Hamas Leader to Meet Nasrallah After Qatar-brokered Deal With Israel

Ismail Haniyeh's Beirut meeting with the Hezbollah leader would take place days after understandings reached with Israel to end weeks of tensions and clashes

Jack Khoury
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Hamas Chief Ismail Haniyeh (center) giving a press statement after meeting with the parliament speaker at the Ain el-Tineh palace in Beirut, Lebanon, September 2, 2020.
Hamas Chief Ismail Haniyeh (center) giving a press statement after meeting with the parliament speaker at the Ain el-Tineh palace in Beirut, Lebanon, September 2, 2020.Credit: AFP
Jack Khoury

Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh is expected to meet with Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah in Beirut in the coming days, a Hamas official announced Wednesday evening.

The Hamas official, Osama Hamdan, did not specify an exact date for the meeting between the two leaders, or whether Haniyeh and Nasrallah would meet alone or accompanied by officials from their respective groups.

The timing of the meeting, which is to take place during Haniyeh's first trip to Lebanon in his role as Hamas' political leader, is particularly sensitive in light of recent tensions between Hamas and Israel, and the deal brokered by Qatar and Egypt to deescalate them.     

A Hamas official in the Gaza Strip said that the meeting with Nasrallah is a necessary and natural step forward. He added that it would not make sense for the head of Hamas' political wing to travel to Beirut and not meet with such a strategic ally as Nasrallah.

Along with other Lebanese officials, the Hamas member said, "there are so many issues on the table that must be discussed immediately, including regional developments as well as clashes with Israel."

Haniyeh arrived in Beirut on Tuesday. He has already met with senior leaders of Palestinian factions based in the country, including Islamic Jihad chief Ziad al-Nakhalah, and is expected to hold discussions with Fatah leadership in Ramallah over video call.

Hamas does not see a contradiction between this meeting and the deal it struck with Israel earlier this week following an escalation with Israel, which followed the Gaza launches of rockets and incendiary balloons into southern Israel that ignited hundreds of fires over weeks, and Israeli strikes on Hamas positions in response.

Haniyeh himself declared upon his arrival to Beirut that Israel was and always will be an enemy state.      

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