Mahmoud Abbas re-elected to lead PLO executive

Mahmoud Abbas re-elected to lead PLO executive

Mahmoud Abbas re-elected to lead PLO executive

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The widely expected reappointment came at the end of a four-day convention in Ramallah that saw the Palestinian National Council choose a new Executive Committee.

Ramallah, Palestinian Territories: President Mahmud Abbas was reelected head of the Palestine Liberation Organization Friday, as the veteran leader seeks to strengthen his control over politics in the occupied West Bank.

His re-election capped the four-day PNC congress, which was held at Palestinian presidential headquarters in the West Bank city of Ramallah.

Last month the PLO's Central Council called on the Executive Committee to suspend recognition of Israel until it recognizes the state of Palestine and halts the building of Jewish settlements on Palestinian land, yet a statement to this effect was not issued by the body during this week's convention.

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He went on to say that Hamas, along with other Palestinian factions, would "work hard to protect the Palestinian national project from the fecklessness" of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

Israel, the European Union, United States and others lined up to criticise his words, which were labelled anti-Semitic.

A number of potential rivals, including Yasser Abed Rabbo, were removed.

"Members of the PLO Executive Committee consulted among themselves and made a decision to elect brother Abu Mazen (Abbas) as the chairman of the Executive Committee", said Azzam Al-Ahmad, a staunch ally of Abbas who was among nine new people elected to the 15-member committee.

A reconciliation deal signed by Hamas and Abbas´s Fatah party in October has collapsed.

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