Palestinian General Unions
PALESTINIAN GENERAL UNIONS
"Popular organizations" affiliated with the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO). These represent important sectors of Palestinian society, based on shared profession, skills, or interest, and in some cases act as umbrella organizations for smaller groups. Most have branches outside the Palestinian territories; in fact most were originally organized outside Palestine, to serve Palestinians in the diaspora and to incorporate them into the PLO's activities. Some are older than the PLO itself. They are formally constituted as democratic organizations, with constitutions, bylaws, and elected leaders, but in practice their policies conform to the direction of the PLO leadership. (None, however, has a monopoly in its area of Palestinian society.) All are represented in the Palestine National Council (PNC). Some operate important social programs and have had a significant role in the national struggle, which is their primary purpose. As of 2004, most are headquartered in Ramallah. The most significant have been the General Union of Palestinian Students (GUPS), the General Union of Palestinian Teachers (GUPT), the General Union of Palestinian Women (GUPW), the General Union of Palestinian Workers (GUPW), the General Union of Palestinian Writers and Journalists (GUPWJ), and the Higher Council of Palestinian Youth and Sports; other important general unions are those of Palestinian artists, artistic performers, doctors, economists, engineers, farmers and jurists.