MK Odeh Meets Walid Jumblatt; Lebanese Druze Leader Calls for Unity among Palestinians

Knesset member Ayman Odeh (Hadash), the leader of the Joint List, met Saturday, April 1, in Paris with the Lebanese Druze leader Walid Jumblatt. “Since its founding by Kamal Jumblatt (Walid Jumblatt’s father), the Progressive Socialist Party (PSP), has been the most supportive party of the Palestinian issue, in particular during the last decade, even when there have been differences between us in concept and vision,” Odeh said. He added, “The very fact that this meeting and discussion took place is very important and an acknowledgement of the PSP’s work for the Palestinian issue.”

MK Ayman Odeh with Walid Jumblatt in Paris, last Saturday, April 1

MK Ayman Odeh with Walid Jumblatt in Paris, last Saturday, April 1 (Photo: Al Ittihad)

Jumblatt, who is considered one of the most influential figures in Lebanese politics and one of the most prominent leaders of the Druze in general, is part of the camp that has expressed unqualified support for the Palestinian struggle. He has met with Druze leaders from Israel and Jordan and has called for the members of the Druze community to oppose being conscripted into the Israeli army. Jumblatt has also warned against what he calls the detachment of the Druze in Israel from their Druze identity.

Odeh’s bureau issued a statement indicating that the issue of national affinity of the Druze came up during his meeting with Jumblatt, and both leaders concurred on the importance of national unity among all Palestinian citizens in the face of what the statement called Israel’s extreme right-wing government and its official policy to harm the Arab community in Israel and incite against it.

Jumblatt has been critical of Syrian presence in Lebanon and opposed the regime in Damascus as far back at the time of Hafez Assad, the father of the current Syrian president. He also opposed the arming of Hezbollah.

Last week, in a ceremony attended by thousands held at the family home in  Mukhtara, southeast of Beirut, Jumblatt announced that he was handing over leadership of the PSP to his son Taymour. Placing a Palestinian kaffiyeh on his son’s shoulders, Jumblatt said, “On your shoulders rests the kaffiyeh of occupied Palestine, the kaffiyeh that represents resistance to Israel everywhere.”