Statement issued by The Palestinian Central Council (PCC) 31st Ordinary Session - Ramallah 6-8 Feb. 2022 The martyr & national leader Jamal Muhaisen Session
The Palestinian Central Council (PCC) of Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) held its thirty-first regular session “Course of developing and activating the PLO, protecting the national project and popular resistance (The course of the martyr national leader Jamal Muhaisen) in the city of Ramallah from 6 - 8 February, 2022. The inauguration was with playing of the Palestinian national anthem and the recitation of Al-Fatihah verses in sympathy for the souls of the martyrs of Palestinian people.
The session was opened by Father Constantine Qarmash, Deputy Speaker of Palestine National Council (PNC), who read the speech of Mr. Saleem Al-Za’anoun, the Speaker of Palestine National Council (PNC) in which he called for strengthening the people’s confidence in the national project and leadership, and handing over the banner to the youth who belong to the homeland and willing to sacrifice to continue the march to achieve the Palestinian goals of self-determination, return and the establishment of the independent state, with East Jerusalem as its capital.
What we need today, as we face the colonial and settler attack, is to strengthen our popular resistance, and to defend the Arab, Islamic and Christian identity of Jerusalem, the capital of our state (Palestine), Mr. Al-Za’anoun added, our institutions are working from the roots of strength, and our men who are inspired by the determination and belonging to the glorious goal “Palestine”, The international community has failed to assume its responsibilities in implementing its decisions and ending the occupation of our land, and in light of the reluctance and procrastination of the US administration to fulfill its obligations and the Security Council not assuming its responsibilities, it has become inevitable to take the appropriate decision to respond to this open Israeli war against our existence, and to start practical measures to break the restrictions of moving from (Palestinian Authority) stage to embodying (Palestine state) stage, noting that the continuation of the Palestinian divide has seriously damaged the fabric of our national unity. The party that caused this division must work to implement the reconciliation agreements and engage in a comprehensive national unity within the framework of PLO, the sole legitimate representative of our people, Mr. Al-Za’anoun added.
At the conclusion of Mr. Al-Za’anoun’s speech, Father Constantine Qarmash submitted his resignation from the Presidency of the National Council in solidarity with PNC Speaker, saying that: I am proud of the period of our joint work, whether when I am in the Presidency of PNC as a Deputy Speaker or before when I was a PNC member only. He concluded his speech by saying that the Palestinian people are Muslims and Christians stand united in defending the legitimate rights of Palestinian people, and at the forefront of the legitimate rights is ending the Israeli occupation and establishing the independent Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital, including its Christian and Islamic sanctities.
PNC heard a comprehensive and important speech by President Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen). PNC adopted the President’s speech as a document for this session, in which the speech stated: “The PLO institutions must be preserved and activated as the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people, emphasizing the independent national decision and adhering to our national constants as they are in the Declaration of Independence and the decisions of PNC in 1988”.
The President stressed the importance of preserving our national achievements, continuing to build the institutions of our democratic state, adhering to the rule of law and freedom of expression, applying standards of transparency, accountability and combating corruption, strengthening partnership with civil society and the private sector, supporting creativity, empowering women and youth, and strengthening the judiciary. The President added, East Jerusalem will remain the eternal capital of the State of Palestine, and we will continue to support the steadfastness of our people, and we call for peaceful popular resistance in defense of our identity and existence, and we praise the uprising of Jerusalem and Sheikh Jarrah and the heroism of our people in villages, cities and camps. We will not accept the continuation of the occupation and its colonial practices that perpetuate apartheid and terror carried out by settlers, The President Abu Mazen said:
The massacres of the Zionist gangs against Palestinian people in 1948 are not subject to obsolescence. He called on the international community to implement all of what was stated in the Amnesty International report, which represents an important step towards revealing the truth about the Israeli crimes against our people, and said: We affirm our support for the steadfastness of our people in the camps and diaspora, and to defend the right of return and compensation in accordance with international legitimacy resolutions, and we still remember the Balfour Declaration, so the world has an opportunity to assume its responsibilities towards the Palestinian people, especially the countries that caused the tragedy of the Palestinians.
