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What is the Palestinian Central Council?

In 2018, the National Council transferred its legislative powers to the Central Council

Jerusalem24 – Under the title of “Improving and Activating the PLO, Protecting the National Project, and Public Resistance”; the 31 session of the Palestinian Central Council was held Sunday evening, in Ahmad al-Shuqairi hall in al- Muqataaha, despite major boycott by Palestinian factions.

Among the boycotters were Hamas, the Islamic Jihad movement, the Popular front of the Liberation of Palestine, PFLP- General Command, Vanguards of the People’s Liberation Party, the Palestinian National Initiative Movement, in addition to former PLO member, Feminist activist, Hanan Ashrawi. While The Democratic front of the Liberation of Palestine, attended the session, ignoring the huge rejection dividing its party. On the other hand, the Popular People’s Party withdrew from the meeting, after participating in the opening session.

Raouhi Fattouh of Fattah Movement was elected the new president of the council on Monday, following the session on Sunday.

The president’s Opening speech:

President Mahmoud Abbas called, through his opening speech of the Central Council, to expand the scope of peaceful popular resistance, adding: “We have opposed the Deal of the Century, and East Jerusalem will remain the eternal capital of the State of Palestine, and we will continue to support the steadfastness of its people.”

Abu Mazen added during his speech, that the amnesty report is a huge step towards exposing Israel’s crimes against the Palestinians. Saying that the national community is obligated to implement the reports outputs.

What is the Central Council?

Because of the difficulties in convening the full the Palestinian National Council (PNC), the Palestinian Central Council (PCC) was established in 1973 to function as an intermediary body between the PNC and the PLO’s Executive Committee. Palestinian Central Council meetings are chaired by the Palestinian National Council chairman.

The PCC convened in January 2018 following the US decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. As a response to the US decision, the PCC called on the EC to suspend the PLC’s recognition of Israel until it recognizes Palestine as a state, to suspend security coordination between the Palestinian Authority (PA) and Israel, and to work on a multilateral international approach to resolving the conflict. A similar call to cut ties with Israel was made by the PCC in March 2015.

Since April 1996, the Palestinian Central Council has consisted of 124 members drawn from the EC, the PNC, and the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC). The current PCC was elected during a meeting of the PNC in Ramallah between 30 April-3 May 2018, according to information provided by Mapping Palestinian Politics.

National Council president is to be the president of the Central Council.

Central Council duties:

  • Taking decisions concerning issues and cases handed to it by the Executive committee.
  • Discussing and acknowledging executive plans submitted to it by the Executive committee.
  • Following up on the Executive committee execution of the National Council decisions.
  • Reviewing the proper functioning of the organization’s departments, and submitting the necessary recommendations to the Executive Committee.

What does it mean to hold the Central Council in such circumstances?

“The bitter truth is rooted especially since the last session of the National Council which by its decisions killed authorizing the Central Council to all the National Council powers upon it, to a degree where the Central Council chose the president of the National Council, And elect Executive Committee members, in which is of the powers of the National Council. It’s worth mentioning that the last singular session of the National Council did not change the initial system.” writer and political analyst, Hani al-Masri commented.

He adds in an article, “The irony is, the reason for authorizing the Central Council with the National Council duties, is to enable the council to be held regularly, which wasn’t achieved, and can be seen in its irregular meetings, failure of implementing of National’s decisions”.

Three members of the National Council sent a letter to the former president of the National Council previously, expressing their apology for not attending the Central Council session. The letter had the signatures of the independent members: (Dr. Ahmad Jmail Azzam, Dr. Fayhaa Abdelhadi, Muhssien Abu Ramadan).

Few of many political reasons that the three didn’t attend the session according to the letter, are presented in the failure to implement the Central Councils decisions and outputs (2015, 2018), in addition to the National Council outputs in 2018, and the failure of committing to discussing all the meetings agenda. The failure of respecting and improving the PLO and its institutions.

On the organizational level, the three said that ignoring the bylaws of the National Council, and overstepping the National powers, threatens to cancel the initial role of the National Council.

Nadeen Alshaer

Alshaer is a Palestinian journalist, a Birzeit University graduate with a B.A. in TV and Radio Broadcasting Journalism. Alshaer has 6 years of experience in journalism. She currently works as a reporter, editor and presenter/producer for PBC-Palestine TV and Jerusalem24 radio. She’s a UN and Kelley School of Business alumna.

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