The head of the Hamas political bureau said on Sunday that his visit to Lebanon is of particular importance for the movement, Anadolu has reported. Ismail Haniyeh made his statement during a press conference at Beirut International Airport as he arrived in the country. His visit will last several days and is part of a foreign tour that has already included a number of Arab countries.
Lebanon is important, explained Haniyeh, because he will have the opportunity to meet representatives of the state, including the presidency, parliament, and the government. He is also planning to meet local leaders of the Palestinian factions, resistance forces, Lebanese groups and organisations, and Palestinians in the refugee camps.
The Hamas leader revealed that the meetings will include a discussion of political developments after the "victory of the resistance factions" in the recent Israeli aggression against the Gaza Strip, and its repercussions on the ground and at the political level. Hundreds of people were killed during the Israeli military offensive between 10 and 21 May, and thousands more were wounded. The Palestinian factions responded by firing missiles towards cities across the occupation state.
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Haniyeh added that the main focus of his discussions will be on the fundamentals of the Palestinian people, in particular the right of return and the rejection of the Palestinians being forced to live in an "alternative" homeland. There are 479,537 Palestinian refugees registered with the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) in Lebanon. They live in 12 official UN camps and 156 "gatherings".
The current tour has included Egypt, Morocco, and Mauritania so far, and represents a political initiative to seek support for Palestinian resistance. In doing so, the movement hopes to counter the effect of the normalisation deals between some Arab countries and Israel, which were announced last year.