PNC listened to Mr. Muhammad Baraka, Head of the Arab Follow-up Committee (Inside Israel), and Mr. Ayman Odeh, Head of the Joint List, who emphasized the unity of the Palestinian people and their national cause, and strongly called on all Palestinian factions, and all the forces and activities of the Palestinian people to strengthen their national unity in )PLO( the only legitimate representative of Palestinian people, and adherence to democratic dialogue as the only means to resolve differences and discrepancies within )PLO( frameworks and institutions. They stressed the importance of restoring national unity and ending the hateful divide that inflicted the most serious damage to the Palestinian cause, and that the policy of discrimination applied against the Palestinian people must be confronted, whether in the occupied Palestinian territories or the (inside 1948) Palestinian territories, and to stop demolishing citizens’ homes and confiscating their lands across the Green Line territories (inside), where there are demolition of unrecognized homes and communities that are deprived of their most basic rights. They called on the international community to implement its decisions on the Palestinian issue, and the necessity of ending the occupation of the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967 and establishing an independent Palestinian state.
Dr. Muhammad Shtayyeh, Prime Minister of the State of Palestine delivered a speech in which he reviewed the difficult economic and living conditions facing Palestinian people, and the financial crisis facing the Authority’s budget due to the brotherly Arab countries’ failure to abide by the decisions of the Arab League and implement their commitments. He expressed his heartfelt thanks to brotherly Algeria for the recent support of one hundred million dollars, which helped the government in alleviating the crisis and disbursing the salaries of employees, as well as reviewing the difficult health conditions, and what the government has done to face the Corona pandemic, as well as in other domains, especially improving living conditions and overcoming the financial crisis. The Prime Minister assured that there would be no increase in taxes.
Dr. Muhammad Shtayyeh also spoke about his participation in the African Union Summit as a representative of the President, expressed Palestine's thanks to the African Union for the decision of the African Summit to postpone the issue of Israel's admission in the African Union as an observer member for a year, and to suspend the previous decision which was taken by the Secretary-General in this regard.
After completing the speeches at the opening session, PCC unanimously approved the agenda, and also approved the list of women’s quota for membership in the PCC, according to the list submitted by the Executive Committee, the number of its members reached 34 of females who are members of PNC. The percentage of women's representation in the PCC increased to 25%.
In light of the resignation of the Presidency Office of PNC, a new committee was elected to head PNC in accordance with the PNC’s bylaws, where Mr. Rawhi Fattouh was elected as the Speaker of PNC, Mr. Ali Faisal and Mr. Musa Hadid as Deputy Speakers, and Mr. Fahmi Za’areer as Secretary.
President Mahmoud Abbas commended the efforts made by the former PNC Presidency Office headed by the national leader Mr. Saleem Al-Za’anoun, the two Deputy Speaker, martyr Mr. Tayseer Qub’a and Father Constantine Qarmash, and Mr. Muhammad Sobeih, the Secretary. Amid the applause of the members, the president announced his decision to award Mr. Al-Za’anoun the Star of Honor Medal of the highest degree, and to award the strugglers Mr. Qub’a, Father Qarmash and Mr. Sobeih the Jerusalem Star Medal.
In the third meeting, the PCC elected three new members for the Executive Committee:
- Mr. Hussein Al-Sheikh on behalf of FATAH movement, in the place of the late Sa’eb Erekat.
- Dr. Muhammad Mustafa is independent.
- Mr. Ramzi Rabah on behalf of the Democratic Front, in place of Mr. Tayseer Khaled, who resigned from his position.
- Dr. Ramzi Khouri, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the National Fund, and according to the system, Dr. Ramzi Khouri becomes a member of the Executive Committee.
The President awarded Mr. Tayseer Khaled, the former member of the Executive Committee, the Medal of the Star of Honor of the highest degree, for his national role that spanned for decades in the national movement and the PLO.
During the PCC meeting, an undercover special force of the Israeli army carried out a cowardly assassination of three Palestinian strugglers in one of the "Al-Makhfiya" neighborhoods of the city of Nablus. They are the martyrs: Muhammad Al-Dakhil, Ashraf Mubaslat, and Adham Mabrouka. PCC condemn and denounce the cowardly operation carried out by the Zionist occupation army. PCC reiterates the need for the international and Arab community to denounce and condemn this heinous operation, and to expedite the implementation of the resolutions of international legitimacy and the Arab Peace Initiative to provide protection for the Palestinian people and end the Israeli occupation of the land of the Palestinian state.
After discussing the agenda items by the members of PCC, especially the political situation, PCC took a number of political and organizational decisions, the most prominent of which are:
First: The relationship with the occupying power (Israel)
In view of the continued denial by the occupying state (Israel) of the signed agreements, and its persistence in the accelerated seizure of the land of the State of Palestine in an attempt to obstruct the achievement of the independence and sovereignty of the Palestinian people on their land, in accordance with the resolutions of international legitimacy, and in confirmation of our previous decision, that the transitional phase stipulated in the signed agreements and the commitments it entailed no longer exist, PCC decides:
Ending the commitment of PLO and the Palestinian National Authority to all agreements with the occupying state (Israel), foremost among them:
- Suspending recognition of the State of Israel until it recognizes the State of Palestine on the June 4, 1967 borders, with East Jerusalem as its capital, and halting settlement construction.
- Stopping security coordination of all various forms.
- Determining practical pillars to continue the process of transition from the stage of (Palestinian National Authority) to the stage of the (sovereign state).
- Rejection of the economic peace project, the plan to reduce the conflict, and the confidence-building measures proposed by Israel as an alternative to permanent and just peace by establishing a Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital, stopping colonial settlement and swallowing up the land of the Palestinian state.
Second: The relationship with the United States of America and the international community:
1) Rejection of the (Deal of the century) announced by former US President Trump, including the US decision to recognize unified Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, transfer the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, and our refusal to continue doing so.
2) Calling on the US administration to implement what President Biden and his Secretary of State Blinken said about his administration’s commitment to the two-state solution, stopping the Israeli settlement expansion, stopping the policy of forced expulsion of Palestinians from Jerusalem neighborhoods, preserving the historical situation in Al-Aqsa Mosque and its squares, stopping the Israeli violations of the Islamic and Christian sanctities, the emphasis on stopping unilateral actions, the reopening of the American Consulate in East Jerusalem and the reopening of PLO representation office in Washington, and refusing to keep President Biden’s pledges theoretical without implementation, that we demand President Biden to move pledges into practices. And not to link it with the approval of the occupying country, so we ask President Biden not to delay the implementation.
3) Calling for urgent international action that begins with the meeting of the International Quartet at the ministerial level, the issuance of a statement confirming the two-state solution, the illegality of settlements and its immediate cessation, rejecting all unilateral practices and ending the Israeli occupation of the land of Palestine with East Jerusalem as its capital, and demanding the countries of the world that are keen on the two-state solution and have not yet recognized the State of Palestine to do so.
4) After reviewing the vision of President Mahmoud Abbas, which he presented to the Security Council on February 20, 2018, the PCC affirms that the US administration, with its decision regarding Jerusalem, has lost its capacity as a mediator and sponsor of the peace process, and affirms our rejection of the unilateralism of any party in sponsoring the peace process. In light of that we reiterate the call for holding an international peace conference, with full powers on the basis of international law and resolutions of international legitimacy, and under the collective international sponsorship of the five permanent members of the Security Council, expanding the circle of participation in it to include other parties according to what is agreed upon, establishing an international protection mechanism for the occupied Palestinian territories, including East Jerusalem, to protect the Palestinian people from the oppression of the Israeli occupation and its criminal practices in all its forms and tools, and with the aim of the international conference coming out with resolutions to end the Israeli occupation, remove colonial settlements and enable the State of Palestine with East Jerusalem as its capital on the 1967 borders to practice its independence and sovereignty, solve the issue of refugees on the basis of General Assembly Resolution No. 194, the release of prisoners, and the resolution of all other issues in accordance with the resolutions of international legitimacy and international law with a specific time limit.
5) Emphasizing the illegality of colonial settlement, the necessity of an immediate halt to the construction and expansion of settlement, the walls of annexation, the forced displacement of the Palestinian population and the demolition of their homes, the demand of the UN Security Council to assume its responsibilities towards implementing Security Council Resolution No. 2334 of 2016 and the Fourth Geneva Accords, reaffirming support for the international boycott movement (B.D.S) to boycott the occupying country and invite the free people of the world to join the movement.
6) Activating the follow-up to what the Israeli occupation authorities are committing to hold them accountable before international legal bodies, including the International Criminal Court, the International Court of Justice, and the Human Rights Council, and to demand the international community to condemn and punish the Israeli occupation authority that practices racism and apartheid against the Palestinian people. PCC expresses its appreciation for the report recently announced by Amnesty International, which affirmed that what Israel is doing against the Palestinians is a war crime against humanity, and Israel should be held accountable for the crime of apartheid, and that the Israeli regime is a regime of oppression and apartheid.
7) Demanding the international community to pressure the Israeli occupation authority to end the procedures for destroying the Palestinian economy, seizing lands and natural resources, seizing Palestinian money, freedom of mobilization of Palestinian people, stopping operations to change the character and identity of the city of Jerusalem and restricting its people, and the need to work to end the unjust siege on Gaza Strip and calls for not placing obstacles in the way of reconstruction and supporting the steadfastness of our people there. PCC also affirms the right of our people to take practical steps to achieve the economic independence and freedom away from the economic dependence relationship enshrined in Paris Protocol.
Third: At the Arab level
The Arab summit in Algeria is approaching, there is an urgent need to restore the mechanisms of joint Arab action and activate the decisions of the Arab summits on the Palestinian issue, especially the commitment to the Arab peace initiative in text, spirit and sequence, is embodied. There is no recognition or normalization by the Arab and Islamic countries except after ending the Israeli occupation and establishing an independent Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital on the occupied Palestinian territories on June 4, 1967, as well as providing financial support for the budget of the Palestinian state and securing the Arab safety net for it.
Fourth: At the national level
1) Since PLO is the legitimate and sole representative of the Palestinian people, we call for the need to continue protecting it, developing and activating its institutions and departments, and straightening the relationship between it and the Palestinian National Authority and its institutions, considering PLO the reference for the National Authority, PCC expresses its appreciation for the efforts that the Palestinian government takes to care for the Palestinians, economy, health, education and social affairs.
PCC affirms its support for the government in its strategy aimed at the disengaging from the occupation, and strengthening the steadfastness of our people on the land of the Palestinian state, with East Jerusalem as its capital.
2) The necessity of continuing to work on adapting the legal status of the institutions of the Palestinian state and its international relations, in implementation of General Assembly Resolution No. 67/19 of 2012 regarding recognition of the State of Palestine as an Observer Member of the United Nations.
3) PCC commends the struggle and steadfastness of Palestinian people in East Jerusalem, the eternal capital of the State of Palestine, and stresses the continuation of work to support its steadfastness, support national institutions in East Jerusalem, protect our Christian and Islamic holy sites, and thwart the policy of ethnic cleansing carried out by the occupying power. PCC affirms the unification of the political and national references under one reference led by the (Jerusalem Affairs Department) in the PLO Executive Committee, to furnish Jerusalem with the capabilities and credits it may need, and work to urge Arab and Islamic countries to fulfill their obligations towards Jerusalem.
4) Emphasizing the continuation of the struggle to solve the problem of refugees, displaced persons and deportees, and obtaining their rights to return and compensation in accordance with United Nations Resolution No. 194, emphasizing the role of UNRWA and continuing its tasks in accordance with its establishment resolution No. 302 of 1949, and not dealing with any framework that is not consistent with the decision of establishing UNRWA. PCC affirms the continuation of efforts to take care of refugee camps abroad and the diaspora, especially refugee camps in Syria and Lebanon, and follow up on Palestinian communities in all their places of residence abroad.
5) Uphold the full rights of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli occupation prisons and work to release them all, continue to support and care for the families of the martyrs and prisoners, continue caring for the wounded and issue special laws for them and reject any attempts to detract from them, as they are strugglers for the freedom, independence and sovereignty of their homeland.
