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The PLO Covenant

The Covenant was never legally amended and the clauses that were supposed to be deleted have not been replaced; nevertheless, President Clinton and Prime Minister (at the time the Covenant was to be annulled) Benjamin Netanyahu said the Covenenat was changed to their satisfaction. Though the Covenenant is still sometimes used today to indicate the Palestinians' true intentions, few Israelis refer to it anymore and it is considered politically irrelevant. The focus now is more on the Palestinians' deeds than their words.

Article 1: Palestine is the homeland of the Palestinian Arab people and an integral part of the great Arab homeland, and the people of Palestine is a part of the Arab nation.

Article 2: Palestine with its boundaries that existed at the line of the British Mandate is an indivisible territorial unit.

Article 3: The Palestinian Arab people possesses the legal right to its home land, and, when the liberation of its home land is completed, it will exercise self­determination solely according to its own will and choice.

Article 4:The Palestinian identity is an innate, persistent characteristic that does not disappear, and it is transferred from fathers to sons. The Zionist occupation, and the dispersal of the Palestinian Arab people as a result of the disasters which befell them, do not deprive it of its Palestinian identity and affiliation and do not nullify them.

Article 5:The Palestinians are the Arab nationals who were living permanently in Palestine until 1947, whether they were expelled from there or remained. Anyone born to a Palestinian Arab father after that, within Palestine or outside it, is a Palestinian.

Article 6:Jews who were living permanently in Palestine until the beginning of the Zionist invasion will be considered Palestinians.

Article 7:The Palestinian affiliation and the "material, spiritual and historical tie with Palestine are indisputable realities. The upbringing of the Palestinian individual in an Arab and revolutionary fashion, the undertaking of all means of forging consciousness and training the Palestinian, in order to acquaint him profoundly with his homeland, spiritually and material, and preparing him for the conflict and the armed struggle, as well as for the sacrifice of his wealth and his life to restore his homeland, until the liberation-all this is a national duty.

Article 8:The phase in their history, through which the Palestinian people are now living, is that of national struggle for the liberation of Palestine. Thus, the conflicts among the Palestinian national forces are secondary, and should be ended for the sake of the basic conflict that exists between the forces of Zionism and of imperialism on the one hand, and the Palestinian Arab people on the other. On this basis the Palestinian masses, regardless of whether they are residing in the national home land or in diaspora constitute­both their organization and the individuals-one national front working for the retrieval of Palestine and its liberation through armed struggle.

Article 9:Armed struggle is the only way to liberate Palestine and is therefore a strategy and not tactics. The Palestinian Arab people affirms its absolute resolution and abiding determination to pursue the armed struggle and to work for an armed popular revolution, to liberate its homeland and return to it to maintain its right to a natural life in it, and to exercise its right of self­determination in it and sovereignty over it.

Article 10:Fedayeen action forms the nucleus of the popular Palestinian war of liberation. This demands its promotion, extension and protection, and the mobilization of all the mass and scientific capacities of the Palestinians, their organization and involvement in the armed Palestinian revolution, and cohesion in the national struggle among the various groups of the people of Palestine, and between them and the Arab masses, to guarantee the continuation of the revolution, its advancement and victory.

Article 11:The Palestinians will have three mottoes: national unity, national mobilization and liberation.

Article 12:The Palestinian people believe in Arab unity. In order to contribute their share toward the attainment of that belief, however, they must, at the present stage of their struggle, safeguard their Palestinian identity and develop their consciousness of that identity, and oppose any plan that may dissolve or impair it.

Article 13:Arab unity and the liberation of Palestine are two complementary aims. Each one paves the way for realization of the other. Arab unity leads to the liberation of Palestine, and the liberation of Palestine leads to Arab unity. Working for both goes hand­in­hand.

Article 14:The destiny of the Arab nation, indeed Arab existence, depends upon the destiny of the Palestinian cause. The endeavor and effort of the Arab nation to liberate Palestine follows from this connection. The people of Palestine assumes its vanguard role in realizing this sacred national aim.

Article 15:The liberation of Palestine, from an Arab viewpoint, is a national duty to repulse the Zionist, imperialist invasion from the great Arab homelands and to eliminate the Zionist presence front Palestine. Its full responsibilities fall upon the Arab nation, peoples and governments, with the Palestinian Arab people at their head.

For this purpose, the Arab nation must mobilize all its military, human, material and spiritual capacities to participate actively with the people of Palestine in the liberation of Palestine. They must, especially in the present stage of armed Palestinian revolution, grant and offer the people of Palestine all possible help and every material and human support, and afford it every sure means and opportunity enabling it to continue to assume its vanguard role in pursuing its armed revolution until the liberation of its homeland.

