Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh meets Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah in Beirut for talks on Israel’s 11-day bombing of Gaza.
Senior leaders of Hezbollah and Hamas held talks in the Lebanese capital, Beirut, on Tuesday about the 11-day Israeli bombing of the besieged Gaza Strip last month.
Ismail Haniyeh, the leader of Hamas, the Palestinian movement that rules Gaza, arrived in Lebanon on Sunday and met several senior officials, including President Michel Aoun and Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri.
On Tuesday, Haniyeh and Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah discussed how to build on the experience of the latest round of violence. The Israeli bombing killed at least 256 Palestinians, including 66 children. 13 people were killed in Israel, including two children.
The Turkish Anatolia news agency quoted a statement issued by Hezbollah that the two sides stressed “the depth of the existing relationship between Hezbollah and Hamas and its main role … in this decisive battle.”
In a speech after the meeting, Haniyeh stressed the importance of the right of return for Palestinian refugees and their descendants, rejecting resettlement or an “alternative homeland.” He said that Palestinians residing in Lebanon are “guests” so that they can return to their homeland, and that they contribute to “Lebanon’s stability and security.”
Haniyeh pointed out that “Jerusalem remains the focus of the conflict with the occupation and the resistance, and it is the strategic choice for liberation.”
He added: “The unity of the Palestinian people is the basis for achieving this liberation.”
The meeting was the first between the two leaders since last September.
During the escalation of violence last month, Hamas and other armed groups fired more than 4,000 rockets into Israel, while air attacks and Israeli shelling caused widespread destruction in the impoverished enclave, which is under a joint Israeli-Egyptian air, land and sea blockade. Since 2007.
After the fighting in Gaza, Haniyeh took part in reconciliation talks with rival Palestinian factions in Egypt and then visited Morocco and Mauritania before arriving in Lebanon.