The PLO Charter
Below is the Palestinian National Covenant, the official charter
of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO). The text is the English
version published officially by the PLO, unabridged and unedited.
Note, however, that the PLO's translation sometimes deviates from the
original Arabic so as to be more palatable to Western readers. For
example, in Article 15, the Arabic is translated as "the elimination
of Zionism," whereas the correct translation is "the liquidation of
the Zionist presence." "The Zionist presence" is a common Arabic
euphemism for the State of Israel, so this clause in fact
calls for the destruction of Israel, not just the end of Zionism.
Where subtleties in the original Arabic are important, the Arabic word
has been inserted in parentheses.
THE PALESTINIAN NATIONAL CHARTER:
Resolutions of the Palestine National Council,
July 1-17, 1968
Text of the Charter:
Palestine is the homeland of the Arab Palestinian people; it
is an indivisible part of the Arab homeland, and the Palestinian people
are an integral part of the Arab nation.
Palestine, with the boundaries it had during the British
Mandate, is an indivisible territorial unit.
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.
The Palestinian identity is a genuine, essential, and
inherent characteristic; it is transmitted from parents to children. The
Zionist occupation and the dispersal of the Palestinian Arab people,
through the disasters which befell them, do not make them lose their
Palestinian identity and their membership in the Palestinian community,
nor do they negate them.
The Palestinians are those Arab nationals who, until 1947,
normally resided in Palestine regardless of whether they were evicted
from it or have stayed there. Anyone born, after that date, of a
Palestinian father - whether inside Palestine or outside it - is also a
The Jews who had normally resided in Palestine until the
beginning of the Zionist invasion will be considered Palestinians.
That there is a Palestinian community and that it has
material, spiritual, and historical connection with Palestine are
indisputable facts. It is a national duty to bring up individual
Palestinians in an Arab revolutionary manner. All means of information
and education must be adopted in order to acquaint the Palestinian with
his country in the most profound manner, both spiritual and material,
that is possible. He must be prepared for the armed struggle and ready
to sacrifice his wealth and his life in order to win back his homeland
and bring about its liberation.
The phase in their history, through which the Palestinian
people are now living, is that of national (watani)
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 homeland or in diaspora (mahajir)
constitute - both their organizations and the individuals - one national
front working for the retrieval of Palestine and its liberation through
Armed struggle is the only way to liberate Palestine. Thus it
is the overall strategy, not merely a tactical phase. The Palestinian
Arab people assert their absolute determination and firm resolution to
continue their armed struggle and to work for an armed popular
revolution for the liberation of their country and their return to it.
They also assert their right to normal life in Palestine and to exercise
their right to self-determination and sovereignty over it.
Commando action constitutes the nucleus of the Palestinian
popular liberation war. This requires its escalation, comprehensiveness,
and the mobilization of all the Palestinian popular and educational
efforts and their organization and involvement in the armed Palestinian
revolution. It also requires the achieving of unity for the national
(watani) struggle among the different groupings of the Palestinian
people, and between the Palestinian people and the Arab masses, so as to
secure the continuation of the revolution, its escalation, and victory.
The Palestinians will have three mottoes: national
(wataniyya) unity, national (qawmiyya) mobilization,
The Palestinian people believe in Arab unity. In order to
contribute their share toward the attainment of that objective, 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.
Arab unity and the liberation of Palestine are two
complementary objectives, the attainment of either of which facilitates
the attainment of the other. Thus, Arab unity leads to the liberation of
Palestine, the liberation of Palestine leads to Arab unity; and work
toward the realization of one objective proceeds side by side with work
toward the realization of the other.
The destiny of the Arab nation, and indeed Arab existence
itself, depend upon the destiny of the Palestine cause. From this
interdependence springs the Arab nation's pursuit of, and striving for,
the liberation of Palestine. The people of Palestine play the role of
the vanguard in the realization of this sacred (qawmi) goal.
The liberation of Palestine, from an Arab viewpoint, is a
national (qawmi) duty and it attempts to repel the Zionist and
imperialist aggression against the Arab homeland, and aims at the
elimination of Zionism in Palestine. Absolute responsibility for this
falls upon the Arab nation - peoples and governments - with the Arab
people of Palestine in the vanguard. Accordingly, the Arab nation must
mobilize all its military, human, moral, and spiritual capabilities to
participate actively with the Palestinian people in the liberation of
Palestine. It must, particularly in the phase of the armed Palestinian
revolution, offer and furnish the Palestinian people with all possible
help, and material and human support, and make available to them the
means and opportunities that will enable them to continue to carry out
their leading role in the armed revolution, until they liberate their
The liberation of Palestine, from a spiritual point of view,
will provide the Holy Land with an atmosphere of safety and tranquility,
which in turn will safeguard the country's religious sanctuaries and
guarantee freedom of worship and of visit to all, without discrimination
of race, color, language, or religion. Accordingly, the people of
Palestine look to all spiritual forces in the world for support.
