The left-leaning Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) on Thursday announced it would not participate in a planned meeting of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO)'s National Council.
“We ask to postpone the meeting, which has been scheduled for the end of this month, and instead work on convening a unified session [i.e., one that includes all Palestinian factions] in accordance with national agreements signed in this regard,” the PFLP, the PLO’s second largest member-faction after Fatah, said in a statement.
“In light of the ongoing lack of agreement between the Fatah and PFLP delegations, we have decided not to participate [in the scheduled meeting],” the statement read.
Since Tuesday, Fatah — which is led by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas — and the PFLP have been meeting in Cairo, where the former has attempted to persuade the latter to participate in the meeting.
In March, Hamas and Islamic Jihad — neither of which is a PLO member — both declined invitations to participate in the meeting, saying they did not want to attend an event held under Israeli occupation.
The National Council meeting is slated to be held in the city of Ramallah in the Israeli-occupied West Bank.
Despite the lack of agreement regarding the meeting, the PFLP in its statement stressed the importance of preserving the PLO as the “sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people” and preempting efforts “to dismantle it or create alternatives to it”.
Early last month, the PLO's Executive Committee announced plans to convene a meeting of the Palestinian National Council — after a 22-year hiatus — on April 30.
A legislative body that theoretically represents Palestinians at home and abroad, the National Council last convened in 1996.
Originally founded in 1948, the National Council includes representatives of all major Palestinian political factions except resistance movements Hamas and Islamic Jihad.