Hamas, Islamic Jihad slam PLO's upgrading decision
Published: Aug 30, 2009 09:38 AM Updated: May 25, 2011 12:58 PM

Gaza ruler Hamas and the less influential Islamic Jihad movement on Saturday protested against a decision to reform and upgrade the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) made by its executive committee.

The two movements, which are not represented in the PLO, said the decision violates earlier commitments that the organization should be rebuilt and expanded to include all factions under a national agreement.

The PLO, which groups the main Palestinian nationalist factions, is recognized by the international community as the "sole and legitimate" representative of the Palestinian people.

 Fawzi Barhoum, a spokesman for Hamas, said the decision was a unilateral attempt by Fatah, President Mahmoud Abbas's party that dominates the PLO, "to boost the organization's current status" and "is not based on a national Palestinian agreement."

Daoud Shehab, a spokesman for the Islamic Jihad, said the decision by the PLO's executive committee to develop the organization away from Hamas and his movement was "a dedication to the internal split that could widen the gap between the factions."

The decision was made after the PLO appointed six members to the vacant positions of its executive committee, the highest decision-making body of the organization, at a controversial meeting this week that Hamas challenged its legitimacy.

The reform of the PLO is supposed to be discussed at Egypt- hosted meetings among the Palestinian factions. The PLO reform file is one of several issues Egypt is mediating to reconcile Hamas and Fatah.

Hamas has been controlling the Gaza Strip since it routed Fatah- dominated pro-Abbas security forces in June 2007. 

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