Palestine National Council
Damascus, 11-19 April 1981
This session is held at a time when the Palestinian revolution is engaged in an escalating and expanding struggle under the leadership of the PLO in all arenas of the struggle, both inside and outside occupied Palestine, to confront colonialist-Zionist-imperialist aggression and in pursuit of the revolution’s course towards liberation and return. This aggression has taken a variety of forms. There are the daily land, sea and air attacks on South Lebanon by the forces of the Zionist enemy in which the most lethal American weapons are employed. There is also the policy of persecution, oppression and settlement pursued by the Zionist occupation against the people of Palestine in their occupied homeland. There have also been America's attempts to impose its control and domination on the Arab homeland and the neighbouring areas by various means, in particular the establishment of military bases and the call for the establishment of pacts on the pretext of an alleged Soviet danger.
The session was conducted in accordance with the democratic procedure that the Arab people of Palestine are devoted to, that the PLO adheres to and the Palestinian revolution is proud of. The Council discussed the political and financial reports submitted by the Executive Committee and, through its committees, studied all the various aspects of the current situation at the Palestinian, Arab and international levels, and adopted the necessary resolutions in all fields, organizational, military, political and financial.
The Council confirmed the political and organizational programmes decided on at its previous session, and the democratic principles and collective leadership at all levels of the PLO and its agencies. It stressed the need for the PLO's departments and institutions to exercise their powers to the full and to establish specialized supreme councils organized on the basis of a front to draw up the plans to be followed by the PLO's institutions in the military, information and financial fields and to supervise their implementation.
The Council stressed the need for the achievement of full national unity by the participation of all organizations of the revolution and the Palestinian nationalist forces in all the institutions and the nationalist mass organizations, as being the basis for the unification of popular efforts. It also called for the development of unified military action under the responsibility of the Supreme Military Council and the Executive Committee, to ensure the confrontation of the present grave situation and as a step along the road towards comprehensive military unity. It also stressed the importance of establishing consultative committees to cooperate with the PLO’s offices in every place where there are Palestinian communities and groupings.
The Council also decided to declare the general military mobilization of all sectors of our people in all Palestinian communities outside the occupied homeland. It called on Arab and friendly countries to facilitate the enforcement of this measure and to enable the Palestinians resident in their territories to join the forces of the Palestinian revolution. The Council stressed that the sole option for the solution of the Palestine issue is the Palestinian option. The Council therefore rejects and condemns the options put forward by imperialism, Zionism and their agents for the solution of the Palestine issue.
The Council also stressed that no country is entitled to claim to represent the Palestinian people or to negotiate on the question of Palestine, whether as regards the land, the people or their rights, and that any measure taken inconsistent with this is null and void and has no legal validity. For the PLO alone has the right to choose the just and comprehensive solution that will ensure the Palestinian people of their inalienable national rights, full and undiminished.
The Council affirmed that the occupied City of Jerusalem is the capital of Palestine. The Council considers Zionist aggression against Jerusalem to be a violation of the rights of the Palestinian people, a challenge to international legality and a provocation to all believers in the world. The Council called on all countries and organizations in the world to refuse to take any action involving any kind of implicit recognition of Zionist aggression against Jerusalem or of the Zionist measures taken in the city.
In its discussions and resolutions the Council expressed its great pride in the level of struggle attained by the uprising of our people in the occupied homeland, in the extent of unity and cohesion they have achieved and in their full allegiance to the PLO. The Council commended the heroic struggle of the masses of our people in Galilee, the Triangle, the Negev, Jerusalem, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip against Zionist schemes aimed at the expansion of settlement, Judaization and the destruction of the national economy, national culture and the Holy Places.
The Council also expressed its pride in the steadfastness of the prisoners and detainees in the enemy's prisons, who are providing noble examples of selflessness and sacrifice in their defence of the right of our people to liberation and return. The Council stressed the supreme importance of building the Palestinian National Front in the occupied homeland as being a main arm of the PLO. It also stressed the importance of the role of the National Guidance Committee and all other mass committees and organizations in the national struggle against the occupation and its schemes. The Council laid emphasis on the importance of support for trade unions, students' and women’s organizations and all professional associations and municipalities, to enable them to perform their role of consolidating the steadfastness of our people in their land, and reinforcing and escalating their unity against the measures of the Zionist enemy and its expansionist policy.
The Council considered that the development and escalation of armed struggle against Zionist occupation is in the forefront of the tasks required of the forces of the Palestinian revolution both at home and outside [ the occupied homeland].
It reaffirmed the necessity for all Arab fronts to be opened up to the valiant fighters of our revolution.
The Council discussed the social, economic, cultural and health problems of our people wherever they may be, and the attainment of appropriate solutions to them.
In this connection, the Council stressed the need to support the role of the institutions operating within the framework of the PLO that are concerned with these problems. It also expressed the view that the maintenance of the services of UNRWA [United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East] is an international responsibility until such time as those members of our Palestinian people who are refugees are enabled to exercise their in lienable right to return to their homes and their possessions. It demanded that an end be put to the political blackmail that is being practiced by certain Western countries, in particular the US, in the form of threats to reduce the Agency's services.
