The Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) parliament is preparing to hand its authority over to a smaller council in a move seen as a concentration of power in the hands of President Mahmoud Abbas's loyalists. The Palestinian National Council agreed yesterday to grant the 115-member Central Council authority to assume the political body's powers, such as appointing a successor to the 83-year-old Palestinian leader and resolving the decade-long rift with the rival Hamas party ruling Gaza. Abbas aide Ahmad Majdalani says the move will "make it easier for the PLO to handle political developments, and to fill any vacuum in PLO positions."
The Palestinian National Council, which met this week for the first time in over two decades, was set to formally announce the measure yesterday evening.
During the four-day conference, Palestinian President Abbas also told the PLO Parliament, that he plans to take unspecified "tough steps" soon against Israel and the United States. Abbas told hundreds of delegates that he is sticking to his rejection of any U.S. proposals for an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal following the Trump administration's recognition in December of contested Jerusalem as Israel's capital and a decision to move the U.S. Embassy there in mid-May.
Abbas also appeared to dismiss media reports quoting Saudi Arabia's powerful crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, as saying the Palestinians should stop complaining and accept what they are being offered by the Trump administration.