In two separate statements, top Russian and Turkish officials declared their countries’ support for unity between the Palestinian Fatah and Hamas factions.
On Friday, Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov welcomed a joint press conference a day earlier that brought representatives of Fatah and Hamas together in a unified pledge for unity against Israel’s plans to illegally annex a third of the West Bank.
“We noted with satisfaction the joint press conference held yesterday by representatives of Fatah and Hamas during which a decision was announced to jointly defend the interests of the Palestinian government based on the platform of the Palestinian Liberation Organisation,” Lavrov said.
— @palestinechron (@PalestineChron) July 3, 2020
Lavrov, who attempted to forge unity between the rival factions at a Moscow conference in 2019, said that the “restoration of Palestinian unity (is) one of the key questions that need to be resolved.”
Russia’s top diplomat called on “all Arab representatives to actively support this trend.”
In a written statement that was made available to the media on Thursday, Turkey adopted a similar position.
Turkey’s presidential spokesperson Ibrahim Kalin wrote on July 2 that “We fully support the decision of Palestinian political parties to unite against Israel’s illegal plan of annexation.”
Israel’s annexation of parts of the West Bank and the Jordan Valley was scheduled to be carried out on July 1, a self-imposed deadline by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. However, the move was stalled probably due to international pressure that has been building up in previous weeks.
”The world must reject Israel’s new policies of occupation and land-grabbing and support the Palestinian people” Kalin said.
— @palestinechron (@PalestineChron) July 4, 2020
On Thursday, Hamas and Fatah agreed to unite to confront Israel’s planned annexation of the occupied West Bank.
Saleh al–Arouri, deputy head of Hamas’ Political Bureau, and Major General Jibril Rajoub, secretary of Fatah‘s Central Committee, took part in the talks, with the Fatah official saying the reaction to the annexation decision showed a popular consensus to counter the plan, adding unity “will inspire us to build a strategic vision, to lead the street”.
“We want to open a new page with Hamas and introduce a new model for our people and families, especially since the regional position has not dealt in any way with the annexation project,” al-Arouri said.
On the other hand, Rajoub called on “the Arab and Islamic world to respect the decisions of (previous) Arab summits regarding normalization (with Israel) and not to establish relations with the occupation, because there are those who want to use us as a bridge to have ties with Israel, either secretly or in public.”
Rajoub was likely referring to normalization efforts underway between several Arab Gulf countries and Israel, which are taking place despite Israel’s refusal to halt illegal construction of Jewish settlements and the continued siege on the Gaza Strip.
For his part, Al-Arouri said that “all contentious issues will be frozen, and we will overcome it for the sake of a strategic and substantive agreement to resist the occupation.”
(The Palestine Chronicle)