Palestine National Council
Cairo, July 10-17, 1968
(A) The Palestinian Cause at Palestinian Level:
Inasmuch as a definition of the objectives of the Palestinian struggle, the methods it adopts and the instruments it employs, is essential for the unification of that struggle under one leadership, the Council, having debated the matter, endorses the following definitions:
First – Objectives:
1. The liberation of the entire territory of Palestine, over which the Palestinian Arab people shall exercise their sovereignty.
2. That the Palestinian Arab people have the right to establish the form of society they desire in their own land and to decide on their natural place in Arab unity.
3. The affirmation of the Palestinian Arab identity, and rejection of any attempt to establish tutelage over it.
Second – Methods:
1. The Palestinian Arab people have chosen the course of armed struggle in the fight to recover their usurped territories and rights. The current phase in their armed struggle started before the defeat of June 1967 and has endured and escalated ever since. Moreover, despite the fact that this struggle renders a service to the entire Arab nation at the present stage, insofar as it prevents the enemy from laying claim to a status quo based on surrender, and insofar as it keeps the flame of resistance alive and maintains a climate of war, preoccupies the enemy and is an object of concern to the entire world community, that struggle is nevertheless a true and distinct expression of the aspirations of the Palestinian Arab people and is inspired by their objectives. In addition, we feel bound to declare quite frankly that this struggle goes beyond the scope of what it has become customary to call "the elimination of the consequences of the aggression", and all other such slogans, for the objectives of this struggle are those of the Palestinian Arab people, as set out in the preceding paragraph. The fight will not cease; it will continue, escalate and expand until final victory is won, no matter how long this takes and regardless of the sacrifices involved.
2. The enemy has chosen Blitzkrieg as the form of combat most suitable to him, in view of the tactical mobility at his command which enabled him, at the moment of battle, to unleash forces superior to those deployed by the Arabs. The enemy chose this method in the belief that a lightning victory would lead to surrender, according to the pattern of 1948, and not to Arab armed resistance. In dealing with it, we must adopt a method derived from elements of strength in ourselves and elements of weakness in the enemy.
3. The enemy consists of three interdependent forces:
- World Zionism.
- World imperialism, under the direction of the United States of America.
Moreover, it is incontestable that world imperialism makes use of the forces of reaction linked with colonialism.
If we are to achieve victory and gain our objectives, we shall have to strike at the enemy wherever he may be, and at the nerve centers of his power. This is to be achieved through the use of military, political and economic weapons and information media, as part of a unified and comprehensive plan designed to sap his strength, scatter his forces, destroy the links between them and undermine their common objectives.
4. A long-drawn out battle has the advantage of allowing us to expose world Zionism, its activities, conspiracies, and its complicity with world imperialism and to point out the damage and complications it causes to the interests and the security of many countries, and the threat it constitutes to world peace. This will eventually unmask it, bringing to light the grotesque facts of its true nature, and will isolate it from the centers of power and establish safeguards against its ever reaching them ...
5. An information campaign must be launched that will throw light on the following facts:
a) The true nature of the Palestinian war is that of a battle between a small people, which is the Palestinian people, and Israel, which has the backing of world Zionism and world imperialism.
b) This war will have its effect on the interests of any country that supports Israel or world Zionism.
c) The hallmark of the Palestinian Arab people is resistance, struggle and liberation, that of the enemy, aggression, usurpation and the disavowal of all values governing decent human relations.
6. A comprehensive plan must be drawn up to fuse the Arab struggle and the Palestinian struggle into a single battle. This requires concentrated ideological, information and political effort that will make it clear to the Arab nation that it can never enjoy peace or security until the tide of Zionist invasion is stemmed, and that its territory will be occupied piecemeal unless it deploys its resources in the battle, not to mention the extent to which the Zionist presence constitutes a drain on its resources and an impediment to the development of its society. Palestinian action regards the Arab nation as a reserve fund of political, financial and human resources on which it can draw, and whose support and participation will make it possible to fight the successive stages in the battle.
7. The peoples and governments of the Arab nation must be made to understand that they are under an obligation to protect the Palestinian struggle so that it may be able to confront the enemy on firm ground and direct all its forces and capabilities to this confrontation, fully assured of its own safety and security. This obligation is not only a national duty, it is a necessity deriving from the fact that the Palestinian struggle is the vanguard in the defense of all Arab countries, Arab territories and Arab aspirations.
8. Any objective study of the enemy will reveal that his potential for endurance, except where a brief engagement is concerned, is limited. The drain on this potential that can be brought about by a long-drawn out engagement will inevitably provide the opportunity for a decisive confrontation in which the entire Arab nation can take part and emerge victorious.
It is the duty of Palestinians everywhere to devote themselves to making the Arab nation aware of these facts, and to propagating the will to struggle. It is also their duty to endure, sacrifice and take part in the struggle.
