There’s a fascinating initiative that recently came to my attention — a project to register all Palestinians, all around the world, to vote for the Palestinian National Council (PNC, the parliament of the PLO). The PNC should not be confused with the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC), the parliament of the Palestinian Authority, which only represents the Palestinians of the West Bank and Gaza. The PLO represents all Palestinians, all over the world.

Or at least, that is the ideal. In fact, because Palestinians have been so scattered for so many years, direct elections to the PNC have actually not ever taken place. Because of this (and other factors), the PLO has long been in danger of drifting away from the true wishes and values of the Palestinians they claim to represent. The current initiative is the first time Palestinians have actually attempted to create a national polity that includes the diaspora. Which makes a lot of sense — because of Israel’s decades of expulsions, more than half of Palestinians do not live in the West Bank or Gaza!

Here is the full text of the official National call for registration in PNC elections, which is remarkable for the breadth of support it has, from Fatah and Hamas, and from Leftist and unaffiliated academics, political and business leaders, and religious figures, both Muslim and Christian. It seems to be one thing everyone can agree on — a precious rarity in the world of Middle East politics!

Here are three articles, in This Week in Palestine, the Electronic Intifada, and Palestine News Network that tell more about the initiative (and demonstrate its widespread support even more).

And finally, the website of the PNC Registration Campaign itself, including an excellent FAQs page. (Another website called PalestiniansRegister.org seems to provide support as well.)

If you read some of this and approve, you can Like a Facebook page created by youth activists.

If this initiative succeeds, it could have historic ramifications. I look forward to seeing how it proceeds, and I welcome any thoughts you may have!

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