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Far Beyond the Expatriates Department
By: Moatasem Hamadeh
August 18, 2018

Wrong who believe that the issue of the Expatriate Affairs Department, ignited by the head of the PLO Executive Committee, when he decided to refer it to his responsibilities, under the direction of his advisor Nabil Shaath, is the only issue worthy of being discussed in reviewing the status of the "Executive Committee" and its work mechanisms, based on improvisation and superficiality, and far from the minimal of leading planning, which should be enjoyed by the institution, that constitutes the daily leadership of the Palestinian people, which the Palestinian National Council, declared on 15/11/1988 as the Government of the State of Palestine abroad.

When governments are formed, they are accustomed to hold their first meeting to agree on their plan of action, in proportion to the national interest and the political stage for which they are formed. Since the Executive Committee is not formed in the manner of the rest of the governments, but is elected by the National Council at the end of its session, it is natural for its agenda, along with its plan of action, to allocate the tasks to the members of the Committee, not with an upper decision from the head of the Committee, as the head of the Committee is one of the members of the Executive Committee, elected by the National Council, as a "member of the Committee". Then, the Committee chooses its president, that is, and the relationship within the Committee, according to this classification, is based on consultation and consensus, not according to the upper decrees.

The recently elected Executive Committee in the National Council met as equal members and elected Mahmoud Abbas as its president. The second step was, as it was supposed, to draw up its plan of action, according to the tasks assigned by the National Council to it, in the management of Palestinian public affairs. The third step, in accordance with this, is that its members to share the tasks in order to serve the plan of action and the political strategy to be implemented and committed.

What is strangely enough is that the Executive Committee, in the distribution of tasks to its members, has overstepped two important issues:

• The first: it has removed of its account the formation of the Political Department, suspended since 2009 from its agenda, which was then occupied by the head of the Committee Mahmoud Abbas, and in the context he assigned its tasks to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the Palestinian Authority. This time, the head of the Committee insisted on his position, which practically led to the dissolution of the Political Dept. and the dropping of it from the agenda of the Executive Committee, within the framework of the policy of dissolving the institutions of the PLO in the PA institutions.

• The second: the head of the Executive Committee has violated the rules of procedures of the PLO, when he decided alone, to retain the position of President of the Palestinian National Fund. Knowing that the system says that the National Council shall elect directly one of its independent members, as a president of the National Fund, then to be added to the membership of the Executive Committee, which shall not, in this case, deprive it of its powers. Then, to constitute an administrative board for the Fund, headed by the President of Fund, which shall manage the finances of the PLO under the decisions of the National Council. Therefore, the head of the Executive Committee has monopolized, along with the heading of the Committee, the political department and the presidency of the National Fund, overstepping the laws in the Palestinian institution.

Then, as a third step, and by decree (!) which has been considered as an irregular step on the national relations and the mechanisms of their management according to consensus and consultations, he has decided to keep the Expatriate Affairs Department, which has been headed by Tayseer Khaled for 10 years. So that, he combines this amount of powers and responsibilities, in addition to his responsibilities, as a president of the State of Palestine, the PA, and Chairman of the Fatah Movement, as well as other positions that normally assumed by those who holding these positions. Therefore, if all this is not an exclusivity and an accumulation of the powers with one hand, and illegally, which opens the door necessarily, under this amount of powers, for tyranny and the imposition of opinion on others, and overstepping the principle of consultation and consensus. What can we call it?

In addition to all this, and above all, which has not been noticed by the media, what happened in the Executive Committee about the debate on the Department of Prisoners and the Martyrs' Affairs.

At its meeting on 9/6/2018, the Committee, in the absence of its head for health reasons, considered the need to establish a department for prisoners and martyrs. The Committee presented one of its members, Ahmed Bayoud Al-Tamimi, to head it, but he apologized for reasons, including that there is a body for the affairs of prisoners, martyrs and wounded, led by the freed prisoner Issa Qaraq'a (after it was a “ministry” and then reduced to “department” based on the protest of the occupation authorities), and there is also the Prisoner Society, which is led by Fatah leader Qaddura Fares. At the same time, the prisoner and martyrs issue was present at the table of discussion whose salaries have been cut in the Gaza Strip, by a decision of the PA president directly in the context of his decisions to punish the Gaza Strip. Tamimi realized that the financial decision (which is the most important in assuming the Department of Prisoners and Martyrs' Affairs), will not be among the powers of the Department, but will remain among the powers of the president. Therefore, he apologized.

Then, the Department has been presented a presentation to the Executive Committee member Hanan Ashrawi, from which the Information and Culture Department was snatched (under the pretext that the modern countries have canceled their information ministries), after that the President of the PA re-appointed Nabil Abu Rudeina as Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Information. In summary, the Information Department of the Executive Committee was canceled in favor of the Ministry of Information in the PA, and for the reasons for which Ahmed Bayoud Al-Tamimi and Hanan Ashrawi apologized. The consultations concluded to "cancel the need" to a department for prisoners and martyrs, and to transfer their files to the secretary of the Executive Committee, the head of the Negotiations Department, Saeb Erekat.

As the member of the Executive Committee, "must head a department", new departments have been created, in different names, without being in response to the tasks and plans of action and strategy of the Executive Committee for the next stage.


Since its early days, the Executive Committee has been unorganized, fallen as a victim to improvisation and exclusivity, and has been deprived from the policy of conscious planning for the management of public national affairs, dominated by individualism and exclusivity, in the distribution of tasks. And since the first day it has failed to be an effective leadership of the Palestinian people, and the successful government of the State of Palestine in exile.

The same diseases, suffered by the outgoing Executive Committee have affected the current Executive Committee, from the very first day of its birth. Because the necessities of the "political kitchen" to control the national decision, assume the marginalization of the Executive Committee , its exclusion and dumping it in the chaos of the administration of public affairs.

Moatasem Hamadeh is a member of the Political Bureau of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine
Translated by Manal Mansour and Rasha Abo Allan
Revised by Ibrahim Motlaq

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