Skip to main content

Unity talks: Abbas, Palestinian factions meet in Egypt despite boycotts

The Islamic Jihad and Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine have both rejected reconciliation efforts
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas holds a joint press conference with the Turkish president after their meeting in Ankara on 25 July (AFP/File photo)

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has arrived in Egypt ahead of unity talks between Palestinian factions, the official Wafa news agency reported. 

The Palestinian governmental news agency said that as well as chairing Sunday's meeting of the heads of Palestinian factions Abbas "is scheduled to meet with his Egyptian counterpart, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi".

Last week, Islamic Jihad leader Ziyad al-Nakhalah made his group's participation in the talks conditional on the release of its members and those of other factions detained by Palestinian security forces in the West Bank.

In a statement to AFP on Saturday, Islamic Jihad official Mohammad al-Hindi detailed the group's boycott of the talks, again denouncing the "continued political detention and prosecution of the resistance". 

The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine is also boycotting the talks.

Stay informed with MEE's newsletters

Sign up to get the latest alerts, insights and analysis, starting with Turkey Unpacked


Sunday's meeting will include the heads of other political factions, including Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh.

Abbas and Haniyeh met in Ankara on Wednesday in the run-up to Sunday's crucial meeting. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who has good relations with both, hosted the talks and said his government will do its best to push for intra-Palestinian reconciliation.

A Palestinian official, speaking to AFP on condition of anonymity because they are not authorised to speak to the media, said the talks aim to "end the divisions [between factions] in preparation for a unified Palestinian government and presidential and general elections".

Turkey supports Palestinian cause in 'strongest way', Erdogan says in meeting with Abbas
Read More »

Haniyeh's spokesman, Taher al-Nunu, told AFP that Hamas sought to "unify the Palestinian position" under a strategic plan to "confront the Israeli occupation in light of the aggression of its extremist government".

Since Hamas took control of the Gaza Strip in 2007, the movement has been at loggerheads with Abbas's secular Fatah, which administers the Palestinian-run areas of the West Bank that Israel has occupied since 1967.

Attempts to end the more than 15-year Fatah-Hamas rift saw leading figures from both movements sign a reconciliation deal in Algiers last year, promising long-delayed Palestinian elections in 2023.

Egypt's meeting comes amid a resurgence of violence linked to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. 

At least 200 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire this year, including 34 children - a rate of nearly one fatality per day, making 2023 one of the bloodiest in the occupied West Bank in years.

A total of 164 people died in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem, while the remaining 36 were killed in the Gaza Strip.

Palestinians have killed 25 Israelis in the same period, including six children. 

Middle East Eye delivers independent and unrivalled coverage and analysis of the Middle East, North Africa and beyond. To learn more about republishing this content and the associated fees, please fill out this form. More about MEE can be found here.