Palestinian factions kicked off discussions in Egypt on Sunday regarding reconciliation efforts under the chairmanship of Palestinian Authority head Mahmoud Abbas.
According to the P.A.’s Wafa news agency, the one-day talks taking place in the Mediterranean coastal city of El-Alamein were to focus on “the latest developments in the Palestinian arena and ways to restore national unity and end the division in light of the great challenges facing the Palestinian cause aimed at liquidating the Palestinian national project.”
The meeting included Hamas terror master Ismail Haniyeh but was boycotted by Palestinian Islamic Jihad in protest against the P.A.’s detention of its members, according to PIJ leader Ziyad al-Nakhala.
Abbas’s Fatah terror group, based in Ramallah, and the Hamas terror group, which rules the Gaza Strip, have been split since 2007 following the latter’s violent takeover of Gaza. There have been many failed attempts to bring the two factions together.
The P.A. leader is scheduled to meet on Monday with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi.
Last week, Abbas and Haniyeh held a joint, closed-door meeting in Ankara with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
Palestinian media said the talks aimed to forge unity between Abbas’s Fatah faction, which predominantly rules in Palestinian-controlled areas of Judea and Samaria, and the Gaza Strip-based terrorist group.
Erdoğan said that ongoing divisions among the Palestinian leadership were playing into the hands of those “who want to undermine peace.”
In related news, at least five people were killed and several others wounded during violent clashes in Lebanon’s largest Palestinian refugee camp, local media reported on Sunday.
The fighting in Ain al-Hilweh camp, southeast of the port city of Sidon, reportedly broke out after an unidentified gunman attempted to assassinate Islamist militant Mahmoud Khalil, killing one of his companions instead. Islamists then retaliated by assassinating a leader in the Fatah faction as well as three of his escorts.
According to the Associated Press, rival factions used assault rifles and rocket-propelled grenade launchers as civilians fled the crossfire.