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This document is the original  version of the Palestinian National Charter, agreed to by Palestine Liberation Organization  

Before the Six day war, the Palestine Liberation Organization , founded in 1964 and led by Ahmed Shukhairy, had been instrumental in helping to provoke conflict. Shukhairy himself gave a speech at the U.N. describing graphically what the PLO would do to Israel and its Jewish inhabitants if 'it will be our privilege to strike the first blow.'

Shukhairy drafted a charter for the PLO that was ratified in 1964. In Arabic, the document is called "Al-Mithaq Al-Kawmee Al-Philisteeni." Mithaq was at first translated as covenant, but later the word "charter" was adopted. Palestinians claim that "Al Kawmee" is untranslatable. It evidently implies that Palestinians are less than a nation in their own right, and are part of the Arab nation or Ouma. In later years, the Palestinians adopted the designation "Shaabi" for the Palestinian people.

The fate of the Jews living in the claimed territory of the Palestinian state was left unclear in this ominous article.

Article 7: Jews of Palestinian origin are considered Palestinians if they are willing to live peacefully and loyally in Palestine.

It is unclear if the above refers to Jews descended from families that lived in Palestine before the advent of Zionism, or to any Jews born in Israel, or what the status of Jews who have only one Palestinian Jewish parent, or what would be the fate of Jews who were not of "Palestinian origin." 

The original non-Zionist Jewish inhabitants of Palestine had mostly died by 1963. Many of their descendants were Zionists and married Zionists who came from abroad, just as many Palestinian Arabs married Arabs who had immigrated to Palestine. In any case, they were a tiny minority in 1964. About 100,000 Jews had lived in the area before 1914. Evidently the majority of the Jews were to be expelled or murdered, but their fate is not specified.

The charter speaks for itself. It calls for destruction of a member state of the UN, in violation of the UN charter. Nonetheless, the PLO was subsequently given observer status in the UN. The major and noteworthy features of both the 1964 and 1968 versions of the charter are:

1. Declaration of intent to destroy Israel and "liberate" all of Palestine:

Article 2:Palestine, with the boundaries it had during the British Mandate, is an indivisible territorial unit.

Article 3: The Palestinian Arab people possess the legal right to their homeland and have the right to determine their destiny after achieving the liberation of their country in accordance with their wishes and entirely of their own accord and will.

2. Defiance of UN General Assembly Resolution 181, which called for partition of Palestine:

 Article 19: The partition of Palestine in 1947 and the establishment of the state of Israel are entirely illegal, regardless of the passage of time, because they were contrary to the will of the Palestinian people and to their natural right in their homeland, and inconsistent with the principles embodied in the Charter of the United Nations, particularly the right to self-determination.

The above is especially instructive given the Palestinian insistence on "international legitimacy."

3. Denial of the historic connection of the Jews to the land:

Article 20: ...Claims of historical or religious ties of Jews with Palestine are incompatible with the facts of history and the true conception of what constitutes statehood.

The above claim has been seconded by attempts of pro-Palestinian academics to erase or deny archeological and other evidence of Jewish habitation in Jerusalem and elsewhere in ancient times. For some reason, US President Clinton was surprised when PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat denied that Jews had lived in the land in ancient times. There was no occasion for surprise, as it is an article of the Palestinian charter.

4. Denial of Jewish peoplehood and of the right to self-determination of the Jewish people:

Judaism, being a religion, is not an independent nationality. Nor do Jews constitute a single nation with an identity of its own; they are citizens of the states to which they belong.

This statement should be borne in mind when considering the outraged and self righteous protests by Palestinian Arabs when some Israelis deny that there is a Palestinian people or that there was a Palestinian people before 1948.

A national charter that is based primarily on negation of another people's rights is remarkable.

The charter evolved into the Palestinian National Charter of 1968. The major difference in the latter document was the addition of several articles insisting that armed struggle and commando operations are the only way to "liberate Palestine" (destroy Israel) and solve the Palestinian problem. Obviously these charters are incompatible with a peace agreement with Israel, and it was agreed between the parties to change them following  The Oslo Declaration of Principles in 1964

In his letter of September 9, 1993 to Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, Fatah leader and PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat stated:

In view of the promise of a new era and the signing of the Declaration of Principles and based on Palestinian acceptance of Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338, the PLO affirms that those articles of the Palestinian Covenant which deny Israel's right to exist, and the  provisions of the Covenant which are inconsistent with the commitments of this letter are now inoperative and no longer valid. Consequently, the PLO undertakes to submit to the Palestinian National Council for formal approval the necessary changes in regard to the Palestinian Covenant.

Some changes in the charter were ratified by PLO governing bodies, but other offensive paragraphs and language remain. The commitment to nullify the offending provisions of the charter was specified in detail in 1996 in a letter of Chairman Arafat to Shimon Peres and restated by Arafat in a letter in a letter to  US officials in 1998.

Under the leadership of the PNA and the Fatah, and under extreme pressure from Israel and the U.S.,  the PLO in fact held several meetings in which some of the offending articles were repealed, with disputed legality.

