Under the auspices of Egyptian authorities, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas met in Cairo on Monday with Ramadan Shallah, secretary- general of the Islamic Jihad organization, and his deputy, Ziad Nakhleh.Al Quds al Arabi notes that they met at Al Azhar University:
The meeting between Abbas and the Syrian-based Islamic Jihad leaders dealt with ways of consolidating Palestinian national reconciliation, a PA official said.
The two sides also discussed the PA security crackdown on Islamic Jihad operatives and supporters in the West Bank, the official said.
Islamic Jihad has condemned the ongoing crackdown and urged the PA to release all its members, especially in wake of the Hamas-Fatah reconciliation accord that was reached in Cairo three weeks ago.
Under the former regime of Hosni Mubarak, Islamic Jihad leaders and members were unwelcome in Egypt.
An Islamic Jihad official said the talks also focused on ways of “confronting future challenges and Israeli threats.” He described the meeting with Abbas as positive and thorough.
[Shallah praised] Al-Azhar's 'role in confronting the challenges of the Zionists as a beacon of Islamic research and knowledge'.
Shallah said that Al Azhar is the 'fence of the Islamic faith and the spearhead of the nation to defend its holy sites and the face of Israeli plans of Judaizing Jerusalem'.
The Sheikh of Al-Azhar stressed that Egypt is ready to support the Palestinian cause in the face of Israeli plans of 'land grabbing and [violating] Islamic sanctities'.