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Abbas-centered PNC meeting reaffirms rejection of Trump's plan for Palestinian-Israeli conflict

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With the conclusion of the recent meeting of the Palestinian National Council (PNC), the highest legislative body of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), observers believe its outcomes will further strengthen the Palestinian position against the "deal of the century" to be presented by US President Donald Trump to end the long-running Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

During the four-day meeting in the West Bank city of Ramallah last week, the first of its kind since 2009, the PNC reiterated its rejection of Trump's recognition of the disputed holy city of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, calling for the establishment of a multilateral reconciliation sponsorship beyond the stalled peace talks between Palestinians and Israelis.

"The US government has lost its eligibility as a mediator and sponsor of the peace process and will only be a partner in this process until the cancellation of President Trump's decision on Jerusalem," the PNC said in the final statement of the meeting.

Meanwhile, the meeting also elected 15 new members of the PLO Executive Committee with President Mahmoud Abbas as its chairman, which analysts say will help strengthen the influence of Abbas and tighten his grip on the de facto Palestinian parliament.

The PNC has about 750 members, who represent various Palestinian factions and political powers, as well as unions and other social organizations in the Palestinian territories and abroad.

Since 1964, the PNC has held 22 sessions, with the last two in the Gaza Strip in 1996 and in Ramallah in 2009.

"The completion of quorum for this PNC meeting was a great success in the light of a boycott by major Palestinian factions," Abdul Majeed Sweilem, a Ramallah-based political analyst, told Xinhua.

Strengthening the legitimacy of the PNC at the sensitive and dangerous moment was the most important objective behind, Sweilem noted.

"The PNC proved that it is the only body capable of undermining any alternatives to the PLO," he told Xinhua, referring to the current serious challenges against its legitimacy as the sole representative of the Palestinian people.

The Islamic Hamas movement and the Islamic Jihad group, two Palestinian parties with Islamic backgrounds, did not participate in the PNC meeting as they are not represented in the PLO.

The left-wing Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), the second largest party in the PLO, also boycotted the PNC sessions.

The PNC meeting demonstrates the complete collapse of the Palestinian political system, amid the ongoing internal division between Fatah and Hamas, the two largest Palestinian political parties, according to Georges Jaqman, chairman of the Institute for Democratic Studies in Ramallah.

In addition to election of new members, the PNC announced the expiry of the interim stage in the peace agreements with Israel in its final statement.

Israel and the PLO have signed a series of peace accords and agreements in Oslo, Cairo and Washington since 1993, where both agreed on a transitional period, which ended in 2000 and was supposed to be followed by permanent status peace talks.

"The immediate goal is the independence of the State of Palestine, and this needs to move from the status of self-autonomy to the status of Palestine on the territories of 1967 with East Jerusalem as its capital," read the statement.

"The positions of the PNC have become clear that Israel has exercised enough deception to derail the course of negotiations," Akram Atallah, a political analyst from Gaza, told Xinhua.

But Atallah downplayed the possibility of implementing the PNC decisions on Israel, as the Palestinians are caught in an Israeli ambush that needs "a national genius or a political miracle to escape."

"The agreements signed between Israel and Palestine, including the decision to establish the Palestinian Authority, cannot be separated. Thus comprehensive solutions are the only way out and this is not possible under the current situation," the Palestinian expert explained.

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