At Hezbollah event, Fatah official urges dialogue with Iran
Flanked by Lebanese terror group’s second-in-command, Abbas Zaki denounces US and Israel, calls for rapprochement between Arab states and Tehran
Khaled Abu Toameh is the Palestinian Affairs correspondent for The Times of Israel
A senior Fatah official told a Hezbollah gathering in Lebanon on Monday the Arabs should engage in dialogue with Iran because of the threat the Islamic Republic poses to Israel.
Abbas Zaki, a veteran member of the Palestinians’ ruling Fatah faction and former Palestinian Authority ambassador to Lebanon, made his comments during a Beirut event commemorating Iranian diplomat Mohammed Saleh al Husseini, who was killed in an ambush in the Lebanese capital in the early 1980s.
Lebanese security sources said at the time they believed the Iranian official was killed by Iraqi agents.
Zaki, whose views do not always dovetail with those held by the Fatah leadership. was the top Palestinian representative at the Hezbollah event. He appeared at the event sitting next to the Iranian-backed Hezbollah Deputy Secretary-General Sheikh Naim Qassem.
The Lebanon-based terrorist group is supported by Iran and sworn to Israel’s destruction.
Fatah leaders have in the past accused Iran of meddling in the internal affairs of the Palestinians by providing financial and military aid to rival party Hamas.
In his address, Zaki, member of the Fatah Central Committee, called for an Arab-Iran dialogue “on the basis of good neighboring.”
Iran, he noted approvingly, has become a key threat to Israel.
Zaki accused the US “and its slaves” of working to transform the Israeli-Arab conflict into a conflict between Muslim Sunnis and Shias. These attempts, he stressed, will not distract the Palestinians and Arabs from their fight with Israel.
The top Palestinian official lashed out at US President Donald Trump’s December 6 decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, dubbing it an “assault not only on the Palestinians, but on Arab dignity and pride as well.”
Zaki called on the Arab countries to consider reviving the 1950 Treaty of Joint Defense. The pact considers any armed aggression made against any one or more of the Arab League members as directed against them all. It requires league members to take, individually and collectively, all steps available to repel the aggression.
Reviving the defense agreement would allow the Arabs to depart from the path of “treason,” Zaki explained. He also expressed fear that the Arabs would continue to display apathy in the face of the mounting threats and “US-led conspiracies” against them.
Zaki said that any Israeli military attack against Hezbollah would be an “attack on Lebanon and Palestine and all the Islamic and Arab holy sites.”
Zaki’s remarks were reported by the Hezbollah-affiliated Al Mayadeen television channel website.
Qassem, Hezbollah’s second-in-command, said in a speech that Israel was the source of all unrest in the region.
“Our region has been drowning in wars, unrest and instability for the past 70 years because of the Zionist entity,” he charged.
Qassem also accused the US of seeking to “undermine the will and unity” of the Lebanese people by threatening more sanctions against Hezbollah.