The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) announced on Wednesday that it would boycott the meeting of the Palestinian National Council (PNC), which will convene on April 30 following the order of Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas.
Rabah Muhanna, a member of the political bureau of the PFLP, told the PA-based Safa news agency that the organization expected that the PNC meeting would strengthen unity in the Palestinian camp, but in practice it could not take place under the current circumstances.
Muhanna noted Hamas and Islamic Jihad's decision not to participate in the PNC meeting, claiming that the PLO is not prepared to implement the reconciliation agreement on all its clauses, including holding general elections for the PLO and PA institutions and integrating Hamas and Islamic Jihad into the Palestinian leadership.
The PNC has not met in regular session since 1996 amid political infighting between Abbas's Fatah party and the Hamas terrorist group, which controls Gaza, though an emergency session of the body was held in 2009.
Mohammad Shtayyeh, an adviser to Abbas, told journalists last week that among the tasks for the April 30 meeting would be a "new political program".
Abbas has sought an alternative to direct talks with Israel and has refused to consider the Trump administration an honest broker for negotiations since President Trump’s December declaration recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
All members of the largely defunct Palestinian parliament are automatic members of the congress even though Hamas is not part of the PLO. Hamas won the last legislative elections in 2006 and thus has 74 members in parliament who are in theory able to attend.
Hamas rejected the timing of the meeting, saying it represented "a blatant departure from the national consensus" and implying its delegates would not attend.