Palestinian Liberation Organisation
By MIFTAH
June 02, 2018

Introduction

Twenty years since it last convened, with the exception of the extraordinary session held in 2009 for the purposes of electing a new executive committee for the Palestinian Liberation Organisation (PLO), the Palestinian National Council (PNC) was held during the period 30 April until 03 May 2018.

In light of the recent events there is an importance of reclaiming the PLO as the sole and legitimate representative of the Palestinian people. Additionally, the PNC represents Palestinians in all places of existence. And as the highest authority in the PLO that is responsible for formulation of policies and development of programmes of the PLO towards the realisation of Palestinian inalienable rights of return, independence and sovereignty and statehood, we present this fact sheet on the PLO with a special focus on the PNC.

General Background and Establishment

  • The PNC was established by the First National Conference, which was held in Jerusalem between 28 May and 02 June 1964, in the presence of 433 members.
  • The PLO and its various bodies were also created during the First National Conference, such that:
    • The Executive Committee was created and Ahmad Shukeiri was elected as president.
    • Provide the military (Palestinian Liberation Army), political (Palestinian National Charter), financial (Palestinian National Fund) and administrative (internal bylaws) infrastructure necessary for the functioning of the PLO.

Components and Bodies of the Palestinian Liberation Organisation

  • The main bodies of the PLO are the Palestinian National Council, Palestinian Central Council and the Executive Committee.
  • Palestinian National Council:
    • Represents the legislative authority to all Palestinians in the occupied territory, including Jerusalem, and in the diaspora.
    • The functions of the PNC include:
      • Identification of the policies of the PLO.
      • Election of the Executive Committee of the PLO
      • Determine and change the membership of the PNC.
      • Amend the Palestinian National Charter and internal bylaws through the conduction of extraordinary sessions.
    • The vast majority of Palestinian political factions, including all national factions, alongside trade unions and syndicates, are represented in the PNC, as follows:

      Political Factions:

      Faction
      Seats
      Faction
      Seats
      National Liberation Movement
      49
      Arab Liberation Front
      8
      Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine
      27
      Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine- General Command
      7
      Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine
      17
      Palestinian Popular Struggle Front
      7
      Palestinian Democratic Union
      12
      Arab Palestinian Front
      6
      Palestinian Liberation Front
      12
      Islamic Jihad in Palestine
      5
      Palestinian People’s Party
      9

      Trade Unions and Syndicates:

      Union
      Seats
      Union
      Seats
      General Union of Palestinian Women
      26
      General Union of Palestinian Writers
      8
      Palestinian General Federation of Trade Unions
      18
      General Union of Palestinian Lawyers
      4
      General Union of Palestinian Teachers
      14
      General Union of Palestinian Economists
      1
      General Union of Palestinian Students
      13
      General Union of Palestinian Farmers
      1
      General Union of Palestinian Doctors and Pharmacists
      10
      General Union of Palestinian Artists
      1
      General Union of Palestinian Engineers
      8
      General Union of Palestinian Fine Artists
      1
    • The remaining 498 seats in the PNC are distributed as follows:
      • Independents list: 198 seats
      • Returnees list: 98 seats
      • Palestinian Legislative Council list: 132 seats.
      • Military list: 42 seats
      • Al-Sa’iqa list: 12 seat
      • Higher Council for Youth and Sports: 3 seats.
    • The PNC had six presidents, as follows:
      No.
      Name
      Period
      1
      Ahmad Shukeiri
      1964-1967
      2
      Abdul Muhsen Qattan
      1968
      3
      Yehia Hamoudeh
      1969
      4
      Khaled Al-Fahoum
      1974-1984
      5
      Abdul Hamid Al-Sa’eh
      1984-1996
      6
      Salim Za’noun
      1996-NOW
  • Palestinian Central Council
    • The Palestinian Central Council was established by the PNC in its 11th session in 1973.
    • The Central Council serves as the link between the PNC and Executive Committee.
    • The Central Council currently comprises 124 members of the PNC, including Executive Committee members, political factions, trade unions, syndicates and independent Palestinians.
    • The Central Council acts on the behalf of the PNC if the latter cannot convene.
  • Executive Committee:
    • The Executive Committee represents the executive authority of the PLO.
    • The Executive Committee represents the PLO on the international level.
    • The Executive Committee is elected by the PNC.
    • The tasks of the PLO include the implementation of the policies and decisions of the PNC and Central Council; adoption of the PLO’s budget; and follow-up of the work of its various departments.
    • Members of the Executive Committee head the departments of the PLO, as follows:
      • Jerusalem Affairs Department,
      • Political Department,
      • Military and Security Department,
      • Education Department,
      • Arab Relations Department,
      • Palestinian National Fund,
      • Refugee Affairs Department,
      • Executive Committee Secretariat,
      • Popular Organisation and Mobilisation Department,
      • Negotiations Affairs Department,
      • Youth and Sports Department,
      • Expatriate Affairs Department,
      • Culture and Media Department,
      • International Relations Department and
      • Social Affairs Department.

