The Palestinian Liberation Organization held on Monday the first full session of its Palestinian National Council (PNC), the first since 1996.
The three-day meeting in the West Bank city of Ramallah will elect the 18 members of the PLO's executive committee that effectively forms President Mahmoud Abbas's cabinet.
More than 100 of the 740-member body was absent, including dozens allied to Hamas, who have signed a letter opposing the meeting.
On Saturday Hamas called on Abbas to postpone the assembly until unity was reached between rival factions.
The PNC has not held a regular session since 1996, and last held a special session in 2009.
The meeting comes as relations between Abbas and US President Donald Trump's administration have broken down ahead of the controversial relocation of the US embassy, which is set to open in the divided holy city of Jerusalem on May 14.
That move broke with a decades-old international consensus that the holy city's status should only be determined in negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians.
Palestinians see annexed east Jerusalem as the capital of their future state.
Abbas has billed the PNC meeting as a chance to establish a united front against Israel and the United States.
Nabil Abu Rdainah, a spokesman for Abbas, said it was “a strong message to the whole world that the Palestinian people are committed to their right to establish their independent state.”
This article has been adapted from its original source.
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