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PA, PLO to discuss calls to revoke Palestinian recognition of Israel

Saturday's "important" meeting will be chaired by PA President Mahmoud Abbas, Saleh Ra'fat, member of the PLO Executive Committee, told the PA's Voice of Palestine radio station on Thursday.
By Khaled Abu Toameh

PLO leaders are scheduled to hold a meeting in Ramallah on Saturday to discuss recommendations by various Palestinian bodies to “redefine” the Palestinians’ ties with Israel.

At least two key decision-making PLO bodies have called in recent months for revoking Palestinian recognition of Israel and halting all forms of security coordination between the Palestinian Authority and Israel in the West Bank.

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Saturday’s “important” meeting will be chaired by PA President Mahmoud Abbas, Saleh Ra’fat, member of the PLO Executive Committee, told the PA’s Voice of Palestine radio station on Thursday.

Ra’fat said that the PLO leaders will discuss the final recommendations of a special Palestinian committee concerning the future of relations between “Palestine and the Israeli occupation state.”

However, it was not immediately clear whether the PLO Executive Committee would endorse the recommendations.

Last May, the Palestine National Council (PNC), the PLO’s parliament-in-exile, called for revising ties with Israel.

“The relationship between our people and their state with Israel is one that is based on the conflict between our people and our state, which is under occupation, and the occupation force,” the PNC said in a statement issued after its 23rd conference in Ramallah. “The PNC calls for reconsidering all the [Palestinian] obligations that contradict [this stance].”

The PNC also entrusted the PLO Executive Committee with the task of “revoking” the PLO’s recognition of Israel until Israel recognizes the Palestinian state on the pre-1967 lines, rescinds its [1968] decision to annex east Jerusalem and halts settlement construction.

In 1993, the PLO recognized Israel’s right to exist in peace and security, accepted United Nations resolutions 242 and 338, and rejected “violence and terrorism.” The recognition was included in a letter sent by former PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat to then Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin.

The PNC emphasized the need to implement an earlier decision by another PLO body, the PLO Central Council, to halt all forms of security coordination between the PA and Israel.

Earlier this year, the PLO Central Council also decided that the agreements signed between the Palestinians and Israel, including the Oslo Accords, were no longer effective, and reiterated its refusal to recognize Israel as a Jewish state.

On the eve of the PLO gathering, the PA’s Foreign Ministry issued a statement condemning what it called Israeli settlement expansion in the West Bank. It was responding to a report to the effect that Israel had approved the building of 20 new housing units in the settlement of Metzad in Gush Etzion.

The PA ministry claimed that the decision was part of an Israeli scheme to prevent the establishment of a viable and sovereign Palestinian state. It also lashed out at the US administration, saying it was “seriously and publicly involved” in Israeli settlement policies.

The PA ministry denounced recent statements by US Ambassador to the United Nations in support of Israel, and said her position “exposed the magnitude of blind American bias in favor of the occupation and settlements.”

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