Major Milestones in the History of the Palestinian Liberation Organisation and Palestinian Cause

Year
Milestone/ Event

1964

·  First PNC session (28 May- 2 June, 1964) in Jerusalem

o   Establishment of the PLO.

o   Election of Ahmad Shukeiri as President of the PNC.

o   Creation of the Executive Committee with Ahmad Shukeiri as President.

o   Provide necessary military, political, financial and administrative infrastructure.

1967

·  Occupation of the West Bank, including east Jerusalem, Gaza Strip, Golan Heights from Syria and Sinai Peninsula from Egypt in six day war.

1968

·  Fourth PNC session (10- 17 July, 1968) in Cairo

o   Election of Abdul Muhsen Qattan as President of the PNC.

o   Election of a new executive committee with Yehia Hamoudeh as President.

1969

·  Fifth PNC session (01- 04 February, 1969) in Cairo

o   Election of Yehia Hamoudeh as President of the PNC.

o   Election of a new executive committee with Yasser Arafat as President.

·  Sixth PNC session (01- 06 September, 1969) in Cairo

o   Representation of the Democratic Front from the Liberation of Palestine in the Executive Committee.

1970

·  Black September events, relocation of PLO from Jordan to Lebanon.

1971

·  Ninth PNC session (07- 13 July, 1971) in Cairo

o   Representation of Arab Liberation Front, Palestinian Popular Struggle Front and Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine in the Executive Committee of the PLO.

1972

·  Tenth PNC session (06- 12 April, 1972) in Cairo

o   Expansion of the membership of the PNC by 50% and allocation of new seats to trade unions and syndicates.

1973

·  Eleventh PNC session (06- 10 January, 1973) in Cairo

o   Creation of the Central Council of the PLO.

1974

·  Twelfth PNC session (01- 08 June, 1974) in Cairo

o   Election of Khaled Fahoum as President of the PNC.

o   Representation of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine- General Command in the Executive Committee of the PLO.

·  Recognition of the PLO as the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people in the United Nations General Assembly.

1979

·  Fourteenth PNC session (15- 22 January, 1979) was held in Damascus instead of Cairo to denounce the signing of the Camp David agreement between Egypt and Israel.

1982

·  Siege of Beirut and relocation of PLO from Lebanon to Tunisia, Algeria, Yemen and other Arab States in August and September.

1984

·  Seventeenth PNC session (22- 29 November, 1984) in Amman

o   Election of Abdul Hamid Al-Sa’eh as President of the PNC.

1988

·  Nineteenth PNC session (12- 15 November, 1988) in Algeria

o   Declaration of Independence of State of Palestine over land occupied in 1967.

1991

·  Adoption and welcoming of Madrid Peace Conference.

1993

·  Signing of Declaration of Principles (Oslo I).

1994

·  Signing of Oslo II and Paris Protocol.

1996

·  Twenty First PNC session (22- 25 April, 1996) in Gaza

o   Election of Salim Za’noun as President of the PNC.

o   Expansion of the membership of the PNC to include Legislative Council members.

o   Repeal and amendment of Articles in the Palestinian National Charter.

1998

·  Endorsement of modification made to the Palestinian National Charter by Palestinian Popular Conference.

2004

·  Election of Mahmoud Abbas as President of the Executive Committee following the death of Yasser Arafat.

2009

·  Twenty Second PNC session (26- 27 April, 2009) in Ramallah

o   Extraordinary session led to the election of the first woman to the Executive Committee of the PLO: Dr. Hanan Ashrawi.

2018

·  Twenty Third PNC session (30 April- 2 May, 2018) in Ramallah

o   Election of a new executive committee with Mahmoud Abbas as President and the membership of Dr. Saeb Erikat, Azzam Al-Ahmad, Dr. Hanan Ashrawi, Tayseer Khaled, Bassam Al-Salhi, Ahmad Majdalani, Faisal Aranki, Saleh Ra’fat, Wasel Abu Yousef, Ziad Abu Amr, Ali Abu Zuhri, Adnan Al-Husseini, Ahmad Bayoud Tamimi and Ahmad Abu Holi.

 

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