TEHRAN (AFP): The leaders of Palestinian militant groups Islamic Jihad and Hamas held talks Monday with top Iranian officials in Tehran as deadly violence flared in the Israeli-occupied West Bank.
Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi received Islamic Jihad chief Ziyad al-Nakhalah while Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh held talks with Ali Akbar Ahmadian, the newly-appointed secretary of the Supreme National Security Council (SNSC), ahead of meeting with other top officials.
“The most efficient way to end the more than 75 years of occupation of Palestine is resistance,” Ahmadian told Haniyeh, according to the Nournews website close to the SNSC.
Nakhalah has been in Iran since last week and has met top Iranian officials, including the supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and Raisi.
On Monday, Raisi told Nakhalah that Israel was seeking to normalise ties with more Arab and Muslim countries “to discourage young Palestinians from (seeking to) liberate the occupied territories”, the president’s office said in a statement, as he hailed Palestinian “resistance” against Israel.
In 2020 Israel established diplomatic ties with the United Arab Emirates, Morocco and Bahrain under the Abraham Accords brokered by the United States.
Saudi Arabia has declined to recognise Israel, in part over Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians, but the Sunni Muslim power and its rival Iran agreed to mend ties in March, under a Chinese-brokered deal.
The Iran-Palestinian talks coincided with Israeli forces launching a raid on Jenin in the West Bank on Monday. The raid left five Palestinians dead, including an Islamic Jihad militant, and saw five Israeli border police and two soldiers injured.
The Israeli army said the raid was aimed at arresting two “wanted suspects”, one from Hamas and the other from Islamic Jihad.
Haniyeh, who arrived earlier Monday in Iran at the head of a large delegation, according to state news agency IRNA, is due to hold talks with Raisi, Khamenei and other officials.
Iran is a staunch supporter of the Palestinians and does not recognise its arch-foe Israel which, along with the United States, considers Hamas and Islamic Jihad as terrorist groups.