Palestinian groups lay down time frame for national unity plans

All major Palestinian factions including Fatah, Hamas and Islamic Jihad met virtually to discuss major challenges and the need for unity. They have decided to convene a special session of Palestinian Liberation Organization’s Central Council

September 04, 2020 by Peoples Dispatch
PLO Department of Public Diplomacy and Policy Twitter page

President Mahmood Abbas on Thursday, September 3, gave a call for an “inclusive intra-Palestinian national dialogue” for national unity. He was addressing a virtual meeting with secretary-generals of different Palestinian factions in Beirut and Ramallah.

The meeting was also attended by the leaders of Gaza-based Hamas and Islamic Jihad.

He called Fatah and Hamas, the two leading Palestinian factions, to lead the dialogue and end the existing divisions within the movement. He argued that the dialogue should be based on the principle of “one people and one political system.” He appealed to all factions to join the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) to reinforce its status as the umbrella organization of all Palestinians in the occupied territories and in the diaspora in the face of growing challenges.

The final communique included a five-week time frame for charting out plans of unity and for convening a special session of PLO’s Central Council.   

President Abbas identified the three immediate challenges to the Palestinian movement in the form of Trump’s so-called “deal of the century” proposed in January this year, Israel’s proposed annexation of the parts of the occupied West Bank and Israeli allurement of “normalization” of relations with the Arab countries.

Refuting UAE’s normalization of relations with Israel and claims of working for the Palestinian cause, the convening leaders adopted a statement committing to realize Palestinian rights, achieve unity and develop the resistance. The statement also talks about holding elections soon.

President Abbas said that “we have not authorized anyone” to speak on our behalf. “Our national decision is our exclusive right, and we cannot accept anyone speaking in our name” he added.  

The meeting called for a greater Arab unity. It appealed to the Arab countries to reiterate their commitment to the Arab peace initiative according to which no member of the Arab League can normalize its relations with Israel before it ends its occupation of Palestine. Abbas also said that the US cannot be the sole broker of peace in any future negotiations.

Ismail Haniyeh, head of Hamas’ political bureau, while addressing the meeting, called for establishing a political program to end the Oslo peace accords and regain political unity among all Palestinians. The meeting was also attended by the leader of Islamic Jihad Ziyadh al-Nakhalah among others.