represent the people, neither their conscience nor their history nor their heritage”, Haniya said, quoted in a Hamas statement.