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Why is Khaled Meshaal in Beirut?

Chief of Hamas' Political Bureau Khaled Meshaal in Beirut, Lebanon on 16 December 2021 [Houssam Shbaro/Anadolu Agency]
Chief of Hamas' Political Bureau Khaled Meshaal in Beirut, Lebanon on 16 December 2021 [Houssam Shbaro/Anadolu Agency]

For the first time in over ten years, the head of Hamas abroad, Khaled Meshaal, arrived in Beirut yesterday with a large delegation of the movement's leadership.

Meshaal's arrival in Beirut has been scheduled for more than a month, and he aims to achieve several goals: Participation in the popular and media events organised by Hamas in Lebanon on the occasion of the 34th anniversary of the movement's inception.

Another goal is to hold meetings with the aim of discussing the latest developments in the Palestinian situation and informing officials of the latest changes at the national level and the confrontation with the occupation.

The visit also aims to mobilise the Palestinian position in Lebanon in the project of resisting the Israeli occupation, especially after the important results achieved by the Battle of the Sword of Jerusalem in May.

He also plans to examine the conditions of Palestinian refugees in Lebanon and their human and social rights, as well as follow up on projects implemented by Hamas within Palestinian society that aim to stabilise Palestinian refugees in the camps.

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The visit by Meshaal and the movement's delegation comes after the historic visit of Ismail Haniyeh, head of Hamas, to Lebanon in the summer of 2020, and the strategic importance it represented. This indicates the great interest of Hamas in the Palestinian society in Lebanon due to its great history of struggle, its political capabilities and its national presence. Hamas emphasised its relations with Hezbollah and Iran as part of the project to resist the occupation.

Over the past few days, an important development occurred after the incident that took place in Burj Al-Shamali camp, the incident of the Palestinian National Security Forces firing at the funeral procession of the martyr Hamza Shaheen, which led to the death of three. This caused great tension in the camps and led to fears in Lebanon that the incident would have repercussions across the country.

There is no doubt that Meshaal's visit to Beirut comes at a very difficult time, as Lebanon is experiencing a difficult crisis on the economic and social levels, and this is reflected greatly on the Palestinian society in Lebanon.

However, the Palestinian and regional position of the Hamas movement and the great position that Meshaal represents as a global symbol of resistance makes achieving a number of successes in this visit possible.

This article first appeared in Arabic in the Palestinian Information Centre on 16 December 2021

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.

ArticleIsraelLebanonMiddle EastOpinionPalestine
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