Third – Instruments:
1. The instrument through which the revolution will be brought about is the Palestinian Arab masses, whether inside or outside the occupied territory, acting in close-knit solidarity, rallied around the Charter of the Palestinian revolution, and expressing their will through a united Palestinian command. This command enjoys the support of the Arab masses which share in the Palestinian struggle, from their firm conviction that the revolution of the Palestinian Arab people is the true expression of the liberated Arab will. The Arab masses have fought for liberty, unity and social justice since the beginning of this century and are now convinced that there can be neither unity, liberty nor social justice unless the usurped territory is liberated. In addition, there are the forces of world liberation which reject the control by Zionist Western imperialism over the destinies of peoples. These forces believe that the liberation of Palestine is an aspect of the world revolution against world imperialism and its conspiracies.
2. Palestinian armed struggle for the liberation of our usurped homeland is incomplete unless there is political action to complement it. This political action is the foundation of armed struggle, defines its aims and explains to the masses why it adopts specific attitudes, setting its individual actions in their proper perspective. In affirming this fact, the Council calls on all forces and elements taking part in the struggle to act in conformity with this political action and to be guided by it.
3. The Palestinian Arab masses form the material of the armed struggle. Dedicated resistance to usurpation and aggression cannot attain its objectives unless it relies on the Palestinian masses, particularly on the masses in the occupied territory. A comprehensive resistance movement which draws its support from the largest possible popular basis is the only guarantee for the realization of our objectives.
Practical Application in the Field of Armed Struggle:
1. The Palestine Liberation Organization is a grouping of Palestinian forces in one national front for the liberation of the territory of Palestine through armed revolution.
2. This Organization has its Charter which defines its objectives, directs its course and organizes its activities. The Organization also has a National Council and an Executive Command chosen by the National Council, which Command forms the supreme executive authority of the Organization, as defined by its Basic Law.
The Executive Committee shall draw up a unified general plan for Palestinian action at all levels and in all fields. This plan is to be implemented through the instruments of the revolution gathered in this Council, each of which must abide by the role assigned to it by this plan and by the decisions of the Command.
Proposals for the Creation of a Spurious Palestinian Entity:
The Zionist movement along with imperialism and its tool, Israel, is seeking to consolidate Zionist aggression against Palestine and the military victories won by Israel in 1948 and 1967, by establishing a Palestinian entity in the territories occupied during the June 1967 aggression. This entity would owe its existence to the legitimization and perpetuation of the state of Israel, which is absolutely incompatible with the Palestinian Arab people's right to the whole of Palestine, their homeland. Such a spurious entity would in fact be an Israeli colony and would lead to the liquidation of the Palestinian cause once and for all to the benefit of Israel. The creation of such an entity would, moreover, constitute an interim stage during which Zionism could empty the territory of Palestine occupied during the June 5 war of its Arab inhabitants, as a preliminary step to incorporating it in the Israeli entity. In addition, this would lead to the creation of a subservient Palestinian Arab administration in the territories occupied during the June 5 war on which Israel could rely in combating the Palestinian revolution. Also to be considered in this context are imperialist and Zionist schemes to place the Palestinian territories occupied since June 5 under international administration and protection. For these reasons, the National Council hereby declares its categorical rejection of the idea of establishing a spurious Palestinian entity in the territory of Palestine occupied since June 5, and of any form of international protection. The Council hereby declares, moreover, that any individual or party, Palestinian Arab or non-Palestinian, who advocates or supports the creation of such a subservient entity is the enemy of the Palestinian Arab people and the Arab nation.
(B) Palestinian Struggle in the Arab Field:
1. The battle for Palestine is a battle for the destiny of the whole Arab nation. It has been called the "battle for Palestine", but this arose from the false impression that the affair was restricted to a battle for the territory of Palestine alone, to the exclusion of all other parts of the Arab homeland, or that it was for the people of Palestine alone, to the exclusion of all the other peoples that make up the Arab nation. But the self-evident truth, as the enemy himself avows, is that it is a Zionist invasion of the Arab homeland, involving several Arab countries and vast areas of Arab territory in Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Egypt, Iraq, the Hejaz and the states of the Arab Gulf. The invasion of Palestine was intended only to establish a bridgehead for this vast invasion, and the June 1967 war was only the first wave of the thrust from this bridgehead into Arab territories beyond the confines of Palestine. This means that, occupying as he now does territories belonging to Syria and Egypt, the enemy has already gone beyond the purely Palestinian framework and moved into the wider Arab framework on which he has designs. This completely undermines the inviolability formerly enjoyed by internationally recognized frontiers and makes them subject to bargaining.
The slogan now being voiced publicly in Israel is that of the so-called "Greater Israel." This indicates that a new stage, involving a phased thrust for the usurpation of further Arab territories, has in fact begun. No Arab country can afford not to take part in the battle with all its resources, forces and potentials; if it does not, its territories will fall to the enemy piecemeal, or its turn will come once the enemy has finished with the others. The only way to repel the invasion is for the entire Arab nation to confront it with all the potential at its disposal in popular as well as conventional warfare.
