The Palestinian Central Council holds its first meeting in four years with the future of Abbas on the horizon

The Palestinian Authority rejects “the continuation of the occupation and its colonial practices”


The Palestinian Central Council, the second most important executive body of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), began this Sunday in Ramallah, West Bank, its first meeting in four years; one in which the current state of the situation in the region will be discussed, as well as the election of key positions for the future of the Palestinian cause.

Thus, on the agenda of issues are the election of a new presidency of the Palestinian National Council, that of the president of the Board of Directors of the Palestinian National Fund and the occupation of the vacant positions of the Executive Committee of the PLO, according to the program reported by the official Palestinian news agency, Wafa.

“We will not accept the continuation of the occupation and its colonial practices that perpetuate apartheid and settler terrorism,” Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas stressed during the meeting, as reported by Wafa.

“The entire existing situation must be reviewed to preserve the interests of our people and our cause,” Abbas clarified, adding: “It is not possible to continue applying the agreements unilaterally, and our contacts with the Israeli side are not a substitute for a political solution based on in international legitimacy.

The session, which began under the title “Development and activation of the Palestine Liberation Organization: protecting the national project and popular resistance”, discusses the current stalemate in the peace process with Israel and, in this regard, the possible call for a new conference under the auspices of the United Nations to reinvigorate it.

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The president of the Palestinian Authority has stressed that the international community must assume its responsibilities to implement the resolutions of the United Nations in the face of “Israeli arrogance.”

“As stated in my speech to the United Nations, we renew the call to convene an international peace conference and provide an international protection mechanism, based on approved international benchmarks,” Abbas said.

Within the framework of the meeting, Abbas has indicated that the file on the massacres of Palestinians “by the Zionist gangs from 1948 to now, and that these crimes do not prescribe” will not be closed.

“We affirm our support for our people in the camps and in the diaspora, and for the defense of the right of refugees to return and compensation in accordance with resolutions of international legitimacy,” he added.

Also on the table is the current relationship with the United States and with the International Criminal Court, as well as the discussion of decision-making mechanisms in the National Council, the main executive body of the PLO.

Abbas has advocated continuing to strengthen bilateral relations with the US administration of President Biden, and “the fulfillment of its commitments to protect the two-state solution and the signed agreements.”

Likewise, it has demanded that the institutions of the Organization for the Liberation of Palestine must be preserved and activated as the sole and legitimate representative of the Palestinian people.

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In his opinion, in order to face the challenges, it is necessary to put an immediate end to the internal division.

“We want to hold presidential and legislative elections as soon as we can in Jerusalem, we have completed the first phase of organizing the municipal elections, and work is underway to complete the second phase as planned,” the Palestinian Authority president explained.

Added to the importance of the agenda is the presence of two politicians considered to be serious candidates to succeed Mahmoud Abbas at the head of the Palestinian Authority, such as Hussein al-Sheikh and Rawhi Fatú, given their advanced age (86 years) and the problems of health of the Palestinian president.

The former is a key Palestinian liaison with Israel and the United States and could take over as Secretary General of the PLO Executive Committee, replacing the late Saeb Erekat. Fatú, also an adviser to Abbas, could end up occupying the leadership of the National Council, according to sources consulted by the ‘Times of Israel’.

Abbas has not appointed a clear successor and many contenders are believed to be vying for the job, including Al-Sheikh, the former security chief of Fatah — Abbas’s party — for the Gaza Strip, Mohamed Dahlan, and the historical Marwan Barghuti, imprisoned in Israel for terrorism and the usual favorite, even from jail, in the succession polls.

The session of the Central Council will end this coming Monday.

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