PNC convened to ‘counter the serious conspiracy to undermine the Palestinian cause’

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Palestinians on the Great March of Return on the Gaza border on Friday defy Israeli army snipers and hails of teargas
Palestinians on the Great March of Return on the Gaza border on Friday defy Israeli army snipers and hails of teargas

THE PALESTINE Liberation Organisation (PLO) convened of the Palestinian National Council yesterday in the face of the ‘attacks and conspiracies’ launched by US President Donald Trump. Director of the PLO’s Political Department Anwar Abdul Hadi said on Sunday that the convening of the Palestinian National Council is a great national entitlement that comes at a very important historic stage in the history of the Palestinian cause.

He stressed the importance of convening the national council in light of the ‘attacks and conspiracies initiated by US President Donald Trump’s declaration that Jerusalem is the capital of the occupying state (Israel) and his decision to transfer the US embassy there.’

In an interview with ‘Voice of Palestine’ radio, Abdul Hadi said convening the national council is very important to set out the right plans for the future and counter the serious conspiracy being carried out to undermine the Palestinian cause, which he stressed requires unity.

He said there will be an evaluation for the previous phase, planning future actions at all levels, in addition to renewing the Palestinian leadership to bear the burdens ahead. The Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP) also on Sunday announced its intent to participate in the 23rd session of the National Council scheduled for Monday.

Qais Abdul Karim, DFLP member, said in a press conference in Ramallah that Taysir Khaled is the candidate in the Executive Committee. Abdul Karim said the DFLP emphasises the importance of convening the National Council and called for exerting all efforts to ensure the participation of all factions. He added that it is necessary for all factions to work towards unity and resisting US bias in favour of the Israeli right wing and its declaration to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

DFLP welcomed efforts to end the division and rejected calls to end reconciliation efforts and create new entities to replace the Palestinian Liberation Organisation (PLO). It said the National Council must adopt decisions that favour ending the division and commit to reconciliation.

Head of Hamas information department abroad Raafast Murra cautioned that if the council does not reject negotiations and the US ‘deal of the century’ and does not call for lifting the collective punishment and the blockade imposed on Gaza, it will be a council that only represents itself.

Russian ambassador to Palestine Haidar Aghanin expressed on Sunday his country’s concern over the consequences of the US decision to move its embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv into Jerusalem. He told official Voice of Palestine radio that his country is concerned over this move which contradicts the international law, saying that his country has confirmed this stance to the US administration and other relevant stakeholders.

Aghanin said it was no longer acceptable that only one country sponsors the peace process.

He also called all parties to adhere to international mechanisms. Meanwhile, the occupying Zionist regime was continuing its attacks on unarmed Palestinians taking part in the Great March of Return along the Gaza border.

Abdel Latif el-Hajj, director general of hospitals in Gaza, accused Israel of using types of ammunition aimed at permanently disfiguring their targets. He said the army was using ‘expanding bullets’ that separate inside the body, ‘breaking the bones and blood vessels, causing severe rupturing of the tissue’.

Amnesty International last Friday said some of the wounds appear consistent with bullets that expand inside the body. Such ammunition is considered illegal in international warfare. ‘The nature of these injuries shows that Israeli soldiers are using high-velocity military weapons designed to cause maximum harm to Palestinian protesters that do not pose imminent threat to them,’ an Amnesty statement said.

It accused Israel of ‘deliberate attempts to kill and maim’ protesters. Gaza’s severely limited medical facilities have been stretched thin by the number of injuries. Hajj estimates they have only a few weeks of saline solution and antibiotics left. They also have only around 50 orthopaedic devices, used to support damaged bones or replace destroyed ones. ‘I suspect they will be gone in a week,’ he said on Friday.

Marie-Elisabeth Ingres, head of the Doctors Without Borders mission (MSF) in the Palestinian territories, said she thinks hundreds of people will need costly treatment for months, if not years, with the risk of infection and further amputations if quality treatment is not given. She said: ‘The impact will be long term – not only on the individuals but on the health system, on their families, on the society in total.’

In the West Bank, Israeli forces on Sunday confiscated a bulldozer owned by the Palestinian Ministry of Agriculture as it was working on opening an agricultural road to the west of the town of Dura, south of the southern West Bank district of Hebron, that would connect the town of Dura with its western suburbs through land threatened with seizure by the Israeli authorities.

Mayor of Dura, Ahmad Salhab, said the municipality was working on the construction of an agricultural road to facilitate Palestinian residents’ access to their land and to protect the land from settlement expansion in the area. Israeli forces arrested 16 Palestinians during predawn raids across the occupied West Bank early on Sunday morning, according to the Palestinian Prisoners Society (PPS).

PPS said Israeli army arrested six Palestinians in Bethlehem district, three others from Salfit, three from Ramallah area, and two each from Qalqilia and Tubas districts. Later that day, a Palestinian was shot and injured in the foot with live ammunition fired by Israeli forces along Gaza borders with Israel to the east of Khan Younis city to the south of the Gaza Strip.

Forces stationed along the borders reportedly opened fire at a Palestinian youth who was identified as Saif al-Najjar, after he allegedly approached the border fence near al-Awdeh refugee camp to the east of Khan Younis city, shooting and injuring him in the foot. In Cairo, the Secretary-General of Arab League of Arab States, Ahmed Aboul-Gheit, and French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian discussed on Sunday the latest developments related to the Palestinian issue.

The Spokesperson for the Secretary-General, Mahmoud Afifi, said in a statement that the meeting, held at the headquarters of the Arab League in Cairo, was an in-depth dialogue that focused on a number of regional and international issues, particularly developments in the Middle East and the Palestinian cause. The spokesperson reported on Aboul-Gheit as affirming the Arab position and decisions made in this regard in the recent Arab summit in Saudi Arabia, especially with regard to the status of Jerusalem; which is gaining special importance and sensitivity during the current stage in the light of recent US positions.

The Arab League chief stressed the importance of the role that France can play as one of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council and an active state within the framework of international relations and at the level of the European Union.

He stressed that France has active actions and contacts in support of the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people, adding that France can also pressure the Israeli side to comply with the resolutions of international legitimacy and stop violations committed by the occupation authorities against the Palestinians in the occupied territories.