Who Controls the PLO?

The Hamas government in Gaza declared the 'dismissal' of the PLO representative to the UN. This decision has no practical significance; however it is another attempt by Hamas to demonstrate the lack of the PLO's relevancy.

The Hamas government in Gaza announced the 'dismissal' of the PLO representative to the UN, Riyad Manzour, following his proposal to the UN General Assembly to declare Hamas and other resistance movements illegal.

Hamas' objective in the Palestinian arena is to control the Palestinian National Movement. Therefore, Hamas aims at taking control of the PLO, recognized by the international community as the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people. (See Hamas and the PLO - Hostile Takeover of a Shell Company). A number of Hamas' ideas and patterns of action to achieve this goal can be identified:

  • Entering the PLO by consent - Contrary to the PA, the PLO does not have an electoral system. Hence, the integration of Hamas into the PLO depends on Fatah's consent. In the past, Fatah agreed to reforms in the PLO, which would allow the Hamas and Islamic Jihad to join the organization (See The Cairo Declaration (3/19/05); The Mecca Agreement (2/07)). However, Fatah never worked towards implementing these understandings.

  • Creating an alternative body to the PLO / revolution within the PLO - Recently, reports have shown that Hamas is trying to establish alternative institutions to the PLO (Ynet, 10/30/07). To date, Hamas's plan has been unsuccessful due to the resistance of several Palestinian factions. (Ma'an 10/31/07). (See: Hamas: The Road to Ramallah goes Through the PLO).

  • De-legitimization of the PLO in its current form - Hamas undermines the authority of the PLO, in its current make-up, to represent the Palestinian people in their entirety (See Yoni Ben Menachem, NFC, 11/15/07). Hamas' decision to 'dismiss' the PLO representative to the UN has no practical significance, however, it is another attempt by Hamas to demonstrate the lack of the PLO's relevancy.

The struggle over the PLO is important to Israel since Abu-Mazen is conducting negotiations with Israel under his authority as Chairman of the PLO. Moreover, Abu-Mazen has declared that he would bring any agreement with Israel for ratification in the Palestinian National Council of the PLO.

Sources:

Ma'an News Agency, 11/13/07 (in Hebrew).