Meshaal to Visit Gaza, Netanyahu Travels to Germany
Khaled Meshaal is due to make his first ever visit to the Gaza Strip. He will join celebrations for Hamas’s 25th anniversary and meet members of different Palestinian movements, “as well as representatives of the families of martyrs, prisoners and those injured in the last Israeli aggression against Gaza,” said Hamas spokesperson Sami Abu Zuhri. Israelis contend that a power struggle is taking place between the internal and external factions of Hamas. “There is a debate between [the two groups] on several levels, and Meshaal’s external faction is much more moderate,” noted Shlomo Brom, a senior research fellow at the Institute for National Security Studies. However, an anonymous senior Israeli official said he was not convinced that Meshaal had done enough to restore his credibility within Hamas as undisputed leader. “Between the various leaders, there are small differences between what they say, but at the end of the day, it is all shades of black. They all lead a terror group,” he added.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu traveled to Berlin for a meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Germany’s abstention from the U.N. vote on Palestine and Israel’s decision to build new settlements has soured relations between the two countries. “Israel has undermined the trust in its willingness to negotiate,” German government spokesman Steffen Seibert said of the settlement plans, adding that they led to the “further shrinking of the geographical space for a future Palestinian state which has to be the basic requirement for a two state solution.” Netanyahu acknowledged that, “There is obviously a difference of view in Europe on the issue of the settlements.”
King Abdullah II of Jordan visited Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in the West Bank as a gesture of support following Palestine’s upgraded status at the U.N. The Palestinians “highly appreciate the important role his majesty and Jordan played internationally and regionally and at the U.N. to achieve this important historical achievement,” said presidential spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeina.