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
- Mr. Ahmad AL-shukairy ( 1964 – 1967 ):
Was born in Tabneen village, south Lebanon, in 1909.He joined the Arab American University in Beirut .He was expelled from the University, because he led a massive demonstration in protest against the French presence in Lebanon; following this event, the French Authorities decided to expel him from Lebanon in 1927.He died in 1980, after suffering from a terminal illness.
Mr. Abd AL-Mohsen Al Qattan (1968):
Was born in Jaffa city in 1929.He studied economics and politics in the Arab American University in Beirut, received an honorary doctorate degree from Birzeit University. He worked as a teacher in Jordan, as well as in Kuwaiti institutions. On July 10th,1968, in its fourth session, was held in Cairo, he was elected the speaker of the PNC.
- Mr. Yahia Hammudi (1969):
Was born in 1909 in Lifta village (Jerusalem district), he was arrested by the British mandate several times. He became the chairman of the Executive Committee of the PLO, from 1967 – 1969.He was elected the speaker of the PNC in the fifth session, which was held in Cairo in February 1969.He died in Amman, Jordan in 2006.
- Mr. Khalid AL- Fahoum ( 1974 – 1983 ):
Was elected the speaker of the PNC in the second session, which was held in Cairo in June 1974, until the convening of the 17th session of the PNC, held in Amman in October 1984.He died in Damascus, Syria.
Mr.Al-Shaikh Abdel-Hameed AL – Sayeh (1984 – 1996 ):
Was born in Nablus in 1907 ,he obtained the international certificate from AL- Azhar University , he worked in the judiciary and was deported by the occupation authorities from his homeland in 1967.He was elected the speaker of the PNC in the 17th session , which was held in Jordan on October 22th , 1984. He died in Amman in 2001.
- Mr. Saleem AL – Za’noon Abu AL Adeeb :
Was born in Gaza in 1933, he studied law in Cairo University in 1955 , and obtained a postgraduate Diploma in 1957, he also obtained a Diploma in Politics and Economy in 1958.He was a rule of “Criminal Investigation” teacher at the Police College in Kuwait until 1975.He devoted himself to political events , as a member of the Fateh movement Central Committee ,also the representative for Fateh in the Arab Gulf .In the fourth session of the PNC in 1968,he was elected secretary of the PNC bureau . He was elected the first deputy of the PNC in its 20th session, in 1991.In 1996, he was elected by general assent to the president of the PNC, in the 21th session, which was held in Rashad AL – Shawwa Cultural Center, in Gaza. He was the speaker of the PNC for two years by proxy.