The revisions that were supposed to admit the legitimacy of Israel  are not shown in e in any  version of the Charter published by the Palestinian National Authority or the PLO. The Web site of the Palestinian mission to the UN features a statement concerning the changes in the charter but it also displays the 1964 version of the Palestinian National Charter on a separate page,  without comment as of December 2009. That is the document reproduced below. If the charter has been nullified and replaced by the Palestinian constitution, as some claim,  it is highly irregular that the charter is still displayed at an official PLO Web site. The PNA Basic Law or Palestinian constitution does not mention the Palestinian National Charter or claim that it is intended to replace or supersede it. The Web site of the Palestinian National Authority is non-functional at this date. 

Below is the complete and unabridged text of the original Palestinian National Charter, as published officially in English by the Palestinian Authority at the Web site of the UN delegation of the Palestinian Authority (source as of December 30, 2009 - http://www.un.int/palestine/PLO/PNA2.html)    

Ami Isseroff

December 31, 2009

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(Al-Mithaq Al-Kawmee Al-Philisteeni)*


We, the Palestinian Arab people, who waged fierce and continuous battles to safeguard its homeland, to defend its dignity and honor, 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 conspire and worked to displace it, dispossess it from its homeland and property, abused what is holy in it and who in spite of all this refused to weaken or submit.

We, the Palestinian Arab people, who believe in its Arabism and in its right to regain its homeland, to realize its freedom and dignity, and who have 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 (al-jihad) until complete and final victory has been attained,

We, the Palestinian Arab people, based 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 dimensions, and considering the past experiences in all that pertains to the causes of the catastrophe, and the means to face it,

And embarking from the Palestinian Arab reality, and for the sake of the honor 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 Charter and swear to realize it.

Article 1. Palestine is an Arab homeland bound by strong Arab national ties to the rest of the Arab Countries and which together form the great Arab homeland.

Article 2: Palestine, with its boundaries at the time of the British Mandate, is a indivisible territorial unit.

Article 3: The Palestinian Arab people has the legitimate right to its homeland and isan 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 determine 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 Arab father 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 an 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: Ideological doctrines, whether political, social, or economic, shall not distract the people of Palestine from the primary duty of liberating their homeland. All Palestinian constitute one national front and work with all their feelings and material potentialities to free their homeland.

Article 10: Palestinians have three mottos: 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 stance 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 assume a vanguard role in achieving this sacred national goal.

Article 14: The liberation of Palestine, from an Arab viewpoint, is a national duty. Its responsibilities fall upon the entire Arab nation, governments and peoples, the Palestinian peoples being in the forefront. 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 role in liberating their homeland.

Article 15: The liberation of Palestine, from a spiritual viewpoint, prepares for the Holy Land an atmosphere of tranquillity and peace, in which all the Holy Places will be safeguarded, and the freedom to worship and to visit will be guaranteed for all, without any discrimination of race, color, language, or religion. For all this, the Palestinian people look forward to the support of all the spiritual forces in the world.

Article 16: The liberation of Palestine, from an international viewpoint, is a defensive act necessitated by the demands of self-defense as stated in the Charter of the United Nations. For that, the people of Palestine, desiring to befriend all nations which love freedom, justice, and peace, look forward to their support in restoring the legitimate situation to Palestine, establishing peace and security in its territory, and enabling its people to exercise national sovereignty and freedom.

Article 17: The partitioning of Palestine, which took place in 1947, and the establishment of Israel are illegal and null and void, regardless of the loss of time, because they were contrary to the will of the Palestinian people and its natural right to its homeland, and were 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 Palestine Mandate System, and all that has been based on them are considered null and void. The claims of historic and spiritual 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 to their states.

Article 19: Zionism is a colonialist movement in its inception, aggressive and expansionist in its goal, racist in its configurations, and fascist in its means and aims. Israel, in its capacity as the spearhead of this destructive movement and as the pillar of 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 requirements 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, that they consider Zionism an illegal movement and outlaw its presence and activities.

Article 21: The Palestinian people believes in the principles 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 cooperation.

Article 22: The Palestinian people believe in peaceful co-existence 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 Convent, the Palestine Liberation Organization carries out its full role to liberate Palestine in accordance with the basic law of this Organization.

Article 24: This Organization does not exercise any territorial sovereignty over the West Bank in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, on the Gaza Strip or in the Himmah Area. Its activities will be on the national popular level in the liberational, organizational, political and financial fields.

Article 25: This Organization is in charge of the movement of the Palestinian people in its struggle to liberate its homeland in all liberational, organizational, and financial matters, and in all other needs of the Palestine Question in the Arab and international spheres.

Article 26: The Liberation Organization cooperates with all Arab governments, each according to its ability, and does not interfere in the internal affairs of any Arab states.

Article 27: This Organization shall have its flag, oath and a national anthem. All this shall be resolved in accordance with special regulations.

Article 28: The basic law for the Palestine Liberation Organization is attached to this Charter. This law defines the manner of establishing the Organization, its organs, institutions, the specialties of each one of them, and all the needed duties thrust upon it in accordance with this Charter.

Article 29: This Charter cannot be amended except by two-thirds majority of the members of the National Council of the Palestine Liberation Organization in a special session called for this purpose.

*Adopted in 1964 by the 1st Palestinian Conference

* "Al-Kawmee" has no exact equivalent in English but reflects the notion of Pan-Arabism


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