A senior Fatah official said on Sunday that the preparatory discussions for a meeting of the Palestinian National Council (PNC) will go ahead without Hamas and Islamic Jihad, Safa news agency has reported. Ahmed Majdalani told reporters that the discussions would only include the factions within the Palestine Liberation Organisation.
The member of the PLO Executive Committee pointed out that there is a plan to hold the PNC meeting in the middle of the next month in both the West Bank city of Ramallah and the Lebanese capital Beirut.
The PLO, Palestinian Authority and Fatah President Mahmoud Abbas chaired a meeting of the Executive Committee in Ramallah on Saturday which was dedicated to the expected PNC meeting. A statement was released confirming that it had decided to continue the discussions with the different PLO factions to hold the meeting of the PNC "as soon as possible."
Saturday's meeting came just one week after a meeting of Fatah's Central Committee during which the controlling faction decided to convene the PNC in order to elect a new executive committee and central council for the PLO.
Hamas has rejected the idea of holding the PNC "without a national agreement." According to spokesman Hazim Qasim, "Holding the PNC without renewing it means that it does not represent anyone except the Fatah leadership." He pointed out that the PNC decisions would be "lacking national commitment" and would thus not be binding on anyone.
The PNC is the highest authority for Palestinians within Palestine and in exile. It was last convened in 1996.