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Clinton to work with Abbas as PLO head? Photo: AFP
Clinton to work with Abbas as PLO head? Photo: AFP
 
Hamas parliament head Aziz Duwaik, losing authority? Photo: AP
Hamas parliament head Aziz Duwaik, losing authority? Photo: AP
 
 

PLO plans gov't reform to phase out Hamas

Organization which established Palestinian Authority plans revolution in government institutions – to replace Legislative Council, which includes Hamas, with its Central Council, leaving all the power in PLO heads hands

Ali Waked
Published: 11.14.09, 15:16 / Israel News

Has the PLO come up with a clever solution to the political mess? Ynet learned on Saturday that the Palestinian Authority is currently putting the finishing touches on carrying out a revolution within the Palestinian government institutions, in order to put an end to the paralyzing division, and be rid of the legislative obstacles placed by Hamas.

 

PA sources told Ynet that according to the plan in formation, the role of Legislative Council, which has served as the parliament since the establishment of the PA and is currently ruled by Hamas, will be usurped by the Palestinian Liberation Organization's Central Council, which will become the supreme Palestinian legislative body. Hamas is not a member of the PLO, and it will have no foothold in the council.

 

According to the plan, which is slated to be put in action in January, Mahmoud Abbas' main role will be PLO head, meaning the current president, who recently announced he does not plan to run for another term in office, will remain in the same position he currently fills.

 

However, Abbas will also serve as the PA's temporary acting president, since general elections called for January 24 are likely to be postponed.

 

A final decision on the new political structure is slated to be made during a National Palestinian Council session on December 22.

 

In fact, the PLO's plan is meant to nullify the results of the Palestinian election in 2006 which was one by Hamas, without dismantling the Palestinian Authority. This move, even if met by Hamas resistance, will pull the rug out from under Hamas members, who claim that in the absence of a PA president, this position should be filled by the chairman of the Legislative Council – Hamas' Aziz Duwaik.

 

Message to Israel: PLO is the address

Such a step would mean that the parliament that was elected almost four years ago would be irrelevant, and a Hamas parliament speaker would have no legal status in Palestinian politics. This would leave the reins solely in the hands of the PLO, its chairman and its Central Council.

 

PA sources said on Saturday that in an initial response, shortly after Abbas announced he would not run for anther term as president, US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton said her government would continue to work with him in any role he fills.

 

The sources said Clinton's response means that Abbas will continue to be the United State's partner in the peace process even as PLO chairman, once the limitations of the Legislative Council disappear.

 

This may also be the reason that Hamas has recently been increasingly stating that not only is Abbas no longer a legitimate president, but that the PLO bodies are also illegitimate. Hamas has said that members of these bodies were not elected by the public, but were appointed illegally.

 

The move is also meant to pressure Israel, as it carries with it a certain message to the Israeli leadership – that there is only one address when it comes to the Palestinians, and not a two-headed body.

 

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