Article 16:The liberation of Palestine, from a spiritual viewpoint, will provide an atmosphere of tranquility and peace for the Holy Land, in the shade of which all the holy places will be safeguarded, and freedom of worship and visitation to all will be guaranteed, without distinction or discrimination of race, color, language or religion. For this reason, the people of Palestine looks to the support of all the spiritual forces in the world.

Article 17:The liberation of Palestine, from a human view­point, will restore to the Palestinian his dignity, glory and freedom. For this, the Palestinian Arab people looks to the support of those in the world who believe in the dignity and freedom of man.

Article 18:The liberation of Palestine, from an international point of view, is a defensive action necessitated by the demands of self­defense. Accordingly, the Palestinian people, desirous as they are of the friendship of all people, looks to freedom­loving, justice­loving and peace­loving states for support in order to restore their legitimate rights in Palestine, to reestablish peace and security in the country, and to enable its people to exercise national sovereignty and freedom.

Article 19:The partitioning of Palestine in 1947 and the establishment of Israel are fundamentally null and void, whatever time has elapsed, because they were contrary to the wish of the people of Palestine and its natural right to its homeland, and contradict the principles embodied in the Charter of the United Nations, the first of which is the right of self­determination.

Article 20:The Balfour Declaration, the Mandate Document, and everything based upon them are deemed null and void. The claim of historical or religious ties between Jews and Palestine does not tally with historical realities, nor with the constituents of statehood in their true sense. Judaism, in its character as a religion, is not a nationality with an independent existence. Likewise, the Jews are not one people with an independent identity. They are rather citizens of the states to which they belong.

Article 21:The Palestinian Arab people, in expressing itself through the armed Palestinian revolution, rejects every solution that is a substitute for a complete liberation of Palestine, and rejects all plans that aim at the settlement of the Palestine issue or its internationalization.

Article 22:Zionism is a political movement organically related to world imperialism and hostile to all movements of liberation and progress in the world. It is a racist and fascist movement in its formation; aggressive, expansionist and colonialist in its aims, and fascist and Nazi in its methods. Israel is the tool of the Zionist movement and a human and geographical base for world imperialism. It is a concentration and jumping­off point for imperialism in the heart of the Arab homeland, to strike at the hopes of the Arab nation for liberation, unity and progress.

Israel is a constant threat to peace in the Middle East and the entire world. Since the liberation of Palestine will destroy the Zionist and imperialist presence and bring about the stabilization of peace in the Middle East, the people of Palestine looks to the support of all liberal men of the world and all the forces of good, progress and peace; and implores all of them, regardless of their different leanings and orientations, to offer all help and support to the people of Palestine in its just and legal struggle to liberate its homeland.

Article 23:The demands of security and peace and the requirements of truth and justice oblige all states that preserve friendly relations among peoples and maintain the loyalty of citizens to their homelands to consider Zionism an illegitimate movement and to prohibit its existence and activity.

Article 24:The Palestinian Arab people believes in the principles of justice, freedom, sovereignty, self­determination, human dignity and the right of peoples to exercise them.

Article 25:For the realization of the goals of this Charter and its principles, the Palestine Liberation Organization will perform its role in the liberation of Palestine in accordance with the Constitution of this Organization.

Article 26:The Palestine Liberation Organization, which represents the forces of the Palestinian revolution, is responsible for the movement of the Palestinian Arab people in its struggle to restore its homeland, liberate it, return to it and exercise the right of self­determination in it. This responsibility extends to all military, political and financial matters, and all else that the Palestine issue requires in the Arab and international spheres.

Article 27:The Palestine Liberation Organization will cooperate with all Arab states, each according to its capacities, and will maintain neutrality in their mutual relations in the light of and on the basis of, requirements of the battle of liberation, and will not interfere in the internal affairs of any Arab state.

Article 28:The Palestinian Arab people insists upon the originality and independence of its national revolution, and rejects every manner of interference, trusteeship and subordination.

Article 29:The Palestinian Arab people possesses the fundamental and genuine right in liberating and restoring its homeland and will define its position with reference to all states and powers on the basis of their positions with reference to the issue of Palestine and the extent of their support for the Palestinian Arab people in its revolution to realize its aims.

Article 30:The fighters and bearers of arms in the battle of liberation are the nucleus of the popular army, which will be the protecting arm of the gains of the Palestinian Arab people.

Article 31:The organization shall have a flag, an oath of allegiance and an anthem. All this shall be decided upon in accordance with special regulation.

Article 32:To this covenant is attached a law known as the fundamental law of the Palestine Liberation Organization, in which is determined the manner of the organization's formation, its committees, its institutions, the special functions of every one of them and all the requisite duties associated with them in accordance with this covenant.

Article 33:This Chapter shall not be amended save by a vote of two­thirds of the total membership of the National Congress of the Palestine Liberation Organization [taken] at a special session convened for that purpose.