Palestinian Central Council (PCC)

Because of the difficulties in convening the full Palestinian National Council (PNC), the Palestinian Central Council (PCC) was established in 1973 to function as an intermediary body between the PNC and the PLO Executive Committee (EC). PCC meetings are chaired by the PNC chairman.

Over the years, the PCC has steadily eclipsed the PNC as the PLO’s main decision making body. In 2018, the PNC formally transferred its legislative powers to the PCC, including the power to elect members of the PLO’s Executive Committee (EC).

As Ahmad Majdalani, a member EC member, explained, the desire behind this move is to have a body that is quicker and easier to convene than the PNC in order to more effectively legislate and fill vacancies in the EC. However, some experts have argued that these new competences violate the provision of the PLO’s founding charter.

The PCC convened in January 2018 following the US decision to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. In response, it called on the EC to suspend the PLO‘s recognition of Israel until it recognises Palestine as a state, and to suspend security coordination between the Palestinian Authority (PA). The same call was also made by the PCC in March 2015 and February 2022. The EC, which is formally tasked with implementing these PCC decisions, has yet to do so.

The PCC held its 31st, and most recent, session on 6-7 February 2022. This was boycotted by several PLO factions and senior independent figures, including Hanan Ashrawi, Mustafa Barghouti and his al-Mubadara party, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) and the Palestinian People’s Party (PPP). The Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP) only confirmed its attendance after reportedly securing increased factional representation, including the position of deputy chairman of the PNC.

During the two-day meeting, the PCC elected 4 new members to the EC: Ramzi Khoury (Fatah), Mohammad Mustafa (Independent), Ramzi Rabah (DFPL), and Hussein al-Sheikh (Fatah). The meeting was also notable for the decision to suspend live broadcast of Mahmoud Abbas‘s opening speech — leading to speculation about the latter’s advancing age and deteriorating health