The PLO as an organization and leadership are like an old useless car, the only place for it is the junkyard of history. There is nothing there worth fixing. It was used to transport the leadership to richness and fame, but was never used to carry and transport people from exile and occupation to liberation and building a modern nation state. The PLO and its leadership from Arafat to Abbas failed at every thing it set out to do and continues to fail the people.
These days, there is much talks among close circle of self appointed Palestinian leadership (heads of the various factions) and among self proclaimed intellectuals and journalist about the needs to revive the PLO as a way forward after years of being sidelined and junked.
The news from Ramallah is that the leaderships is now busy, beside managing the Jewish Occupation and doing an excellent job at it, is now working on three things. The first is of course September when the leadership is expected to go the to the UN General Assembly and seek recognition of the Palestinian State along the 67 borders (not so sure what will happens to the agreement to exchange territory with Israel where Israel gets prime land in East Jerusalem and for Palestinians to get a toxic waste dump in the Negev).
The second is draft of a new constitution with Abbas issuing a decree (he always rule by a decree) reactivating the commission dormant since 2004 with Dr. Nabil Sha’ath as chairman. I guess this is one marketing trick to convince the world the PLO will run and operate a democratic state and not a corrupt police state as it been running for the last 19 years. No need to go back many years where there was never any accountability or transparency when Arafat as a private company. I hope the new constitution will not end up in the garbage as the one commissioned by Arafat where the late Edward Said was one of the people who worked on the draft. I hope the new constitution will have a “bill of rights” similar to the American Constitution and guarantee against torture to death and guarantees fair and open trial with formal charges and the rights of defense and full access to evidence and witnesses, not like what we see in now, a police state run by bunch of thugs.
The third is talks of reorganizing the PLO and reviving its role as “representative” of the Palestinian people. Of course, no one knows which will rule supreme over the new state (if and when it happens) the PLO and its Executive Committee as the “supreme leaders” or the chamber of the elected people. I hope Abbas and Sha’ath d do not chose the Syrian model or the Iranian model with the Executive Committee become the “mullahs” with Abbas as “Supreme leader” like Khomeini.
I tried to make sense out of how the PLO is organized and how it functions and how decisions are made and how the Palestine National Council is organized and selected but not elected, and how members are replaced or dismissed or stay long after they die? A master thesis titled “Reformation of Palestine Liberation Organization Implication of Hierarchy and Program “ written by Abdullah Ahmed Mahmmud Barham at Al-Najah University in 2007 was of some help. I know one thing for sure, when I was a member of the AAUG NY Chapter back in 78, a group of us submitted a written draft resolution which was tabled for vote, calling for the “elections” of the North American members of the Palestine National Council, the chair of the conference, Dr. Fouad Moghrabi chose to simply ignore it and closed the General Assembly without bringing it to the floor for a vote. This is one example of how the PLO and its associate operated and this is how members are selected, never elected by the people.
In any case the numbers of the PNC are left to the Executive Committee of the PLO and it decide all issues including the numbers. In 1964 the numbers were 422, in 1988 the numbers went up to 450 and in 1996 the number was increased to 700. One would think in any respectable organization the members of the PNC are the one that makes all the decisions. However in the PLO, it is the chairman with the executive committee operating Soviet style along with his Politburo makes all the decisions with the members are there to applaud on cue.
The performance of the PNC all these years is shameful, disgusting, if not criminal as well. It failed to truly represent the people’s interests and it never stood up to the leadership and it never held the leadership accountable for its repeated failures. The PLO, PNC and all of the so-called “Palestinian institutions” are not worth keeping certainly not worth reforming. The only beneficiaries of the continued existence of the PLO as a legal entity is Israel, the beneficiary of PLO recognitions with open borders with settlements and East Jerusalem and acceptance of the term “disputed” territory as negotiated in Oslo. Israel is also the beneficiary of the PLO since the PLO/PA have saved Israel more than $50 billons in occupation costs. Israel as beneficiary of the security arrangements provided by the PA Security Forces, American and Israeli Jews and their families as beneficiaries of civil claims for damages arising out of “Palestinian terror” and last but not least the leadership and their families benefiting from the windfall called the PLO. Even wonder why there are so many millionaires among the PLO leadership?