Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization

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The Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO EC) (Arabic: اللجنة التنفيذية لمنظمة التحرير الفلسطينية‎) is the highest executive body of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), and acts as the government of the State of Palestine.[1][2][3]

The head of the EC is the Chairman of the PLO Executive Committee (sometimes called President), elected by the PNC. Mahmoud Abbas has been the Chairman since the death of Yasser Arafat in November 2004. The EC represents the organization internationally.[4] It represents the Palestinian people, supervises the various PLO bodies, executes the policies and decisions set of the PNC, and handles the PLO’s financial issues.[4] The EC meets in the Palestinian territories or abroad.[5]

Executive Committee members hold special areas of responsibility, such as military matters, foreign affairs, finance and social affairs, making their role similar to that of ministers in a national government.

Besides other functions, the Executive Committee is involved in the nomination of candidates for the PNC, and when elections to the PNC are not feasible, the Executive Committee may appoint PNC members.[4]


Ahmad Al-Shuqeiry was the first Chairman of the PLO Executive Committee elected by the Palestinian National Council in 1964, and was succeeded in 1967 by Yahya Hammuda. In February 1969, Yasser Arafat was appointed leader of the PLO. He continued to be PLO leader (sometimes called Chairman, sometimes President) until his death in November 2004. The EC appointed Mahmud Abbas Chairman within hours of Arafat's death.[6]

The quorum for legitimate decisions is 12 of the 18 members, according to the Palestinian National Covenant, the constitution of the PLO.[7]


The Executive Committee has 18 members, elected by the Palestinian National Council, often as representatives of the PLO member factions. The head of the EC is the Chairman, who since 2004 has been Mahmud Abbas.

On 27 August 2009, the PNC elected six new members to the EC to replace members who had died (including Yasser Arafat) since the last plenary PNC meeting in 1996. The vote took place in an extraordinary meeting, due to lack of the requisite PNC quorum.[7] Among the six elected were Ahmad Qurei and Hanan Ashrawi.[8] Some Palestinian factions, including Hamas and Islamic Jihad, boycotted the PNC meeting. They called the PLO illegal and illegitimate, because they and other Palestinian factions were not represented in the organization,[8] and was a violation of the Cairo and Mecca agreements and the National Conciliation Document, which envisioned simultaneous elections for the Palestinian National Council and the Palestinian Authority.[9]

On 24 August 2015, Abbas said that he had resigned from the PLO’s Executive Committee along with ten other members,[1] though their resignations were subject to approval by the Palestinian National Council. The Executive Committee members who announced their resignation were to continue to hold their positions until the PNC meets.[10]

Earlier elected members[edit]

Earlier elected members of the Executive Committee are:[citation needed]

  1. Mahmoud Abbas (Fatah)
  2. Farouk Kaddoumi (Fatah)
  3. Mohammed Zuhdi al-Nashashibi
  4. Yasser Abed Rabbo
  5. Abdel Rahim Mallouh
  6. Taysir Khalid (Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine) until 1993
  7. Ali Ishaq
  8. Mahmoud Ismail (Arab Liberation Front)
  9. As'ad Abdel Rahman
  10. Ghassan Shakaa (Mayor of Nablus) - deceased January 2018
  11. Zakaria al-Agha (Fatah, member since 1996)
  12. Riya al-Khudri
  13. Saeb Erekat
  14. Ahmed Majdalani
  15. Salih Raafat
  16. Ziad Amr
  17. Ahmad Qurei
  18. Hanna Amira
  19. Dr. Hanan Ashrawi

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Abbas confirms resignation from PLO Executive Committee. The Middle East Monitor, 24 August 2015
  2. ^ Sayigh, Yezid (1999). Armed Struggle and the Search for State: The Palestinian National Movement, 1949–1993 (illustrated ed.). Oxford University Press. p. 624. ISBN 9780198296430. 
    "The Palestinian National Council also empowered the central council to form a government-in-exile when appropriate, and the executive committee to perform the functions of government until such time as a government-in-exile was established."
  3. ^ Status of Palestine in the United Nations. UNGA Resolution A/RES/67/19, 29-11-2012
    "Taking into consideration that the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization, in accordance with a decision by the Palestine National Council, is entrusted with the powers and responsibilities of the Provisional Government of the State of Palestine"
  4. ^ a b c PLO vs. PA Archived 2016-03-04 at the Wayback Machine.. Passia, September 2014
  5. ^ The PLO Executive Committee is to hold a meeting on issues related to the Middle East peace process here Saturday, Palestinian Permanent Delegate to the Cairo-based Arab League Mohamed Sobeih said today.
    Palestinian President Abbas attends a PLO executive committee meeting in Ramallah Archived 2012-06-29 at Archive.is
  6. ^ Abbas, Mahmud, p.2. Philip Mattar, Encyclopedia of the Palestinians. Infobase Publishing, 2005
  7. ^ a b Palestinian affairs. The Daily Middle East Reporter, 25 August 2009.
  8. ^ a b PLO picks new leaders at landmark meeting. AFP, 27 August 2009.
  9. ^ PLO holds poll amid criticism. Al Jazeera, 26 August 2009.
  10. ^ PNC chair confirms controversial session postponed. Ma'an News Agency, 9 September 2015

External links[edit]