Palestinian Parliament to Convene for Rare Session Next Month, PLO Official Says

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, center, speaks during a meeting with the Palestinian Central Council, a top decision-making body, at his headquarters in the West Bank city of Ramallah, Saturday, Jan. 13, 2018 . (AP Photo/Majdi Mohammed,l)

The Palestinian parliament will convene next month for a rare session and discuss US President Donald Trump’s recognition of Yerushalayim as Israel‘s capital, a US policy change that outraged Palestinians, an official said on Wednesday.

The 700-member body last met in 2009, in what was termed an emergency session, to replace six of the 18 members of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), the largest party in the parliament.

“The Palestinian National Council (PNC) will convene on April 30th, to discuss challenges to the Palestinian cause, especially after the U.S. decision against Jerusalem,” PLO official Wasel Abu Youssef told Reuters, using parliament’s formal name.

He said the decision to hold what he called a “regular session” of parliament in Ramallah, in the West Bank, was taken at a PLO Executive Committee meeting chaired by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.


Abu Youssef said members of parliament from the Palestinian territories and in exile would also elect members to the Executive Committee and the PLO’s Central Council to replace several who have died and others, whom political sources said Abbas wants replaced.

The PNC last held a regular session in 1996, in the presence of then-U.S. President Bill Clinton. At that meeting, the parliament voted in favor of amending clauses in the PLO’s charter that advocated Israel‘s destruction.

A Palestinian general election has not been held since 2006, a national ballot won by the Hamas Islamist movement. Hamas seized the Gaza Strip in 2007 from forces loyal to Abbas after a unity government collapsed.

Abu Youssef said invitations for the upcoming meeting would be distributed to members of parliament in Gaza, the West Bank and in exile in the next two weeks. Delegates from outside the West Bank would need Israeli clearance to reach Ramallah, where the session will be held.

 by Reuters and Algemeiner Staff





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