Israel may allow DFLP leader to visit West Bank
Palestinians ask Prime Minister's Office to let Nayef Hawatmeh arrive in Ramallah from Damascus for PLO central council meeting; 72-year-old secretary-general of Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine last visited territories in 1967. Israel has yet to make decision on matter
The Prime Minister's Office said that the Palestinians filed a request to allow Hawatmeh to visit the territories, but Israel has yet to make a decision on the matter.
DFLP is an Arab organization which split from George Habash's Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) in 1968 and committed a large number of terror attacks against Israel, including the massacre of schoolchildren in Ma'alot in 1974.
After the Oslo Accords were signed 1993, he expressed his desire more than once to settle in the Palestinian Authority, but was denied entry by Israel. He last visited the territories in 1967.
The PLO central council is scheduled to convene in Ramallah next week to discuss ways to revive PLO institutions in order to overcome the state of paralysis in the Palestinian Authority after Hamas' takeover of the Gaza Strip.
The council is also expected to discuss the paralysis of the Palestinian legislative Council.
The Palestinians reported that Hawatmeh had agreed to return to the territories in order to take part in the conference. PA officials hope that representatives of additional factions will confirm their arrival, as such a move would be considered an achievement for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.
Abbas is expected to meet with representatives and heads of the Palestinian factions in Amman over the weekend in order to invite them to the meeting.
One of the conference's main goals is to make a joint decision stating that the PLO central council will function as the legislative body which will replace the Hamas-controlled Palestinian parliament.
Hawatmeh's participation in the meeting will also be considered an achievement, as Hamas claims that the meeting is illegal due to the long period of time that has passed since the movement's institutions were elected.
According to Hamas officials, the council does not represent the Palestinian people and will mainly be attended by Fatah members and the movement's allies.
Ronny Sofer contributed to the report