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Palestinian National Council gets new life in Amman

President Mahmoud Abbas’ call for an emergency meeting of the Palestinian National Council to shuffle the PLO’s Executive Committee has met with opposition.
Mahmoud Abbas and parliament speaker Saleem al-Zanoun (L) walks to the tomb of Yasser Arafat after being sworn in as Palestinian president in the West Bank city of Ramallah January 15, 2005. Abbas called for a cease-fire with Israel and talks on a final peace settlement, but the ceremony at the battered West Bank compound was overshadowed by Israel's decision to cut all contacts with the Palestinians after militants killed six Israelis. REUTERS/Chris Helgren  CLH/AA - RTRKKRR

AMMAN — The man sitting outside the plush villa in west Amman looks like an old fighter. Security does not appear to be of much concern in Deir Ghbar, a stable Amman suburb and location of several embassies and diplomatic residences. The chain-smoking guard waves visitors through, into the house of Salim Zanoun, speaker of the Palestinian National Council (PNC), the highest parliamentary body of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), and then directs them to Zanoun's office on the second floor. There's no metal detector, no body search.

The office is full of black-and-white photographs of Zanoun with founders of the Fatah movement, among them Khalil Wazir (Abu Jihad), Salah Khalaf (Abu Iyad) and especially the late Yasser Arafat. A Palestinian flag is perched behind the large office desk, and a huge photo of Jerusalem’s golden Dome of the Rock covers the wall behind it. 

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