Procedure for renouncing membership to the PLO and consequence of renouncing membership after completing studies overseas sponsored by the PLO [PAL7470]

According to the Palestinian Information Office in Ottawa, as stated in a telephone interview with the IRBDC on 2 January 1990, there is no formal membership in the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO), so there could be no renunciation of membership. The source added that the PLO provides scholarships for studies in Asia, Europe, America and other continents to Palestinians from the Occupied Territories. In some cases, the funds for the scholarships are provided entirely by the PLO, while in some cases the scholarships are funded in part by the host country or learning institution. Finally, the source stated that the PLO does not require repayment after the studies are completed, adding that most students who study abroad on PLO scholarships return to the Occupied Territories, as expected by the PLO and other sponsors.

According to the author of a book on the Palestinian Liberation Organization published by the Cambridge University Press, the PLO is a coalition of Palestinian groups and has no membership of individuals. The affiliated groups, however, may have specific membership requirements and conditions. Individuals who work with the PLO but do not belong to a particular group are normally considered employees and not members of the PLO. The source added that many scholarships provided by the PLO take place under PLO-to-government agreements, particularly in the case of Socialist countries, with "a clear expectation" from the parties involved that the student will return to work with Palestinians in the Occupied Territories or, for example, in hospitals of the Palestinian Red Crescent. The source added that military training scholarships may be more strictly enforced than those in other fields of study, indicating that the PLO could find it hard to enforce the expected repayment from the student since it lost its territorial base in Lebanon, but a kind of "social ostracism" could be experienced by the individual who doesn't fulfil the expectations of his/her sponsors.

Other oral sources currently available to the IRBDC were unable to provide corroborating information on the subject. Written information on the subject could not be found among the sources currently available to the IRBDC.