Israel has announced that it will allow some 154 members of the Palestine National Council to attend a meeting in the Gaza Strip at which they are expected to vote on a resolution to revoke the anti-Israel clauses from the Palestine National Covenant.
Prime Minister Shimon Peres said last month that Israel would allow those members of the council who were living abroad, including staunch foes of Israel, to enter areas under Palestinian self-rule to attend the vote on the charter.
Among the 154 PNC members approved by Israel on Tuesday was Leila Khaled, a member of the Damascus-based Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine who in 1969 hijacked a TWA Rome-Tel Aviv flight and in 1970 hijacked an El Al jet.
Khaled, who was born in Haifa in 1944, claims to have since moved away from the militantly anti-Israel Popular Front. She has reportedly been living in Amman with her husband and children and has been working as a teacher.
Others allowed into Gaza reportedly included Abu Ali Mustafa, a deputy of Popular Front leader George Habash, and Ghazi Husseini, the brother of Faisal Husseini, the Palestine Liberation Organization’s top official in Jerusalem.
Foreign Minister Ehud Barak this week explained the Israeli decision to allow the members of the PLO’s parliament in exile into Gaza.
Barak said Israel had only two choices. One was to allow the PNC members into the territories to attend the vote. The other was to refuse entry, which would prevent the PLO from meeting its obligations, under the terms of its agreements with Israel.