Palestine National Council is the supreme legislative representative body for all the Palestinian people inside Palestine and in the Diaspora. The PNC normally sets PLO policies and plans, because it is the highest decision – making body, according to Article (7- a) of the statute of the Palestine Liberation Organization. The PNC composed of independent members, sectors of the Palestinian community, and factions of the PLO, is the sole and legitimate for all the Palestinian people. The Palestine Central Council emerged from the PNC; which elects the members of the Executive Committee of the PLO.
The PNC was established in 1948, when Al Haj Amin AL – Husseni called for the convening of it in Gaza , as the first Palestinian legislative authority on the land of the Palestinian Arab state ; stipulated in the UN resolution 181 in 1947. The Council formed the ( All – Palestine Government ) , headed by Mr. Ahmed Helmi Abdelbaqi , who was the representative in the Arab league until 1959.
The National Council of Palestine was renewed, when the first Palestinian conference was held in Jerusalem, on may 28th to 2nd June, 1964; as a decision of the first Arab Summit, held in Cairo in January 1964; to mandate Mr. Ahmed Al – Shukairy , the representative of Palestine in the Arab league at that time , to contact the Palestinian people and the Arab states in order to establish the Palestinian national entity. Mr. Al-Shukariy stated in his speech,” The people of Palestine meet for the first time in Jerusalem, the eternal city, after the disaster of (Al-Nakbeh) to announce through this conference for all the world, that we are the legitimate owners of Palestine, and our aim is to liberate it”.
22 Sessions of the PNC
Important Sessions and Decisions
- At its first session, which was held in Jerusalem on May 28th, 1964, The PNC, adopted a declaration of the establishment of the Palestine Liberation Organization, and certified on the Palestine National Charter ( Al- Mithaq Al- kawmee Al- Philistini ),In addition the PNC adopted the Statute of the PLO and elected Mr. Al-Shukairy, chairman of the Executive Committee . The Council considers the establishment of the state of Israel a continuous aggression on the land and people of Palestine. The Council confirmed the right of the Palestinian people to struggle for the liberation of their homeland.
- At its third session, which was held in Gaza on May 20th, 1966, the Council decided to establish the Liberation Army, to be the vanguard in the fight to liberate Palestine .Additionally it unified the Guerilla factions, under the framework of the PLO. The Council refused all the projects; which aim to undermine the sole and legitimacy of the PLO to represent all the Palestinian.
- At its fourth session, which was held in Cairo from July 10th to 17th 1968, the PNC decided to separate the position of the speaker of the PNC from the chairman of the Executive Committee, including the election of the entire members of the EC by the PNC.
- At its fifth session, which was held in Cairo from February 1st to 4th, 1969, the PNC was composed of members from all factions, some of the liberation army officers, and independent members. A new Executive Committee was elected, as well as a new chairman, Mr. Yasser Arafat.
- At its 12th session , which was held in Cairo from June 1st to 8th ,in 1974.The PNC adopted a gradual political program , known as the 10-point program, which confirmed the right of our people to have their self –determination , to return and to establish a Palestinian state, with its capital being Jerusalem . Also calling for the establishment of the Palestinian authority on any liberated part of Palestine.
- At its 13th session, which was held in Cairo from March 12th to 22nd in 1977, a decision was taken by the PNC to establish the Palestinian Central Council, as an intermediary body between the PNC and the Executive Committee; every two normal sessions of the PNC. The Central Council was reformed in the 17th session of the PNC, in 1984.
- At its 19th session, which was held in Algeria on November 15th, in 1988, the PNC adopted the declaration of an independent state of Palestine, with its capital being Jerusalem.
- At its 21th session, which was held in Gaza on April 22nd, in 1996, the PNC decided to establish and to enhance the Palestinian National Authority, and reaffirm on the refugees’ right to return to their home land according to the 194 resolution .however the Council decided to reactivate the PLO institutions; and its representative offices abroad.
Palestine National Council’s Presidents
1. Mr. Ahmed Al Shugairi
Mr. Ahmed Al Shugairi was elected Chairman of the Executive Committee (EC) of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and at the same time assumed the presidency (Speaker) of the Palestinian National Council (PNC), in the first session of the PNC (the First National Conference), which was held in Jerusalem May 28 - June 2, 1964, where there was a merger between the two presidencies (EC and PNC), until he submitted his resignation on 25 Dec. 1967.
Transition period: After the resignation of Mr. Ahmad Al-Shugairi, Yahya Hammouda, the member of the Executive Committee, took over as the Vice Chairman of the Executive Committee until the fourth session in which he was elected as the Chairman of the Executive Committee, and continued to run the PNC until the its fourth session.
2. Mr. Abdul Mohsen Al-Qattan: The period from July 1968 – Feb. 1969
Mr. Abdel Mohsen Al-Qattan was elected Speaker of the Palestinian National Council in the fourth session held in Cairo during the period 10 - 17 July 1968. While in the same session, Mr. Yahya Hammouda was elected Chairman of the Executive Committee, where the leadership of the PNC and the presidency of the Executive Committee were separated.
3. Mr. Yahya Hammouda: The period from Feb. 1969 - July 1971
Mr. Yahya Hammouda was elected Chairman of the Palestinian National Council in the fifth session that was held in Cairo during the period 1 - 4 Feb. 1969. In the same session, Mr. Yasser Arafat was elected Chairman of the Executive Committee.
4. Mr. Khalid Al-Fahoum: The period from July 1971 - Nov. 1984
Mr. Khaled Al-Fahoum was elected Chairman of the Palestinian National Council in the ninth session held in Cairo during the period 7-13 July 1971, until the seventeenth session in Nov. 1984. In the same session, Mr. Yasser Arafat was elected Chairman of the Executive Committee.
5. Sheikh Abdul Hamid Al-Sayeh – Nov. 1984 - April 1996
Sheikh Abdul Hamid Al-Sayeh was elected Chairman of the Palestinian National Council in the seventeenth session held in Amman during the period from 11 - 24 Nov. 1984. In the same session, Mr. Yasser Arafat was elected Chairman of the Executive Committee.
6. Mr. Saleem Al-Za’anoun, April 1996 - February 2022
Mr. Saleem Al-Za’anoun was elected Speaker of the Palestinian National Council in the twenty-first session of the “Reconstruction and Independence Session” held in Gaza City during the period 22 - 25 April 1996. In the same session, Mr. Yasser Arafat was elected until his martyrdom in Nov. 2004.
The Executive Committee of Palestine Liberation Organization met on 11 Nov. 2004, and elected the member of the Executive Committee Mr. Mahmoud Abbas to be the Chairman of the Executive Committee as stated in the statute of the PLO, Article (13) paragraphs (a, b, c).
7. Mr. Rawhi Fattouh: 6-8 Feb. 2022
Mr. Rawhi Fattouh was elected Speaker of the Palestinian National Council (PNC) by the Central Council of Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) in the thirty-first regular session “The course of the martyr national leader Jamal Muhaisin, and the course of developing and activating the PLO and protecting the national project and popular resistance, which was held in the city of Ramallah from 6 February 8, 2022.