3. The Arabs of Palestine hereby declare that, as regards the battle they are now fighting and the course they are pursuing, their total preoccupation with that battle into which all their resources will be channeled requires that they should not interfere in the internal affairs of any Arab country, as long as there is no interference in their struggle.
4. The Arab people must mobilize itself to strike at the interests in the Arab homeland of countries that support Israel and world Zionism, and frankly declare their hostility to such interests, to make it clear to these countries that their interests cannot escape actual harm as a result of their support of Israel.
(C) Palestinian Struggle in the International Field:
The Security Council Resolution and the Peaceful Solution:
1. The Security Council resolution of November 22 1967 is hereby rejected for the following reasons:
a) The resolution calls for the cessation of the state of hostility between the Arab nations and Israel. This entails the cessation of the state of hostility, free passage for Israeli shipping through Arab waterways, and an Arab commitment to put an end to the boycott of Israel, including the abrogation of all Arab legislation regulating that boycott. The cessation of the state of hostility also entails the relaxation of economic pressure on Israel, so that the door would be opened to an invasion of all Arab markets by Israeli goods, inasmuch as such goods could circulate, be traded in and flood the market regardless of whether or not economic agreements were concluded.
b) The resolution calls for the establishment of secure frontiers to be agreed upon with Israel. Apart from the fact that secure and mutually agreed frontiers involve the de facto recognition of Israel, and an unacceptable encroachment by the Arab countries on the unconditional right of the Palestinian Arab people to the whole of Palestine, an agreement by the Arab countries to secure frontiers for Israel would involve commitment to protecting Israel's security, by first suppressing commando action, putting an end to the Palestinian revolution and preventing the Palestinian Arab people and the Arab masses from discharging their sacred national duty to liberate and recover Palestine and to terminate the Zionist and imperialist presence there.
c) The resolution calls for the establishment of permanent peace between the Arab nations and Israel. This would have the following injurious consequences:
1. It would provide Israel with security and stability at domestic, Arab and international levels. This would throw the doors wide open to the Zionist movement, allowing it to entice large sections of Jewish communities in Western Europe and America into immigrating and settling in Israel. These communities have held back from so doing for the past twenty years because of misgivings about the security, future and continued existence of Israel.
2. It would eliminate the reasons, including Arab influence, for which friendly nations have so far not allowed their Jewish citizens to immigrate to Israel, notably in the case of the millions of Jews in the Soviet Union.
3. It would eliminate all reasons for which many countries friendly to the Arabs have refrained from recognizing Israel or from dealing with Israel at all levels.
4. It would strengthen the human and geographic barrier that separates the Arab homeland into east and west. This would be extremely injurious, as it would prevent the achievement of even partial, not to- mention total, Arab unity.
5. It would be a severe blow to the Palestinian armed struggle and to the Arab liberation movement whose objectives are liberation, social progress and unity, The consequence of this would be increased imperialist influence in the Arab homeland, accompanied by increased Zionist influence, in view of the organic political, economic, and other ties linking Zionism to imperialism. Arab policy would, as a result, be forced away from the line of neutrality and non-alignment.
6. The resolution ignores the Palestine problem, which it does not even mention by name, and ignores the rights of the Arabs of Palestine to their territories and their homeland, referring to both as if the problem was merely a problem of refugees. This presages the final liquidation of the issue of Palestine as an issue of a land and of a homeland.
7. It was not only territory that the Arab nation lost in June 1967. Arab dignity and self-confidence were also involved. A peaceful solution might restore some, or even all of those territories to the Arabs, but it would not restore their dignity and self-confidence.
8. The Arab nation must come to realize that it is under an inescapable obligation to defend its homeland, and not to rely on others for its protection or for the recovery of its territories and its rights. If the Arab countries accept a peaceful solution they will be renouncing the Arab will and agreeing that their destiny should be under the control of the Great Powers.
9. A peaceful solution might lead the Arab countries to imagine themselves to be secure. Israel would certainly exploit this illusion to strike again, after creating a political situation more to her liking, and thus realize her expansionist designs on the territories of the Arab countries.
For these reasons the National Council calls on the newly elected Executive Committee to draft a comprehensive plan operative at Arab popular, official and international levels, designed to frustrate any political solution of the Palestine problem.
The Council affirms, moreover, that the aggression against the Arab nation, and the territories of that nation, began with the Zionist invasion of Palestine in 1917, and that, as a consequence, “the elimination of the consequences of the aggression” must signify the elimination of all such consequences since the beginning of the Zionist invasion and not merely since the June 1967 war. The slogan “the elimination of the consequences of the aggression” is therefore rejected in its present form, and must be replaced by the slogan, “the destruction of the instrument of aggression.” Thus, and thus alone, will “peace based on justice” be established.
Source: International Documents on Palestine 1968. Beirut : Institute for Palestine Studies, 1971, pp. 399-403.