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Factions to Abbas: No National Council meeting without consensus

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah, West Bank on 18 December 2017 [Issam Rimawi/Anadolu Agency]

Several Palestinian factions have rejected the Palestine Liberation Organisation Executive Committee’s decision to call a National Council meeting for 30 April.

They also called on Palestinian Authority’s President Mahmoud Abbas to accept and implement the decision by Preparatory Committee, in Beirut last year, to hold elections abroad.

Hamas’ representatives said that the Executive Committee’s decision was “a unilateral and despotic decision in the management of national institutions and a coup on the factions’ consensus in Beirut.”

In an exclusive interview with Shehab News Agency, Hamas spokesman Abdul-Latif Al-Kanoo said “The Palestinian factions agreed in Beirut to hold a National Unity Council, elections and form a government of national unity. The Executive Committee’s decision is a unilateral and despotic one.”

Read: Is Abbas serving the Palestinians or fooling them?

He continued: “The National Council, in its current form, adds nothing to the political environment.” He also stressed on the need to implement the outcomes of the meeting of the Preparatory Committee of the National Council in Beirut.

Al-Kanoo mentioned: “We are in a genuine reconciliation and are moving forward to achieve it. This requires that it be based on partnership, not on monopoly of power.”

He also explained that the US policy on Jerusalem and the elimination of the Palestinian cause requires the achievement of Palestinian unity, the unification of national institutions and the adoption of a national strategy to confront conspiracies on the Palestinian cause.

The Palestinian Islamic Jihad has rejected the Executive Committee’s decision. “These meetings are worthless and have no results,” the movement’s spokesman Daoud Shihab said.

Read: Hamas preparing for a post-Abbas era

In an exclusive interview with Shehab News Agency, Shihab said that experience is the best witness for this. The Central Council was held a short while ago. Despite the absurd nature of its recommendations, the Authority did not implement them, ignored them, and is currently upholding the security coordination.

He added: “These meetings are conducted according to a unilateral vision without consensus and far from the national consensus, which makes any true legitimacy void.”

Shihab continued: “There are several legitimate questions to ask about the status of the current National Council, and that of the Palestinian Liberation Organisation. Who represents the council? Who represents the PLO? And do some individuals have the right to determine the course of these meetings, the mechanisms behind, and those who participate or not?”

He wondered: “Does the revolutionary law give those who coordinate on the security level with the enemy and participate in Zionist national security conferences the right to remain within the organisation and its institutions?”

A member of the Political Bureau of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, Jamil Mezher, called on to hold a national unity council and an election on the basis of full proportional representation and with the participation of all the Palestinian forces, including Hamas and Islamic Jihad Movement in Palestine.

In an exclusive interview with Shehab News Agency, Mezher said that holding the National Assembly according to the same old structural rules deepens the division and creates a situation of fragmentation and further division. He also called on the Palestinian Authority’s President Mahmoud Abbas to call the activation committee of the PLO.

Read: Israel targets Palestinian marathon coinciding with Israeli event in Jerusalem

From his part, a member of the Political Bureau of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine, Talal Abu Darifa, said “We are committed to call the Preparatory Committee of the National Council, including Hamas and Islamic Jihad to participate in the meeting. Holding it according to the current call deepens the division.”

During a meeting headed by the Palestinian Authority’s President Mahmoud Abbas on Wednesday, the Palestinian Liberation Organization decided to hold the Palestinian National Council’s meeting on April 30 despite the factions’ refusal to hold the council with its old structure and to implement the decisions of the council’s preparatory committee, which was held in Beirut in January last year.

At the end of the meetings of the Preparatory Committee of the National Council in Beirut in January last year, the Palestinian factions had agreed on the need to work on holding the presidential elections and the Palestinian legislative and national councils, and on urging President Mahmoud Abbas to call all factions to meet straightaway and agree on the formation of a government of national unity, which remained mere ink on paper.

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