Hamas and the PLO – Hostile Takeover of a Shell Company

Mahmoud Al-Zahar, a prominent Hamas leader, stated that Hamas wants to “join the PLO - but on the basis of a new program, not of the Oslo program and the agreements… right now the PLO is a dead body… we will revive this organization by means of new programs and methods." (MEMRI, 14/11/05).

What is the Issue?

The PLO and the PA

  • The PLO holds the political asset of being the “sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people” as recognized by the Rabat Summit of Arab leaders (10/74), the international community (11/74), Israel and the US (9/93).

  • This status was reaffirmed in the Interim Agreement (9/95), which limited the powers of the PA and stipulated that it would be represented by the PLO.

  • However, since the beginning of the Oslo Process, the majority of the leaders of the PLO have returned to the PA. Since then, the status of the PLO within the Palestinian political system has been gradually eroded.

  • Nevertheless, the distinction between the PLO and the PA remains significant at symbolic, constitutional, political and practical levels (See Point of View #6: “Who is Coming to the United States: the Chair of the PA or the PLO?”).

  • The PLO has thus turned into a “political shell company”, which means that:

    • On the one hand, the PLO officially remains the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people.

    • On the other hand, the responsibility for issues relating to the West Bank and Gaza Strip is in the hands of the PA.

     

Tags

Two State Solution, Partner for Peace, Legitimacy, West Bank, Gaza

2006-04-01

National Security

Israel & The Palestinians

Hamas' decision to participate in elections for the PLC serves its strategy to take control over the Palestinian national movement.

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