Palestine National Council
National Unity Programme
Damascus, 15-22 January 1979
The US settlement of the Arab-Zionist conflict, as embodied in the Camp David accords, will bring about fateful dangers to the Palestine cause and to the cause of Arab national liberation, for it allows the Zionist enemy to continue its usurpation of Palestinian national soil and cancel out the inalienable right of the Palestinian Arab people to their homeland, Palestine, and their right to return to their homeland and to exercise self-determination and national independence over their national soil. The accords also forsake other parts of the Arab territories, and by-pass the PLO, the leader of our people’s national struggle and their sole legitimate representative, speaking on their behalf and expressing their will.
These accords also represent an act of aggression against Palestinian, Arab and international legitimacy, and pave the way for the heightening of US imperialist and Zionist domination over our Arab region and over the African states. They also make use of the Egyptian regime within the framework of its alliance with imperialism and Zionism – as a tool for the suppression of the Arab and African liberation movements.
From our understanding of the dangers of the new conspiracy and its dimensions, we consider it our national responsibility – in our capacity as the PLO, representative of the Palestinian Arab people in all its factions and national forces – to reject and confront the new plot, and to protect our people, their inalienable national rights in their homeland Palestine; and our Palestinian Revolution.
The honorable stand of our masses in the occupied homeland and outside it and the stand of the Arab masses which rejected the Camp David agreements and announced their determination to confront this new plot against our people and their inalienable national rights and against the Arab Nation, provides us with further determination to confront this conspiracy and further confidence in actually repelling it. At the same time, we are shouldering a huge responsibility which we can only carry out with a united, popular and national stand, via the PLO.
In response to the will of our people and to the challenges facing us; out of our belief in national unity within the PLO as the only road to victory; on the basis of the Palestinian National Charter, the resolutions of the Palestine National Councils, the Tripoli Document regarding unity between all factions of the Revolution, and the right of our people to establish a democratic state over the whole of their national soil; and finally in order to confront this critical and difficult phase in the struggle of our people; we the representatives of all factions of the Revolution and all Palestinian national forces, announce the following:
On the Palestinian level:
1. Upholding the inalienable national rights of our people in their homeland, Palestine; their right to return, their right to self-determination without any external interference, and their unconditional right to establish an independent state on their national soil.
2. Defending the PLO as the sole legitimate representative of our people, the leader of their national struggle and their spokesman in all Arab and international forums. Fighting all attempts to harm, ignore or by-pass the PLO, or to create alternatives to it or partners with it in representing the Palestinian people. Abide by the resolutions of the Algiers and Rabat Arab Summits and by the resolutions 3236 and 3237 which confirm our inalienable national rights and stress Arab and international recognition of the PLO as sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people.
3. Our firm determination to pursue and escalate armed struggle and all forms of political and popular struggle, particularly inside the occupied territories, since the latter represents the main battlefield with the Zionist enemy; and this in order to realize the inalienable national rights of the Palestinian Arab people.
4. Stressing that the Palestine cause is the core and essence of the Arab-Zionist conflict; and rejecting all resolutions, agreements and settlements which do not recognize or which undermine our people's rights in their homeland, including their rights to return, to self-determination and to establish their independent national state – particularly Security Council resolution 242.
5. Rejecting and confronting the self-rule plan in the occupied homeland, which consolidates Zionist settler-colonialism in our land, denies the rights of our people, and cancels our people's aim of national independence.
6. Reaffirming the unity of the Palestinian Arabs inside and outside the occupied homeland, and their unified representation within the PLO; confronting all plans and attempts to partition our people and to by-pass the PLO; striving to support the struggle of our people under occupation and to consolidate their unity and steadfastness.
7. Backing the establishment of a Palestinian National Front in the interior, as an inseparable part of the PLO; and providing it with 'all means of political and financial support which would enable it to mobilize the masses in confronting the Zionist occupation and their plans and projects which are hostile to our people and to their national rights.
8. Attachment to Palestine as the historic homeland of the Palestinian people for which there is no alternative; and fighting all plans for resettlement or for the creation of an “alternative homeland” put forth by the Zionist-imperialist enemy, with the aim of liquidating the Palestine cause and Palestinian National struggle and of ignoring the right to return.
On the Arab level:
1. Confirming that the confrontation of the Camp David accords and its annexes and their dangerous repercussions on the Arab struggle, is the responsibility of all the Arab masses and their national and progressive forces; and that the National Front for Confrontation and Steadfastness and its pillars, Syria and the PLO, are the central pivot in confronting the US-Israeli settlement conspiracy.
2. Striving to support and consolidate the Confrontation and Steadfastness Front and to expand it on the basis of resistance to the imperialist-Zionist settlement conspiracies; attachment to the objective of liberating all Arab and Palestinian occupied territories and to the inalienable national rights of the Palestinian people; and provision of all possible popular and material support to the Steadfastness and Confrontation Front, particularly the PLO and Syria.
