Expert OpinionAnalysis

Initiatives to Revitalize the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO)

Vision Center for Political Development in collaboration with Al-Jazeera Network

In June 2024, the Central Committee of the Fatah Movement and the Executive Committee of the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) issued statements condemning an initiative launched by a diverse group of Palestinian academics and political figures. This initiative called for a national Palestinian conference to rebuild the PLO, and the individuals involved were subjected to a range of accusations.

This condemnation is not unprecedented. In May 2023, Fatah condemned the 20th session of the Conference of Palestinians in Europe held in Malmö. Similarly, in November 2022, the Palestinian National Council denounced the “Palestinian Popular Conference” for calling to hold conferences both domestically and in the diaspora. These actions reflect a pattern of accusations against various Palestinian activities within and outside the homeland.

In this context, Vision Center for Political Development and Al Jazeera Net sought expert opinions on the ongoing discussions and initiatives aimed at rebuilding and reforming the PLO. The focus was on how different Palestinian actors and influencers, particularly those within the PLO, respond to these initiatives.

The expert opinions were structured around the following key questions:

  1. Why does the leadership of the PLO and the Palestinian Authority fear discussions about revitalizing PLO institutions?
  2. Are these fears justified? 
  3. Is it truly possible to reform the PLO?
  4. Are these discussions merely theoretical and impractical?
  5. Can Arab or regional parties support internal Palestinian dialogue to develop the PLO and other Palestinian institutions?
  6. Could the call for forming a unified national leadership be seen as an alternative to the PLO?
  7. What are the available options to achieve internal Palestinian dialogue that leads to the revitalization of all Palestinian institutions under the banner of political partnership?

The summarized expert opinions are as follows:

  1. The PLO cannot be dispensed with, but it also cannot remain inactive. Efforts must be made to revitalize it.
  2. The proposals for developing or reforming the PLO are practical, beginning with the re-election of a new National Council to oversee the reform and reconstruction processes.
  3. The resistance of the PLO and Fatah leadership to reform is more psychological and methodological than political,reflecting their behavioral and governance methodologies.
  4. Fatah should proactively initiate reform rather than being compelled to do so. Such an initiative would increase its popularity.
  5. Rebuilding or reforming the organization will inject new vitality through the inclusion of new frameworks and figuers, which might reduce Fatah’s influence. Hence, their apprehension about the reform process.
  6. The magnitude of the catastrophe facing Palestinians necessitates reforming the organization. There is near-consensus on this issue among factions and the populace, including within Fatah, albeit with mechanisms to prevent escalating conflicts and internal splits.
  7. The feasibility of implementing reform proposals depends on the success of the proponents in garnering broad popular and national support to impose them on those holding power within the authority and the organization through popular pressure.
  8. Establishing national or party leadership frameworks to undertake certain national roles in the Palestinian diaspora or Gaza does not conflict with PLO reform, nor does it replace it. Instead, it will be part of their collaborative work to activate the organization within a democratic and well-thought-out methodology.
  9. It is crucial to maintain the Palestinian nature of any reform initiative and keep it away from any regional agendas.


Preparation: Vision Center for Political Development in collaboration with Al Jazeera Net

Supervision: Hasan Obeid, Suleiman Bsharat, Mahmoud Al Adam, Asma Al Zayat

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