Tag Archives: Hamas

Just in: Hamas, Hezbollah chiefs meet to discuss UAE-Israeli ties

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Meeting comes after August’s agreement between Israel and the United Arab Emirates to normalise diplomatic relations.

Leaders of Lebanon’s Hezbollah movement and the Palestinian Hamas group met to discuss diplomatic normalisation between Israel and Arab countries, the movement said.

On Sunday, Hamas chief Ismail Haniya was given a hero’s welcome 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.

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.

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The meeting comes after an August 13 announcement that Israel and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) have agreed to normalise ties.

While the United States-backed diplomatic drive aims to boost a regional alliance against Iran, Palestinians have condemned it as a “stab in the back” as they remain under occupation and do not have their own state.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said his country is in talks with other Arab and Muslim leaders now about normalising relations, following the deals with the UAE and, decades ago, Egypt and Jordan.

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First visit in 30 years
Haniya 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.

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.

Head of Hamas Ismail Haniya, left, and Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah meet in Beirut, Lebanon [Hezbollah Press Office/Anadolu]

Before a cheering crowd of hundreds in Ain al-Helweh, near the southern coastal city of Sidon, including refugees who travelled to see him from other camps, Haniya praised his movement’s military capacity and shrugged off the UAE-Israel normalisation deal.

“Not long ago, our rockets only reached [targets] metres from Gaza’s borders. Today, the resistance in Gaza possesses rockets that can reach Tel Aviv and beyond Tel Aviv,” he said.

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As for normalisation 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.

Israel’s military has in recent weeks targeted Hamas in the Gaza Strip and what it says have been Hezbollah gunmen along its northern border with Lebanon.

It also regularly launches air attacks in war-torn Syria against what it says are Hezbollah and other pro-Iranian fighters fighting on the side of President Bashar al-Assad’s regime.

Nasrallah has been living in secret locations since Hezbollah’s devastating 2006 war with Israel and only makes rare public appearances. He said in 2014 that he often changes his place of residence.


#Newsworthy…

Gaza balloon attack: Israeli tank hit Hamas

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Head of Hamas political bureau said it will not back down from wanting to end the blockade on the Gaza Strip.


The Israeli army says its tanks have hit Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip on Sunday after Palestinian balloon attacks across the border continued.

An early-morning military statement said there had been airborne explosive and incendiary attacks into southern Israel on Saturday.

There were no immediate reports of casualties from any of the incidents.

Palestinian sources said an Israeli artillery shell was fired towards a field control point east of Khan Younis, and another shell east of Deir al-Balah in the central Gaza Strip.

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According to the Israeli fire brigade, the fire bombs – crude devices fitted to balloons, inflated condoms or plastic bags inflated with helium – have triggered more than 400 blazes in southern Israel.

The Israeli army has carried out attacks on Gaza almost daily since August 6, along with further tightening a devastating blockade it has imposed on the Palestinian territory since 2007.

Under the new measures, it banned the entry of fuel for Gaza’s sole power plant, plunging it into darkness.

The Gaza Strip has a population of two million people, more than half of whom live in poverty, according to the World Bank.

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The head of the Hamas political bureau, Ismail Haniya, said his movement – which controls the Gaza Strip – would not back down from wanting to end the Israeli blockade.

“Our decision and the decision of our people is to go ahead with ending this unjust siege in all its forms,” Haniya said in a statement issued by his office early on Sunday.

“The leadership of the movement is closely following the current situation in the Gaza Strip in terms of communications and mediation carried out by many parties to work to break and end the siege on the strip.”

An Egyptian delegation has been shuttling between the two sides to try to broker a renewal of an informal truce under which Israel committed to easing its 13-year blockade of Gaza in return for calm on the frontier between the two.

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It was joined this week by Qatar’s Gaza envoy Mohammed al-Emadi who delivered the latest tranche of $30m in aid to the territory on Tuesday before holding talks with Israeli officials in Tel Aviv.

Sources close to the Qatari delegation said Israeli officials had told al-Emadi they were willing to end a punitive ban on fuel deliveries for Gaza’s power plant and ease their blockade if there was an end to the incendiary balloons.

Financial aid for the impoverished territory from gas-rich Qatar had been a significant component of the truce, first agreed in November 2018 and renewed several times since.

Under those terms, Israel had said it would take other measures to alleviate unemployment of more than 50 percent in the territory of some two million people. Those have yet to materialise.


#Newsworthy…