I Call for Electing a New National Council, Abu Sitta

Popular Conference for Palestinians Abroad
Share by

| Palestinians abroad |

Dr. Salman Abu Sitta, a member of the National Council and the head of the General Assembly at the Popular Conference for Palestinians Abroad (PCPA), stressed that the legitimacy of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) stems originally from the legitimacy of the [elected] Palestinian National Council and the fact that it represents the Palestinian people, noting that "there is no legitimacy for any of its sessions held under the Occupation’s weapons."

In a message, Abu Sitta called the President of the Palestinian National Council, Salim Zanoun, to dissolve the current Council and to initiate a new election that involves Palestinians around the world.

Dr. Abu Sitta's statement was a response to a message from Zanoun, in which the latter called the members of the Palestinian National Council, including Dr. Abu Sitta, to support the recent decisions of the President of the Palestinian National Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, regarding the dissolution of agreements with the Occupation.

“As an initial step, I suggest inviting no less than 300 figures and popular forces from all over the world to write a first draft of an action plan to save the Palestinian national project. Its goal is to elect a new national council from which a Palestinian leadership will emerge that works to achieve the aspirations of the Palestinian people,” Abu Sitta added.

Read the full letter:

Honorable brother Salim Zanoun

Chairman of the Palestinian National Council

May 23, 2020

God’s Peace and Mercy be upon you

May God protect you and our people from the Coronavirus pandemic, and may He release us from the grip of the Zionist pandemic, which has been strangling us for more than 72 years.

Eid al-Fitr Mubarak

Your statement regarding President Mahmoud Abbas' decision to "dissolve agreements with Israel and all the obligations they provide for,” have reached us, including those seeking to "bringing Arabs, Muslims and the international community face to face with their responsibilities."

The Council’s statement, which you delivered, was concluded thus: "The Palestine Liberation Organization is the sole and legitimate representative of the Palestinian people.”

I will first approach the last paragraph with the correction that the [elected] Palestinian National Council is the sole and legitimate representative of the Palestinian people. As for the PLO, it is the executive body of the Council, which is entrusted with implementing its decisions, while those assigned chairs within it are subject to change and renewal.

Given that every Palestinian is a natural member of the PLO, according to the National Charter, every Palestinian thus must be represented in the National Council democratically. Otherwise, the legitimacy of the members of the Council and the leadership of the PLO would be lost.

The last of the Council’s legitimate meetings was held in Algeria in 1988, after which no other legitimate meeting was set up in a free Arab country. Accordingly, the legitimacy of the Council’s membership and the leadership of the current PLO is questionable. Actually, it is more than questionable as some believe. Your loyal national predecessor, Abdul Hamid Al-Sayih, once said: ‘There is no prayer under the bayonet,’ which means that the meeting of the Council under the Occupation is unacceptable; it is totally rejected. Likewise, dropping some of the provisions of the National Charter in "Clinton's meeting" is also unacceptable and totally rejected. If we recognize the usefulness of the Legislative Council’s elections after 2006, we should also recognize that the term has ended a while ago.

Then, who is representing the Palestinian people today?

More than half of the Palestinian people live in the diaspora, and half of the Palestinian youngsters, both at home and abroad, were born after the Oslo disaster, and they have no voice to represent them.

Our people in Gaza and 1948’s Palestine are not represented either, for reasons that you know. We do not want to explain the conditions of the West Bank (18% of the Palestinian people), for its more proper to say that a small percentage of its [population] considers that the leadership of the PLO represents it, as it is burdened with faults.

This unfortunate situation has been known to the Palestinian people for a quarter of a century, that is, since the Oslo disaster. It is the disaster that has harmed the Palestinian right more than the Balfour Declaration. I should bring to your minds the anger of the Palestinian people over the waste of the rights of the Palestinian people, and the sanctity of its lands, which no person or leadership of any kind is permitted to compromise, making that leadership liable to the charge of treachery.

I also remind you of the articles of Dr. Edward Said, critical of Oslo one month after it was signed. Said was not the only one to criticize. You have seen the many petitions, meetings and conferences that followed the Oslo disaster in London, Europe, Boston, Beirut and Istanbul, and in the whole world this month—all of which demand not to forfeit the Palestinian right and the Palestinian soil, and called for sticking to liberation and return.

The goal of all these gatherings was to adhere to the National Charter and elect a new National Council from which a competent and loyal Palestinian leadership would emerge that possesses the trust of all the Palestinian people, its complete trust, which is lacking today.

I regret to remind you of your attack on these national activities and the accusation you pointed at the people who held them of being agents to foreign entities. I hope this is not your opinion today.

Since the Oslo disaster and the destruction of the PLO’s institutions, as well as the neglect of the democratic components of the Palestinian people, including unions and associations of teachers, engineers, doctors, workers, women, and youth that were the building blocks of the Palestinian edifice, we have been wondering: Who was defending the Palestinian right globally?

The youth, elites, and Palestinian popular forces abroad were doing so, who carried the flag of liberation and return. They are the founders of the boycott movement across the world. They are the ones who have gained friends in human rights, anti-racism and anti-apartheid societies and in some parliaments of the world. They have filled the world's media channels with their voices.

I regret to say that some of the Palestinian ambassadors abroad did not play a small role in this field (with great appreciation to some of them); others, however, were reporting on the Palestinian activity that opposes Ramallah.

Nonetheless, we are a living people. Popular activities on 72nd anniversary of the Nakba and the Coronavirus pandemic were manifested in dozens of meetings this May via internet with unprecedented freedom. Their purpose is to insist on the Palestinian right to liberation and return, and to demand democratic representation, as well as cleaning the Palestinian household with a democratic broom.

I was glad that I participated a few days ago in one of these events organized by more than 30 youth associations representing 600 members (I have their names).

These are the future generation who will carry the flag. If their right to democratic representation is hijacked today, they will regain their right and the consequent accountability and trial for the previous crimes, such as neglecting rights, national, financial and moral corruption, and the biggest of all, cooperation with the enemy.

Therefore, I remind you of your exemplary national role since 1958; I remind you of our interviews and correspondence over 25 years. I also remind you of your role when the PLO’s presidency is left to vacuum; presidency then returns to you until the election of a new national council.

Accordingly, I ask you to dissolve the current council and hold a new election involving the Palestinian people around the world. As an initial step, I suggest inviting no less than 300 figures and popular forces from all over the world to write a first draft of an action plan to save the Palestinian national project. Its goal is to elect a new national council. This requires establishing a small preparatory committee of young people in various geographies, who are all familiar with the existential conditions of Palestinians around the world.

There is no room here to talk about difficulties because they are many but never an obstacle on the path of the sincere national struggle. Those who perceive difficulties as massive, let them keep aside and open the way for others.

The institution of the Palestinian National Council is the Palestinian people’s greatest achievement, and the first duty for all of us is to preserve it, which will not happen if the people seated in its chairs continue thus — they will move away. Preservation originates in the council’s vitality and its renewal with youth.

Our people shall judge those who did well and others who chose the worst.

To you, I offer my warmest greetings

Dr. Salman Abu Sitta

Follow us