BEIRUT — Leaders of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad group and Fatah officials held a rare meeting in the Gaza Strip on Monday evening as efforts for reconciliation between different Palestinian factions intensified this month in Turkey and Egypt.
According to a joint statement, Islamic Jihad political bureau member Khaled al-Batsh and Fatah central committee member Ahmad Halas discussed ways to strengthen bilateral relations and defend the Palestinian cause.
The statement read that the two sides “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.”
Last month, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, who is also the leader of Fatah, called for an inter-Palestinian meeting in Cairo to end the division that has been ongoing for 17 years. The rival factions that attended the meeting in Cairo, including Hamas, agreed to form a reconciliation committee to continue talks to end the split. The Islamic Jihad boycotted the meeting, calling on the PA to release its members held prisoner by its security forces.