The Original Palestine National Charter
Stuart Hersh comments: This Covenant was written by the first Chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization, Ahmed Shukeiry. This version of the PLO Charter reflects the Pan-Arab nationalism espoused by then, Egyptian President Jamal Abd El-Nasir. This can be clearly seen in the emphasis on the view of Palestine as part of an Arab collective homeland. The pan-Arab objective in the Arab-Israeli conflict is rather pervasive the destruction (al-qada-ala) of Israel. However, noticeably missing is the call for a Palestinian state and the subordinate position of the Palestinians in what is expressed as a battle for their rights and homeland.
We. The Palestinian Arab people, who waged fierce and continuous battles to safeguard its homeland, to defend its dignity and honour, and who offered, all through the years, continuous caravans of immortal martyrs, and who wrote the noblest pages of sacrifice, offering and giving.
We. The Palestinian Arab people, who faced the forces of evil, injustice and aggression against whom the forces of International Zionism and colonialism conspired and worked to displace it, dispossess it from its homeland to realize its freedom and dignity and who has determined to amass its forces and mobilize its efforts and capabilities in order to continue its struggle and to move forward on the path of holy war until complete and final victory has been attained.
We. The Palestinian Arab people, depending on our right of self-defense and the complete restoration of our lost homeland a right that has been recognized by international covenants and common practices including the charter of the United Nations and in implementation of the principles of human rights and comprehending the international political relations, with its various ramifications and limits, and considering the past experiences in all that pertains to the causes of the catastrophe (al-Nakba), and the means to face it.
And embarking from the Palestinian Arab reality, and for the sake of the honour of the Palestinian individual and his right to free and dignified life;
And realizing the national grave responsibility placed upon our shoulders, for the sake of all this.
We. The Palestinian Arab people, dictate and declare this Palestinian National Covenant and vow to realize it.
Article 1. Palestine is an Arab homeland bound by strong national ties to the rest of the Arab Countries and which together form the large Arab homeland.
Article 2. Palestine with its boundaries at the time of the British Mandate is a regional indivisible unit.
Article 3. The Palestinian Arab people has the legitimate right to its homeland and is an inseparable part of the Arab Nation. It shares the sufferings and aspirations of the Arab Nation and its struggle for freedom, sovereignty, progress and unity.
Article 4. The people of Palestine determines its destiny when it completes the liberation of its homeland in accordance with its own wishes and free will and choice.
Article 5. The Palestinian personality is a permanent and genuine characteristic that does not disappear. It is transferred from fathers to sons.
Article 6. The Palestinians are those Arab citizens who were living normally in Palestine up to 1947, whether they remained or were expelled. Every child who was born to a Palestinian parent after this date whether in Palestine or outside is a Palestinian.
Article 7. Jews of Palestinian origin are considered Palestinians if they are willing to live peacefully and loyally in Palestine.
Article 8. Bringing up Palestinian youth in Arab and nationalist manner is a fundamental national duty. All means of guidance education and enlightenment should be utilized to introduce the youth to its homeland in a deep spiritual way that will constantly and firmly bind them together.
Article 9. Doctrines whether political social or economic, shall not occupy the people of Palestine from the primary duty of liberating their homeland. All Palestinians constitute one national front and work with all their feelings and spiritual and material potentialities to free their homeland.
Article 10. Palestinians have three mottoes: National unity, National mobilization; and liberation. Once liberation is completed, the people of Palestine shall choose for its public life whatever political economic or social system they want.
Article 11. The Palestinian people firmly believe in Arab unity, and in order to play its role in realizing this goal, it must, at this stage of its struggle preserve its Palestinian personality and all its constituents. It must strengthen the consciousness of its existence and stand against any attempt or plan that may weaken or disintegrate its personality.
Article 12. Arab unity and the liberation of Palestine are two complementary goals; each prepares for the attainment of the other. Arab unity leads to the liberation of Palestine, and the liberation of Palestine leads to Arab unity. Working for both must go side by side.
