print
memri
May 4, 2015 No.
6040

Hizbullah Hosts Fatah Delegation On Tour Of Israeli Border; Fatah Secretary In North Lebanon: We Stand United With Lebanese Resistance To Liberate The Land

On April 26, 2015, a delegation of over 350 Fatah activists from refugee camps in North Lebanon arrived for a tour of South Lebanon and the Israeli border, organized by Hizbullah. The delegation comprised Fatah officials, youths, social activists and professionals.

The tour included a visit to Mleeta, a military base that Hizbullah has converted into a "tourist landmark of the Resistance" and a war museum showcasing the organization's struggle against Israel in South Lebanon since 1982.[1] At the museum the visitors met with senior Hizbullah officials and viewed a display of Israeli military gear captured during the IDF's deployment in Southern Lebanon and during the 2006 war. Later, the delegation toured the border with Israel, visited local communities such as Bint Jbeil and Maroun Al-Ras, and looked over the frontier fence and the Upper Galilee.[2] During the tour Hizbullah and Fatah representatives spoke in praise of the Palestinian struggle and the unity between the Palestinians and Hizbullah in the fight against Israel. Fatah representatives declared that the resistance to the occupation would continue in all its forms.


The delegation's visit to Mleeta (Images: Soursawa.com, April 27, 2015, Sawtalfarah.com April 26, 2015)

Hizbullah Seeks To Strengthen Fatah In Refugee Camps At Expense Of Extremist Organizations

This tour is part of an ongoing Hizbullah effort in recent months to draw closer to the moderate Palestinian organizations in Lebanon's refugee camps, in light of the growing strength of Sunni jihadi organizations in the Arab world, including in Lebanon. Hizbullah, which has been involved for some time in the fighting in Syria, and which is battling ISIS and Jabhat Al-Nusra there, among others, finds itself threatened and harmed by these organizations not only in Syria but also in Lebanon itself, for they are gaining support in the Lebanese of these organizations, which is a source of considerable concern for Hizbullah due to the camp's strategic location on the road from South Lebanon to Beirut. Moreover, in 2013 and 2014, several terror attacks were committed against Hizbullah and its supporters in the northern Beqa Valley and in the Beirut Dahiya involving Palestinians from the refugee camps who are members of extremist organizations such as the 'Abdallah 'Azzam Brigades. Therefore, Hizbullah is currently interested in strengthening moderate Palestinian elements in the refugee camps so that they can help it curb the radical forces that are threatening it.

To this end Hizbullah has recently taken several measures. For example, it cooperated with the director of Lebanon's General Security Directorate, 'Abbas Ibrahim, who is close to it, to establish a joint force of all the Palestinian factions to fight extremist elements in the camps. This force began operating six months ago in 'Ayn Al-Hilweh, and recently expanded operations to the Mieh Mieh refugee camp in the same region. According to recent reports, 'Abbas Ibrahim met with Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud 'Abbas and with deposed Fatah leader Muhammad Dahlan in an attempt to settle the disagreements between 'Abbas and Dahlan and thereby strengthen Fatah in the struggle against the extremist organizations in the camps.[3]

As part of the enhanced cooperation with Fatah, another rare meeting took place, between Hizbullah political bureau member Muhammad Saleh and the Fatah secretary in northern Lebanon Abu Jihad Fayyad, a week after the Fatah delegation visited South Lebanon. At the meeting, they discussed the repercussions of Arab world events on the Palestinian cause, the role of resistance in all its forms as the only way to remove the occupation from Arab lands, the need for Palestinians in Lebanon to attain civil and humanitarian rights, and the need to pressure  UNRWA by means of the Lebanese government to increase its assistance to the refugees.[4]


Muhammad Saleh and Abu Jihad Fayyad (Image: Facebook.com/racamp.net, May 3, 2015)

Hizbullah Representatives: Hizbullah, Fatah Cooperating For  Continued Resistance To The Zionist Enemy

Addressing the Fatah delegation during tour of Mleeta, Hizbullah's leader in the Mount Lebanon region, Bilal Darghar, referred to "the continued efforts to [promote] Palestinian unity and liberate the Gaza Strip from the siege and rehabilitate it". He also mentioned the "unity among Lebanon and Palestine - especially among the national factions of the resistance - aimed at opposing any aggression that threatens the two peoples' security and well-being". He emphasized that "Hizbullah supports the [Palestinian] cause and the Palestinian people, and  preserving the security and stability of our people in the refugee camps".[5]


Bilal Darghar delivering his address (Image: Sawtalfarah.com, April 26, 2015)

Abu Wael Zalzali, Hizbullah director of Palestinian affairs in the Tyre region, also praised the Palestinian people's struggle and especially the Fatah leadership's efforts in international forums. He noted that "the unity of Hizbullah, Amal and Fatah creates the golden triangle that should be relied upon in continuing the resistance and removing the Zionist occupation from our occupied land."[6]

Fatah Official: We Will Continue The Resistance In All Its Forms; We Will Not Lay Down Our Weapons

Fatah secretary in northern Lebanon Abu Jihad Fayyad also emphasized the "unity with the resistance in Lebanon in liberating the land and withstanding Israeli it is the land of jihad, resistance and martyrs".[7] Fayyad claimed that it was the Palestinian resistance that had launched the self-sacrifice and the struggle against Israel in South Lebanon in the 1970s. According to him, "all the Palestinian factions remain part of the resistance to the Zionist occupation and, together with the entire Palestinian people, confront [the occupation] using popular resistance in all its forms in the [West] Bank and in Jerusalem".[8] He added that "the resistance in all its forms continues, and we will not lay down the gun".[9]


Abu Jihad Fayyad (Image:Sawtalfarah.com, April 26, 2015.)

Fatah Representative: The Headline Of This Tour Is 'The Right Of Return We Will Never Forgo'

In an interview, Fatah official Amal Al-Khatib said, "This was not a tour for entertainment purposes but rather a pure Palestinian national tour that has repercussions. We are conveying an important message, whose headline is the right of return, which we will never forego. [This right] is reinforced first of all by our willpower, secondly by the blood of our martyrs, and also by the diplomatic decisions, [such as  UN] Resolution 194, which enjoys an international seal of approval."[10]

Endnotes:

[1] Mleeta.com, 2014.

[2] Al-Safir (Lebanon), April 26, 2015.

[3] Al-Akhbar (Lebanon), April 21, 2015.

[4] Facebook.com/racamp, May 3, 2015.

[5] Nna-leb.gov.lb, April 26, 2015.

[6] Falestinona.com, April 27, 2015.

[7] Nna-leb.com, April 26, 2015.

[8] Falestinona.com, April 27, 2015.

[9] Facebook.com/baddawenews, April 26, 2015.

[10] Falestinona.com, media.alahednews.com.lb, April 27, 2015.