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Committee agrees to separate PLO, PA parliaments
Published Sunday 15/01/2012 (updated) 17/01/2012 10:45
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Demonstrators attend a rally demanding national unity in Bethlehem.
(MaanImages/Haitham Othman, File)
GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Islamic Jihad leader Khalid al-Batsh said a PLO reform committee meeting in Amman on Sunday agreed to separate the PLO legislature from the PA parliament, in moves intended to make the organization more representative.

Palestinian Legislative Council members, elected in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, can no longer take positions in the PLO's Palestinian National Council, which was established to represent all Palestinians, including the Diaspora, according to al-Batsh.

Committee members agreed to elect members of the PNC by proportional representation, and separate the process from PLC elections, he said.

The number of PNC members was also agreed, he said, without elaborating.

The meeting comes amid calls from Palestinian youth to demand the enfranchisement of all Palestinians through direct elections to the PNC.

Palestinian democracy activists have been increasingly vocal about the lack of transparency surrounding the discussions, and met days earlier in cities across the world to discuss the matter.

They are asking for basic transparency such as a list of the current members of the PNC. They also want future discussions broadcast on live television so Palestinians can follow the talks and hold their leaders accountable.

Freedoms still pending

The Islamic Jihad leader also sits on the public freedoms committee established in the wake of the May 2011 reconciliation deal between Palestinian factions to end four years of bitter rivalry and divided governments in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

Newspapers banned due to perceived rival-affiliations by the respective governments will begin distributing freely in the next two days, he said.

He added that the committee is continuing to press for the release of all prisoners in the West Bank and Gaza detained based on their political affiliation.

Al-Batsh told Ma'an last week the committee agreed to free political prisoners and end the newspaper bans on Sunday, saying the date would be the real test of both sides' will to end the rivalry and implement the deal.

Nearly eight months later, many of the key tenets of the reconciliation deal have yet to be implemented.
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1 ) Yehuda Solomon / Israel
16/01/2012 01:45
What BRILLIANT progress !!! ... So now there will be TWO Palestinian Parliaments (legislatures) the Palestinians will have to cope with: The PA Parliament (Palestinian Legislative Council) and the PLO Parliament (Palestinian National Council). The PLO Parliament (Palestinian National Council) will even take responsibility for also representing Palestinians who live and work OUTSIDE Gaza and the W. Bank !!! THAT'S PALESTINIAN "UNITY" FOR YOU !!!

2 ) southparkbear / usa
16/01/2012 04:35
this is great new. not a state but PLO, PA, PNC......and all the sub-committees. hey that's more than 10 countries together

3 ) Mark of Lewiston / USA
16/01/2012 06:40
Should make an interesting case study. Have they agreed on a separation of powers between the PA and PLO? And will that be set out for all to see? This is true pioneering political work. Not sure it has even been attempted under an occupation before.

4 ) Nour / One-State
16/01/2012 09:10
A step in the right direction.

5 ) elias / palestine
16/01/2012 13:33
@maan .good to hear the news from islamicjihad

6 ) EE / UK
16/01/2012 15:24
Great news, but there are some questions remaining: if palestinians to have two parliaments now, when they do not have a state - how many parliaments will they have when or if they have a state? Three, four or maybe five is a right number? And again - who will pay? EU, UN, USA?

7 ) nour / 1 gaza
16/01/2012 16:45
i agree with auchtie. each body steps in the right direction according to their concept. the net outcome either zero gain of a loss

8 ) @ Nour #4 / USA
16/01/2012 18:47
You are totally right, that this is "a step in the right direction" !! However, if you believe, that either the PLO or Hamas would submit to PA Parliamentary decisions like both factions must become either Islamic or accept living along-side a Jewish state, then you are seriously deluding yourself !!!

9 ) No-Nour / No-State
16/01/2012 19:22
The goal is - palestinians should have as many parliaments as needed to have every palestinian as a member of one of the parliaments. No other nations on Earth achieved that goal yet. Palestinians will be the first.
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