6) Emphasizing the right of our Palestinian people to resist the occupation in all forms of resistance in accordance with what is guaranteed by international law, charters and resolutions of international legitimacy, and providing full support for the popular resistance and its needs to confront settlers’ attacks and occupation plans, and the necessity of working to intensify and spread it on a large scale to reach comprehensive national disobedience, and activating the work of the unified national leadership of the popular resistance
7) Continuing to work on the unity of our land and people, ending the division, and forming a government of national unity. The forces participating in the government are committed to international legitimacy and the national scheme represented in the Declaration of Independence in 1988 in line with the National Accord Document signed in 2006, reconciliation and efforts to end the division. PCC also stresses the holding of presidential, legislative and National Assembly elections, breaking the Israeli veto over holding them in East Jerusalem, the capital of the Palestinian state, holding local government elections in its second phase, and calling on Hamas not to place obstacles in the way of holding elections in Gaza Strip, as well as for the elections of unions, syndicates and universities in accordance with the law.
8) PCC also expresses its appreciation to brotherly Algeria for its initiative to invite the Palestinian factions prior to the Arab summit for dialogue with them, to formulate a formula on its part to agree on it with the aim of ending the division in the Palestinian arena, and strengthening national unity within the framework of PLO, the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people. PCC urges all factions and forces to assume their national responsibilities, agree to implement the agreements and understandings that were made to end the division, and respond responsibly to the efforts of Algeria, as well as Egypt, which sponsored and exerted a distinguished effort in its dialogue with the factions until reaching the 2006 Cairo Declaration and the Reconciliation Agreement 4th of May 2011 and Cairo Declaration on 2nd of Oct. 2017. It is necessary to have the sincere will of all forces in order to achieve the utmost goal of ending division, reconciliation and national partnership, and strengthening national unity within the framework of PLO in order to confront the dangers to which the Palestinian cause is exposed.
9) Full support for the independence and development of the judiciary, support for law enforcement agencies and all security forces, the fight against corruption, and applying administrative control to achieve justice, security, transparency and accountability, to guarantee freedom of expression and demonstration in accordance with the law. We have to distinguish between criticism and defamation, strengthening the home front, moving away the dispersal of the Palestinian effort, devotion to getting rid of the occupation, stressing the importance of engaging in constructive dialogue in order to promote civil peace to continue building the state institutions, preserving its modernity and democracy, and adhering to the rule of law, and guarantee citizenship rights for all.
10) PCC calls for the speedy issuance of the Personal Status Law and the Family Protection Law, and stresses the completion of the implementation of its decision to represent women by 30% in PLO bodies, and institutions of the State of Palestine. PCC stresses the importance of the role of young men and women in the process of building state institutions and the process development and construction.
11) PCC decides to expedite the reformation and activation of the popular organizations, and assigns the Presidency of the Council to follow up the implementation of this decision. PCC affirms trade union freedom in compliance with the International Labor Convention.
12) PCC affirms that culture and creativity are two necessary bridges in the context of protecting the national identity based on the glorious heritage. Palestine - culture and consciousness - continues its response to the Israeli occupation narrative through Palestinian deep culture, emphasizing the role of writers and authors in the homeland and the diaspora in the battle in national liberation, and preserve and protect Palestinian heritage.
13) PCC decided the necessity of exercising its constitutional powers and oversight jurisdiction over the executive bodies and institutions in PLO, the Palestinian National Authority, and the work of unions, societies and associations in accordance with the laws regulating their work.
14) PCC also decided to request the Presidency of PNC and the Executive Committee to work on restructuring PNC, with no more than 350 members, in accordance with PNC elections law approved by the Executive Committee and approved by the President of the State of Palestine, and addressing the necessity of expediting the implementation.
Based on the Declaration of Independence in 1988 and United Nations Resolution No. (19/67 of 2012), PCC declares that the State of Palestine is the only sovereign on Palestinian land according to the borders of June 4, 1967, with East Jerusalem as its capital, and that the presence of the occupation, its army and settlers on the land on the State of Palestine is an illegal existence that should be ended immediately. International protection for the Palestinian people should be provided on the territory of their state so that they can exercise their full sovereignty.
PCC instructs the Executive Committee to reformulate the institutions of the National Authority in a manner consistent with the embodiment of the sovereignty of the State of Palestine on its land.
PCC assures the Executive Committee to submit periodic reports on PCC sessions, which must be organized according to the PCC’s internal bylaw to implement this decision and other decisions it has taken.
PCC instructs the Executive Committee to put in place the appropriate mechanisms to implement these decisions in accordance with the high national interest of the Palestinian people
Palestinian Central Council (PCC)
Ramallah – Palestine
6-8 Feb. 2022