Article 13. The destiny of the Arab Nation and even the essence of Arab existence are firmly tied to the destiny of the Palestine question; from this firm bond stems the effort and struggle of the Arab Nation to liberate Palestine. The People of Palestine assumes the vanguard role in achieving this sacred national goal.
Article 14. The liberation of Palestine from an Arab view point, is a national duty. Its responsibilities fall upon the entire Arab Nation, Governments and peoples, the Palestinian people being in the foreground. For this purpose the Arab Nation must mobilize its military spiritual and material potentialities, specifically, it must give to the Palestinian Arab people all possible support and backing and place at its disposal all opportunities and means to enable them to perform their roles in liberating their homeland.
Article 15. The liberation of Palestine, from a spiritual view point, prepares for the Holy Land, an atmosphere of tranquillity and peace, in which all the Holy Places will be safeguarded, and the free worship and visit to all will be guaranteed, without any discrimination of race, colour, tongue, or religion. For all this, the Palestinian people look forward to the support of all spiritual forces in the world.
Article 16. The liberation of Palestine from an international view point is a defensive act necessitated by the demands of self-defense as stated in the charter of the United Nations. That is why the people of Palestine desiring to befriend all nations which love freedom, justice, and peace, is looking forward for their support in restoring the legitimate situation to Palestine, establishing peace and security in its territory, and enable its people to exercise national sovereignty and freedom.
Article 17. The Partitioning of Palestine in 1947 and the establishment of Israel are illegal and false regardless of the loss of time, because they were contrary to the wish of the Palestine people and its natural right to its homeland, and in violation of the basic principles embodied in the charter of the United Nations, foremost among which is the right to self-determination.
Article 18. The Balfour Declaration, the Mandate system and all that has been based upon them are considered fraud. The claims of historic and spiritual ties, ties between Jews and Palestine are not in agreement with the facts of history or with the true basis of sound statehood. Judaism because it is a divine religion is not a nationality with independent existence. Furthermore the Jews are not one people with an independent personality because they are citizens of the countries to which they belong.
Article 19. Zionism is a colonialist movement in its inception, aggressive and expansionist in its goals, racist and segregationist in its configurations and fascist in its means and aims. Israel in its capacity as the spearhead of this destructive movement and the pillar for colonialism is a permanent source of tension and turmoil in the Middle East in particular and to the international community in general. Because of this the People of Palestine are worthy of the support and sustenance of the community of nations.
Article 20. The causes of peace and security and the needs of right and justice demand from all nations, in order to safeguard true relationships among peoples, and to maintain the loyalty of citizens to their homeland, to consider Zionism an illegal movement and to outlaw its presence and activities.
Article 21. The Palestine people believes in the principle of justice, freedom, sovereignty, self-determination, human dignity, and the right of peoples to practice these principles. It also supports all international efforts to bring about peace on the basis of justice and free international co-operation.
Article 22. The People of Palestine believe in peaceful coexistence on the basis of legal existence, for there can be no coexistence with aggression, nor can there be peace with occupation and colonialism.
Article 23. In realizing the goals and principles of this Covenant the Palestine Liberation Organization carries out its complete role to liberate Palestine in accordance with the fundamental law of this Organization.
Article 24. This Organization does not exercise any regional sovereignty over the West Bank in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, on the Gaza Strip or the Himmah Area. Its activities will be on the national popular level in the liberational, organizational, political and financial fields.
Article 25. The Organization is encharged with the movement of the Palestinian people in its struggle to liberate its homeland in all liberational, organizational, political, and financial matters, and in all other needs of the Palestine Question in the Arab and international spheres.
Article 26. The Liberation Organization co-operates with all Arab governments each according to its ability, and does not interfere in the internal affairs of any state.
Article 27. The Organization shall have its flag, oath and national anthem. All this shall be resolved in accordance with a special system.
Article 28. The Fundamental Law for the Palestine Liberation Organization is attached to this Covenant. This Law defines the manner of establishing the Organization, its organs, institutions, the specialities of each one of them, and all the needed duties thrust upon it in accordance with this Covenant.
Article 29. This Covenant cannot be amended except by two-thirds majority of the National Council of the Palestine Liberation Organization in a special session called for this purpose.