Legal experts and professors discuss the role of the Palestinian National Council in the road to statehood

Legal symposium sheds light on outcomes and procedures of the 23rd National Council

Political and legal experts explored the realities and prospects of the 23rd Palestinian National Council in a legal symposium held by the Institute of Law at Birzeit University at its Gaza headquarters. 

The event, entitled “The 23rd Palestinian National Council: Legal and Political Features,” was held together with the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung, and featured Muhsen Abu Ramdan, director of the Arab Center for Agricultural Development’s Gaza branch. 

Abu Ramdan started his speech with a review of the history of the Palestinian Liberation Organization, calling it the “only legitimate representative of the Palestinian people.” The organization, said Abu Ramdan, has a bigger duty to serve Palestinians, as the Oslo Accords, signed between the PLO leadership and the Israeli government in 1993, provided for a change in government from the Israeli Civil Administration to the Palestinian National Authority. 

However, interjected Abu Ramdan, the Oslo Accords were meant to establish an interim authority that would govern while a Palestinian state was established. “The Oslo Accords’ transitional period ended in 1999 without the Palestinian Authority’s transition to a state. The accords helped to diminish the importance of such urgent issues as settlements, Jerusalem, Palestinian refugees, water, Palestinian detainees, and land ownership,” Abu Ramdan noted. 

Abu Ramdan also reviewed the key objectives of the 23rdPalestinian National Council, held on April 30, 2018, in Ramallah. The first objective, he said, was to inject new blood into the Executive Committee. The second aim was to rally the efforts of the organization in the face of challenges and American and Israeli obstacles. The third and final aim, remarked Abu Ramdan, was to empower the Palestinian National Council to counter the so-called “Deal of the Century.” 

A Q&A session was held at the symposium, during which participants and attendees gave their remarks on the outcomes of the Palestinian National Council, and submitted their recommendations, which included:  reactivating the role of the council, reasserting the position of the Palestinian Liberation Organization as the only representative of Palestinians, and reconciling the major Palestinian political parties.