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Islamic Jihad to participate in PLO elections

Jihad pledges to never join the Palestinian National Authority

Gulf News

Ramallah: The Islamic Jihad has decided to take part in the elections of the Palestinian National Council, the legislative body of the Palestinian Liberation Organisation (PLO), but will boycott the Palestinian presidential and parliamentary elections.

The Islamist movement also hopes to play a fundamental role in rebuilding, activating and renovating the PLO, said a top Jihad official.

“The various Palestinian factions should be represented in the PLO as per their real weight on the ground,” Dawoud Shehab, the official spokesman for the Islamic Jihad in the Gaza Strip told Gulf News in an interview.

“We aim at coming up with a new Palestinian leadership that represents the Palestinian public,” he said.

The Islamic Jihad differentiates between the PLO and the Palestinian National Authority (PNA). “The PLO is a main framework which gathers all the Palestinians with all their backgrounds, strategies and policies,” he said.

“The PLO does not have anything to do with the PNA which is not a Palestinian option but an international option which came into existence following the Oslo Accords,” he said. The organisation rejects the Oslo Accords of 1993 that extended de facto recognition to Israel’s right to exist as a state on 78 per cent of historical Palestine. The accords led to the creation of the PNA as a transitional Palestinian government until statehood is established on the remaining 22 per cent of the land, namely the West Bank and Gaza.

“The Islamic Jihad strictly refuses that the PLO dissolves into the PNA,” he said, announcing that the Islamic Jihad will not take part in any future PNA elections.

“The Islamic Jihad will be a part of the PLO; it will remain, however, removed from the PNA,” he stressed.

The Islamic Jihad believes that the elections will be key to rebuilding the PLO, and that every Palestinian has the ultimate right to participate in voting. “It is a basic right for every Palestinian to take part in the elections of the Palestinian National Council,” he said.

“Neither an Arab nor a foreign country has the right to deprive the Palestinians of their basic right to conduct the elections and participate in them,” he said.

Shehab said that the Palestinian factions will discuss at the ongoing Palestinian Leadership Framework in Cairo new mechanisms to secure the participation of all Palestinians, both those inside the Palestinian Territories and in the diaspora.