The 23rd meeting of the Palestinian National Council convened on Monday evening in the city of Ramallah in the center of the occupied West Bank, in the first regular meeting of the council in 22 years.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is expected to deliver a lengthy opening speech at the meeting, which is held under the title, “Jerusalem and the protection of Palestinian legitimacy," in the presence of Arab, Islamic and international delegations.
The four-day meeting is being held without the participation of the two resistance movements Hamas and Islamic Jihad, as they both declined to participate, saying they did not want to attend an event held under Israeli occupation.
Many Palestinian political forces and figures also declined to attend the meeting under Israeli occupation, and without consensus between the Palestinian parties on its program and decisions.
Despite the lack of agreement over the meeting, a statement by the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) stressed the importance of preserving the Palestine Liberation Organization (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 the Palestinian National Council after a 22-year hiatus.
A legislative body that theoretically represents Palestinians at home and abroad, the National Council last met in 1996.
The National Council was originally founded in 1948.