Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.
(photo credit: REUTERS/MOHAMAD TOROKMAN)
The PLO Central Council (PCC) will convene in Ramallah on May 15 to discuss suspending all relations with Israel, including security coordination between Palestinian Authority security forces and the IDF in the West Bank.
PA President Mahmoud Abbas is scheduled to visit several European Union, Arab and Islamic countries before the meeting to brief leaders on the decisions the Palestinians are planning to take ahead of the announcement of US President Donald Trump’s plan for peace in the Middle East, also known as the “deal of the century.”
Abbas will also seek worldwide support for Palestinian opposition to Trump’s upcoming plan, a senior PA official told The Jerusalem Post. On the eve of the PCC meeting, Abbas will also hold meetings with several Palestinian officials to discuss future steps by the Palestinian leadership, the official added.
In a speech before Arab League foreign ministers in Cairo on Sunday, Abbas hinted that the PA was considering rescinding all signed agreements with Israel. Abbas accused Israel of failing to implement the agreements, including the Oslo Accords, and said that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu “does not believe in peace between us.”
The upcoming meeting will focus on Trump’s plan and Israeli measures against the Palestinians, especially the decision to deduct from tax and tariff revenues Israel collects on behalf of the Palestinians, those payments made by the PA to families of prisoners and “martyrs,” the official said.
The PCC is a key decision-making body belonging to the Palestine National Council (PNC), the PLO’s legislative body responsible for formulating its policies.
Last year, the PCC called on the PA to end its security coordination and suspend Palestinian recognition of Israel until it recognizes a Palestinian state.
Mahmoud al-Aloul, deputy chairman of the ruling Fatah faction, said the Palestinians were planning to withdraw their recognition of Israel and halt security coordination during the upcoming PCC session.
“The US administration has chosen escalation in the region after its decision to move the US Embassy to Jerusalem and encourage Israeli settlements,” he told the London-based Al-Quds Al-Arabi newspaper. “Now there are preparations to annex areas of the West Bank. We won’t allow the status quo to continue.”
PNC Speaker Salim Za’noun said on Monday that invitations will soon be sent to Palestinian delegates and representatives of various Palestinian factions to attend the PCC session next month. He said he agreed on the date of the session during a meeting with Abbas in the Jordanian capital of Amman.
PA Prime Minister Mohammed Shtayyeh welcomed the decision to convene the PCC, and said his government was prepared to implement its decisions.
“The circumstances under which the PLO Central Council is meeting are very difficult, especially in wake of the upcoming ‘deal of the century,’” said Fatah Central Committee member Jamal Muhessein. “The Palestinian cause is facing strategic dangers that require all of us to assume responsibility in order to confront this plan, which threatens the future of our cause.”
The PCC meeting, Muhessein said, will discuss mechanisms for implementing previous decisions by PLO institutions to “revise” relations with Israel.
Ahmed Majdalani, a senior PLO official in Ramallah, said preparations were underway to convene the PCC to discuss the challenges facing the Palestinians in wake of Trump’s peace plan. He expressed hope that all Palestinian factions would participate in the meeting, adding that the Palestinians were also acting in the international arena to brief world leaders about the decisions and measures the Palestinian leadership intends to take in response to the deal.
Another PLO official, Wasel Abu Yousef, said the PCC will discuss the future of relations with Israel in the aftermath of previous recommendations by PLO institutions, “particularly in light of American-Israeli schemes to annex settlement blocs in the West Bank and prevent the establishment of an independent Palestinian state.”
Abu Yousef said the PCC will also discuss the “arrangement of the internal Palestinian situation” – a reference to the continued dispute between Fatah and Hamas. He expressed hope that the two rival parties would implement previous “reconciliation” agreements they signed in the past decade.
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