Palestine

Islamic Jihad chief, Russian FM discuss US Mideast scheme, Palestinian unity

During a visit to Moscow, a delegation from the Gaza-based Islamic Jihad movement has exchanged views with Russian officials on issues such as unity among Palestinian factions and a pro-Israel proposal devised by Washington on the Middle East conflict.

The Palestine al-Yawm (Palestine Today) website reported on Wednesday that Islamic Jihad leader Ziyad al-Nakhalah had held “positive” and “profound” talks with Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on US President Donald Trump’s self-proclaimed “deal of the century” and the Palestinian national unity.

Islamic Jihad representatives voiced their firm opposition to the US scheme, saying it strives to “eliminate the Palestinian problem, as well as to give up Jerusalem [al-Quds], the West Bank and the right of return of refugees,” the report said.

They also emphasized that “the Palestinian people will never give up their historical rights and national principles,” and that the path to restoring national unity lies in building a source of national authority under the 2017 Beirut agreement, it added.

During a meeting in Beirut in January 2017, different Palestinian groups, including the Islamic Jihad and the Gaza-based Hamas resistance movement, agreed on “the necessity of holding a meeting of the Palestinian National Council which includes all Palestinian factions” and “implementing reconciliation agreements and understandings beginning with the formation of a national unity government.”

According to a communiqué issued by the Russian Foreign Ministry, Nakhalah and Lavrov discussed the Middle East peace efforts and the situation in the West Bank and Gaza as well as the need to restore the Palestinian unity.

Islamic Jihad said its visit to Moscow comes at an official invitation by the Russian Foreign Ministry.

Earlier this month, Ismail Haniyeh, Hamas political bureau chief, traveled to Russia, where he praised the country for defending Palestinian rights and dismissing Trump’s scheme.

Trump released the initiative during an event at the White House alongside Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Washington on January 28.

The so-called ‘Vision for Peace’ bars Palestinian refugees from returning to their homeland, regards Jerusalem al-Quds as “Israel’s undivided capital” and allows the regime to annex West Bank settlements and the Jordan Valley.

All Palestinian groups have unanimously rejected the US plan, which largely meets Israel’s demands while creating a Palestinian state with limited control over its own security and borders.

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