3. The PLO calls on all national and progressive parties, movements and forces in the Arab World to back, and to offer all forms of popular and material support to the Steadfastness and Confrontation Front. It also calls on them to cooperate and join in the struggle against US-Israeli settlement plans.
4. a) The PLO stresses that it firmly abides by the unity, Arabism and independence of Lebanon, and reasserts its respect for Lebanese sovereignty and its commitment to the Cairo Agreement and its annexes, which organise relations between it and the Lebanese authorities.
b) The PLO highly values the role which the Lebanese people and its national and progressive forces have played and continue to play in support and in defence of the struggle of the Palestinian people. While stressing its pride in this unity between the Palestinian and the Lebanese peoples and their national and progressive forces in defence of Lebanese land and of the Palestinian Revolution against Israeli aggression, plots, and local agents, the PLO confirms the necessity of continuing and consolidating this unity.
5. a) The PLO reaffirms the special nature of the relations binding the Palestinian and Jordanian peoples, and expresses its concern to maintain this cohesion between the two fraternal peoples.
b} The PLO declares its attachment to the Rabat and Algiers Arab Summit resolutions, which confirm that the PLO is the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people, and confirm our people's right to establish an independent national state. It considers the Jordanian regime’s commitment to these resolutions, its rejection of the Camp David accords and of an involvement in these accords, and its enabling the PLO to exercise its responsibilities in the struggle on the popular level against the Israeli enemy, as the basis which governs the PLO’s relations with the Jordanian regime.
6. The PLO stresses its right to struggle on the Arab and national levels via any Arab territory, for the liberation of the occupied Palestinian territories.
7. The PLO declares that its relations with, and stand towards, any Arab regime, are defined by the various regimes' commitment to the Algiers and Rabat resolutions and their rejection of the Camp David agreement, their annexes and repercussions.
8. The PLO calls on all the Arab nationalist forces and on all nationalist and friendly regimes, to support the Egyptian people and their national movement, and enable them to confront Sadat's conspiracy, and foil the Camp David agreements and their repercussions on the Egyptian people, their Arabism and their long history of resistance to Zionism and imperialism.
On the international level:
1. The role which the USA is playing against our Palestinian people and their national struggle, and against the Arab national liberation movement and its objectives, whether through its support for Israel or through its lackeys in the Arab world, represents a blatant aggression against our people and their national cause. The PLO, together with all the factions of the Arab liberation movement and forces and with the nationalist and progressive regimes, declares its determination to resist US policy, objectives and practices in the area.
2. The PLO confirms the importance of its alliance with the Socialist states led by the USSR, as a national necessity in confronting US-Zionist conspiracies against the Palestine cause and the Arab liberation movement and its achievements.
3. The PLO stresses the importance of consolidating its cooperation ties with the friendly Non-Aligned, Islamic and African states, which support the PLO and its struggle for the realization of Palestinian national rights of return, self-determination, and establishing an independent national state.
4. The PLO, as a national liberation movement, declares its support for all national liberation movements in the world, particularly in Zimbabwe, Namibia and South Africa, and expresses its intention to develop its relations with these movements, considering that struggle against imperialism, Zionism and racism are a common cause.
5. The PLO declares its adherence to the achievements of Palestinian struggle on the international level, including the international recognition of the PLO and the national rights of the Palestinian people in their homeland, Palestine. These achievements have materialized in UN resolutions since 1974, specifically resolutions 3236 and 3237 which confirm the right of the PLO to participate in all meetings and conferences on the Palestine issue, and which consider such agreements or discussions null and void in the PLO's absence.
On the organizational field:
1. All the Palestinian Revolution's factions and the Palestinian national forces participate in the PLO's institutions, primarily in the National Council, the Central Council and the Executive Committee, in accordance with the principles of democracy and frontal relations.
2. The Palestinian leadership is a collective one, i.e, decision making is the responsibility of all, in its adoption and implementation, on the basis of democracy and the commitment of the minority to the majority's decision according to the political and organizational program and to the resolutions of the National Congress.
3. Full guarantee of the exercise by the PLO's departments, institutions, and apparatuses of their prerogatives, according to their specializations, as stipulated by the PLO's internal code. The Executive Committee forms supreme professional specialized councils on a frontal basis, to put forth plans and supervise their execution by the PLO's institutions, especially in the military, informational, and financial fields.
4. The Executive Committee and the Central Council are to be formed according to what is agreed upon and as stipulated by the internal code of the PLO and the National Congress resolutions.
5. The next Executive Committee will begin its activities by putting forth the necessary plans for the implementation of the provisional program, and will reassess the apparatuses and departments of the PLO, taking into consideration expertise and quality to ensure maximum productivity.
Source: International Documents on Palestine, 1979. Beirut: Institute for Palestine Studies, 1981, p. 22-25.