Salim Zanoun announces postponement of Palestinian National Council session

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Thursday, September 10, 2015

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Salim Zanoun, chairman of the Palestinian National Council (PNC), announced yesterday at a press conference the postponement of the PNC session by three months, previously expected to take place on September 14 and 15.

The decision to convene the PNC, the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO)’s legislative body, was made due to the resignation of 11 PLO members, including the president, Mahmoud Abbas, this past August, and the need to elect new members.

According to Zanoun, a committee including himself, members of the PLO Executive Committee, and the secretary-generals of Palestinian political factions would meet to discuss the session this coming month. Zanoun also said it was important to “give space to other Palestinian factions to participate in this large responsibility.”

Leading Palestinian factions who boycotted the PNC session, led by Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), have been quick to respond to Zanoun’s announcement. Spokesman for Hamas in the Gaza Strip Sami Abu Zuhri welcomed the decision to postpone the session, saying it was important to discuss reformation of all the PLO’s institutions, the PNC in particular. PIJ leader Khalid Al-Batsh has also welcomed the postponement, describing the move as wise and successful, reflecting national consensus. Al-Batsh called Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian president, to hold a meeting that would see the participation of all Palestinian factions. Al-Batsh expressed his hope that Abbas would arrange with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi to allow the meeting to be held in the Egyptian capital.

The PNC last convened in 1996 in Gaza City.