The liberation of Palestine, from a human point of view,
will restore to the Palestinian individual his dignity, pride, and
freedom. Accordingly the Palestinian Arab people look forward to the
support of all those who believe in the dignity of man and his freedom
in the world.
The liberation of Palestine, from an international point of
view, is a defensive action necessitated by the demands of self-defense.
Accordingly the Palestinian people, desirous as they are of the
friendship of all people, look to freedom-loving, and peace-loving
states for support in order to restore their legitimate rights in
Palestine, to re-establish peace and security in the country, and to
enable its people to exercise national sovereignty and freedom.
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 Balfour Declaration, the Mandate for Palestine, and
everything that has been based upon them, are deemed null and void.
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. 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.
The Arab Palestinian people, expressing themselves by the
armed Palestinian revolution, reject all solutions which are substitutes
for the total liberation of Palestine and reject all proposals aiming at
the liquidation of the Palestinian problem, or its internationalization.
Zionism is a political movement organically associated with
international imperialism and antagonistic to all action for liberation
and to progressive movements in the world. It is racist and fanatic in
its nature, aggressive, expansionist, and colonial in its aims, and
fascist in its methods. Israel is the instrument of the Zionist
movement, and geographical base for world imperialism placed
strategically in the midst of the Arab homeland to combat the hopes of
the Arab nation for liberation, unity, and progress. Israel is a
constant source of threat vis-a-vis peace in the Middle East and the
whole world. Since the liberation of Palestine will destroy the Zionist
and imperialist presence and will contribute to the establishment of
peace in the Middle East, the Palestinian people look for the support of
all the progressive and peaceful forces and urge them all, irrespective
of their affiliations and beliefs, to offer the Palestinian people all
aid and support in their just struggle for the liberation of their
The demand of security and peace, as well as the demand of
right and justice, require all states to consider Zionism an
illegitimate movement, to outlaw its existence, and to ban its
operations, in order that friendly relations among peoples may be
preserved, and the loyalty of citizens to their respective homelands
The Palestinian people believe in the principles of justice,
freedom, sovereignty, self-determination, human dignity, and in the
right of all peoples to exercise them.
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
The Palestine Liberation Organization, representative of the
Palestinian revolutionary forces, is responsible for the Palestinian
Arab people's movement in its struggle - to retrieve its homeland,
liberate and return to it and exercise the right to self-determination
in it - in all military, political, and financial fields and also for
whatever may be required by the Palestine case on the inter-Arab and
The Palestine Liberation Organization shall cooperate with
all Arab states, each according to its potentialities; and will adopt a
neutral policy among them in the light of the requirements of the war of
liberation; and on this basis it shall not interfere in the internal
affairs of any Arab state.
The Palestinian Arab people assert the genuineness and
independence of their national (wataniyya)
revolution and reject all
forms of intervention, trusteeship, and subordination.
The Palestinian people possess the fundamental and genuine
legal right to liberate and retrieve their homeland. The Palestinian
people determine their attitude toward all states and forces on the
basis of the stands they adopt vis-a-vis to the Palestinian revolution
to fulfill the aims of the Palestinian people.
Fighters and carriers of arms in the war of liberation are
the nucleus of the popular army which will be the protective force for
the gains of the Palestinian Arab people.
The Organization shall have a flag, an oath of allegiance,
and an anthem. All this shall be decided upon in accordance with a
Regulations, which shall be known as the Constitution of the
Palestinian Liberation Organization, shall be annexed to this Charter.
It will lay down the manner in which the Organization, and its organs
and institutions, shall be constituted; the respective competence of
each; and the requirements of its obligation under the Charter.
This Charter shall not be amended save by [vote of] a
majority of two-thirds of the total membership of the National Congress
of the Palestine Liberation Organization [taken] at a special session
convened for that purpose.
From Leila S. Kadi (ed.), Basic Political
Documents of the Armed Palestinian Resistance Movement, Palestine
Research Centre, Beirut, December 1969, pp. 137-141.