Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Wednesday won the backing of the Fatah Revolutionary Council for his demand that Israel halt construction in the settlements and east Jerusalem as a condition for returning to the negotiating table.

Abbas also announced that he was planning a cabinet reshuffle that would keep Prime Minister Salam Fayyad in his post.

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Abbas had come under pressure from the Fatah Revolutionary Council and the Fatah Central Committee to reshuffle the cabinet so that it would include more Fatah representatives.

The Fatah Revolutionary Council convened in Ramallah to discuss the future of the peace process with Israel and efforts to achieve reconciliation with Hamas.

The three-day meeting will also discuss the internal situation in Fatah, Fatah spokesman Ahmed Assaf said. He added that most members of the council expressed their support for the PA leadership’s position vis-à-vis the peace process with Israel, especially with regards to the need to stop all settlement construction, including in east Jerusalem.


Amin Maqboul, a top Fatah official, said that Abbas briefed the council members on the latest developments surrounding the peace process and the options facing the Palestinians should the negotiations with Israel fail.

In Cairo, the Arab League criticized Israel’s Referendum Law passed on Monday that requires a plebiscite to cede east Jerusalem, the Golan Heights or anything within the Green Line unless two-thirds of the Knesset votes to do so.

Deputy Arab League Chief Ahmed ben Heli warned the legislation would have repercussions on the peace process.

He said Wednesday that the Arab League believed the law shows how the Israeli government is “radicalizing international law and principles of peace process.”

AP contributed to this report.

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