Senior PLO Official Resigns, Slams Abbas, Calls For Political Reforms

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In this Sept. 19, 2011, file photo, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, right, is greeted by Hanan Ashrawi, left, legislator and activist, as he arrives at his hotel in New York, to attend the 66th General Assembly session of United Nations. Ashrawi, a veteran senior official in the Palestine Liberation Organization, announced her resignation on Wednesday, Dec. 9, 2020, saying the Palestinian political system needs “renewal and reinvigoration.” (AP Photo/David Karp, File)

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Hanan Ashrawi, a veteran senior official in the Palestine Liberation Organization, announced her resignation on Wednesday, saying the Palestinian political system needs political reforms.

Ashrawi, a member of the PLO’s decision-making executive committee, said she had informed President Mahmoud Abbas last month of her intention to leave at the end of the year. But after word of her resignation leaked out, she said Wednesday she was stepping down immediately.

In a statement, Ashrawi, 74, said it was time for reforms in the PLO, adding that the PLO’s Executive Committee has been excluded and marginalized from decision-making. She also called for a more diverse leadership.

The 15-member Executive Committee is the PLO’s most senior body but is rarely convened by Abbas.

“The Palestinian political system needs renewal and reinvigoration with the inclusion of youth, women, and additional qualified professionals,” she said. “It is incumbent upon us all to assume our individual responsibilities and to carry out our duties with honesty and integrity, including by facilitating this needed change.”

In recent years, Ashrawi had become a vocal critic of the 85-year-old Abbas’ autocratic rule and reliance on a small inner circle of men in their 70s and 80s.

Ashrawi is not the only critic of Abbas, who has been accused of letting Palestinian political entities stagnate. Furthermore, elections in the PA, both for the presidency and parliament, haven’t been held in over ten years.

Ashrawi, who holds a doctorate in comparative literature from the University of Virginia, is a fluent English speaker who was the first woman elected to the Executive Committee in 2009.

She said she would continue to serve the Palestinian people “in every capacity, albeit outside public office.”

(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem & AP)

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