Jan 23, 2021
JERUSALEM WEATHER
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas (R) and Palestinian chief peace negotiator Saeb Erekat, signs an application to the U.N. agencies in the West Bank city of Ramallah, Tuesday, April 1, 2014. Abbas signed a request to join 15 United Nations agencies, in a move that could derail a US push to revive faltering peace talks with Israel. (Photo: Issam Rimawi/Flash90)

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas (R) and Palestinian chief peace negotiator Saeb Erekat, signs an application to the U.N. agencies in the West Bank city of Ramallah, Tuesday, April 1, 2014. (Photo: Issam Rimawi/Flash90)

In a further shakeup in the peace process, the Palestinian Liberation Organization’s central council announced that it was planning on pursuing membership to join 60 United Nations bodies and international conventions.

Under the authority of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, the central council “affirms the need for the Palestinian leadership to continue membership of UN agencies and international conventions, under the Palestinian plan that was adopted,” secretary general of the Palestine People’s Party Bassam al-Salhi said in a statement.

The WAFA news agency reported that the central council was also tasked with establishing “the legal center for the state of Palestine,” whose main assignment is to advise PLO leadership.

The council reasserted Palestinian refusal to recognize Israel as a Jewish state, demanding “a complete end to the occupation of the Palestinian state, the illegitimacy of settlements in all their forms, and a refusal of land swaps.” The stance of the council is more extreme than previous Palestinian negotiating positions. Last week, Abbas told journalists that he would agree to “limited land swaps.”

The central council also announced that in order to implement UN resolutions, it would turn to the UN Security council for support.

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On Sunday, Ma’ariv reported that PA officials completed the application process to join the International Criminal Police Organization, known as INTERPOL. If accepted, PA police and security forces would be part of the world’s largest international intelligence and law enforcement agencies.

The latest announcement is the next stage in a move Abbas took last month in which he submitted applications to 15 international bodies seeking recognition as the state of Palestine. Israel said the move was a complete breach of previously agreements between Israel and the Palestinians before the last round of peace talks occurred.

Israel has officially suspended peace talks with the Palestinians after Fatah, the ruling party in the West Bank, and Hamas, the terrorist organization in charge of the Gaza Strip, announced a national unity government. In response to the announcement, Israel has begun implementing various financial sanctions on the PA as well as severing diplomatic relations with Ramallah.

In a speech on Saturday, Abbas told the central council that he would only agree to extend peace talks with Israel if three demands were met: freeze on all settlement construction in east Jerusalem and Judea and Samaria, releasing the fourth batch of Palestinian terrorists from Israeli prison, and an agreement to discuss borders for a future Palestinian state.

“I recognize Israel and reject violence and terrorism, and recognize international commitments,” Abbas proclaimed.