Palestinian Leaders to Discuss Formation of Unified Leadership

Article Summary
Practical steps for the formation of a unified Palestinian leadership were put in motion on May 28, when leaders agreed to hold an upcoming joint meeting in Lebanon. The officials stressed the need for Lebanon to maintain neutrality, writes Mohammad Salah.

Practical steps to form a unified Palestinian leadership in Lebanon were launched on May 28 in the Lebanese city of Sidon. A consensus was reached on the holding of a meeting at the headquarters of the Emir of the Islamic Struggle Movement, Sheikh Jamal Khotab in the Ain al-Hilweh refugee camp. The meeting will gather the secretary-generals of the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO),  the Palestinian Alliance, and the Islamic forces. The "formation of a unified Palestinian leadership" will constitute the one and only item of the meeting's agenda.

On May 28, a delegation from the Hamas movement, headed by Ali Barakah, the group’s political official in Lebanon, visited Sidon. Barakah met with the secretary general of the Popular Nasserite Organization, Osama Saed and former mayor of Sidon Abdul Rahman Bizri. The different Palestinian factions in Lebanon addressed the issue of Palestinian security in Lebanon and urged the formation of a unified political framework to bring together the various national and Islamic Palestinian factions on the Lebanese territory. This move represents an attempt to protect the Palestinian camps from the repercussions of the events taking place in Lebanon.

Barakah informed Saed and Bizri of the arrangements that were made by various Palestinian groups to coordinate with the nationalist and Islamic factions and find ways to protect and neutralize the camps vis-a-vis the events in Lebanon. Efforts were expended to prevent anyone from being able to use the Palestinians to stir up any strife in Lebanon. Barakah stated that Lebanon's unity and stability allows the country to be a keystone of the Palestinian cause. He also stressed the need to protect the camps and prevent any Palestinian faction from getting involved in a Lebanese crisis, emphasizing the large impact that the Palestinians in Lebanon can have on the stability of their cause. The struggle to return to their homeland should be their only goal, he stated.

Ali Barakah emphasized the Palestinian role in upholding security and stability in Lebanon and confirmed the ongoing communication between the concerned parties to face the problem. He reiterated that Lebanese stability would serve the Palestinian interest, safeguard their cause and protect the Lebanese people who have always embraced it as well.

For his part, Saed stressed the  importance of standing up to the malicious projects targeting Lebanon's stability, which aim to derail its efforts against the Israeli threats. He also shed light on a few steps taken by Lebanese and Palestinian parties to bolster security and stability in Lebanon.

Bizri supported all offices to establish a unified Palestinian political framework in Lebanon, stressing that this step is imperative to safeguard Palestinians and prevent any slide towards the Lebanese events. He noted that Lebanon has become engaged in regional events and has consequently lost a part of its neutrality and political immunity.

Bizri met the delegation of the Ain al-Helweh follow-up committee which included many Palestinian nationalist and Islamic figures. He also praised the role of the Lebanese army in the city of Sidon and the surrounding regions.

Found in: abdul rahman bizri, osama saed, ali barakah, slamic struggle movement, sheikh jamal khotab, palestinian cause, palestinian, ain al-hilweh camp

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