Palestinians protests against the Palestinian Central Council meeting in Ramallah

Member of the central committee of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, Suheil Khoury, told our reporters that the council was not fulfilling the goal of being a unifying body.

“In our previous meetings in Beirut and the meeting of secretaries-general, we made a commitment that the Palestine National Council should be held in order to represent unity not division,” said Khoury.

“They have moved all issues from the Palestine National Council to the Palestine Central Council and the Palestinian Authority is still active in the Oslo orbit in violation of previous central council decisions.

“They are ignoring the calls of the people and are not making any movement toward the aspirations of Palestinians,” he added.

Khoury told our reporters that senior Palestinian officials offered the PFLP leadership a reinstatement of regular funding and the continuation of the positions of the deputy speaker of the PNC to one of their representatives.

“We refused … to make personal gains on the account of our people,” said Khoury.

The Palestine Central Council began a two-day meeting in Ramallah on Sunday night with the aim of filling a number of positions vacated due to age and resignations.

Hilmi Al-Araj, a leader in the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine — whose faction agreed to attend after a bitter internal fight — told Arab News he hopes the council will take serious decisions that will help unify Palestinians.

“We want to have general elections in 2022 and a genuine effort at ending the division,” Araj said “We need to reaffirm previous decisions and withdraw Palestinian recognition of the occupiers.”

Asked why have previous decisions to end coordination have not been carried out, he replied: “It takes a struggle to implement those decisions.”

Al-Araj said that the DFLP plans to nominate Ali Faisal, one of its politburo members, to the position of deputy PNC speaker.

Jibril Rajoub, secretary of Fatah, told Arab News that the late Saeb Erekat would be replaced by Hussein Al-Sheikh.

Fatah also plans to nominate Gaza-born Rawhi Fattouh to succeed fellow Gazan, and current speaker of the PNC, Salim Zanoun.

Another key position to be filled will be that of Palestine Liberation Organization executive committee member Hanan Ashrawi.

A source in Ramallah told our reporters that Ramzi Khoury, head of the Palestine National Fund, might be nominated to replace Ashrawi, who also published a statement saying that she will not attend.

Dr. Faiha Abdel Hadi, a member of the PCC as part of the quota for independent Palestinian writers and intellectuals, told Arab News that she had apologized for not attending because of the failure of the implementation of decisions taken since 2015.

“After the last session in which I and others were not allowed to express ourselves in the meeting, I published an article in which I asked the question of why previous decisions were not implemented,” she said.

Abdel Hadi argued that if members were not convinced of those decisions, they should not have taken them, adding that she was concerned that the meeting would make unity more difficult.

“This council is being held at a time of controversy and this makes the session difficult. As an independent member we want to be part of unity, not part of a session that is increasing divisions.”

Former Fatah central committee member Naser Qidwa, now the head of the National Democratic Forum, argued that the controversial meeting would make things worse, adding: “They are insisting on holding an illegitimate meeting that will blow up the efforts of unity.”


Arab Observer

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