It confirmed the decision of the Arab League to make efforts to ensure that UNRWA's budget is incorporated in the regular budget of the UN.
At the Arab Level:
The Council stressed the importance of consolidating Arab solidarity on the basis of commitment to hostility to imperialism and Zionism, rejection of the Camp David accords and the Egyptian-Israeli treaty, and enforcement of the inalienable national rights of the Palestinian people, including their right to return, to self-determination and to establish their independent state on the soil of their homeland under the leadership of the PLO.
The Council condemned the infringement by Somalia, Oman and Sudan of the resolutions of the Baghdad and Tunis Arab summit conferences, and stressed the special importance of the relations of alliance between the Syrian Arab region and the PLO, inasmuch as, together, they constitute the principal base in the Arab nation's steadfastness and resistance to its enemies. It stressed the need to consolidate this vital relationship and to ensure the means necessary for the achievement of the goals of the joint pan-Arab struggle.
The Council stressed the importance of firm relations in struggle between the Palestinian and Jordanian peoples and affirmed its support for the Jordanian nationalist movement in all fields, and especially in its national struggle against any attempt to induce Jordan to infringe the resolutions of the Arab and Islamic summit conferences as regards the cause of Palestine, and rejection of the Camp David accords and the self-rule conspiracy.
The Council declared the PLO's adherence to the resolutions of the Algiers, Rabat, Baghdad and Tunis Arab summit conferences, and expressed the view that the Jordanian regime's commitment to these resolutions, including those relative to the PLO being enabled to exercise its responsibilities to the people and their struggle in the Jordanian arena, is the basic principle governing the bilateral relations between the two parties. It also expressed the view that the Jordanian regime is responsible for the fact that no positive results have been reached as regards the practical embodiment of the fact that the PLO is the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people wherever they may be. The Council discussed the activities of the [PLO-Jordan] Joint Coordinating Committee for the Support of Steadfastness, and stressed the need for action at the Arab level to ensure that the PLO assumes full responsibility in this field. It also reaffirmed the role of the Palestinian side on the Committee and the importance of drawing up a comprehensive plan, in conformity with clearly defined priorities, for the support of the steadfastness of our people and their institutions, with the participation of the organizations of the revolution and qualified nationalist persons inside and outside the homeland.
In the light of the cohesion between the Lebanese and Palestinian peoples, the Council stressed the importance of a unified political and military stand being adopted by the Palestinian revolution, the Lebanese Nationalist Movement and all other Lebanese nationalist forces, and also the importance of common struggle to thwart all attempts to exhaust the forces of the Palestinian revolution in the Lebanese arena, to fragment Lebanon and to threaten its Arab character and security. The Palestine National Council saluted the Lebanese and Palestinian masses and the Joint Forces, who are holding out in South Lebanon, for their self-sacrifice and heroism in their resistance to the Zionist enemy and the isolationist forces who are heavily armed with the most modern American weapons of destruction. The Council also expressed the view that the resolutions of the Arab summit conferences and the principles of national entente declared by President Elias Sarkis provide the starting point for ensuring Lebanon's stability and safeguarding the Palestinian revolution.
The Council affirmed its intention of continuing the struggle side by side with the valiant Lebanese people, under the leadership of their Nationalist Movement and all the other nationalist forces, for the unity of the people and territory of Lebanon, for its Arab character and for its democratic development.
The National Council declared its support for the Lebanese Nationalist Movement in its rejection of all kinds of outside intervention and of the plans for internationalization which are aimed at impairing the steadfastness of the Palestinian revolution, the Lebanese Nationalist Movement and Syria.
The Council expressed its appreciation of the efforts being made to unify all forces opposed to the isolationist-Zionist scheme in a single broad Lebanese nationalist front.
The Council stressed the importance of the pan-Arab role being played by the Arab Deterrent Forces in safeguarding Lebanon's security, Arab character, territorial integrity and unity, and in frustrating partitionist plans.
The Council also declared its rejection of all projects for resettling the Palestinians in, and affirmed its absolute commitment to the right of our people to return to their homeland, Palestine.
The Council expressed the highest respect for the nationalist and progressive forces in Arab Egypt in their valiant struggle to frustrate the Camp David accords and the Egyptian-Israeli treaty, and declared its support for the nationalist forces and its faith in the inevitable victory of the will of the Arab people of Egypt that Egypt should once more perform its role as leader of the Arab struggle against imperialism and Zionism and for the liberation of Palestine.
As regards the Iraqi-Iranian war, the Council called for this war to be halted at once, and congratulated the PLO leadership on the efforts it has made and is still making to stop this war so that all the energies of the two countries may be directed to the support of the struggle against imperialist-Zionist aggression against our area, and for the liberation of Palestine and Jerusalem. For the continuation of this war can only injure our cause and be of service to the enemies of the Arab nation and the Islamic peoples.
The Council stressed the importance of rendering more effective the Arab Front for Steadfastness and Confrontation and the need to develop relations between the parties of this front to facilitate the achievement of its goals of resisting all the imperialist conspiracies that confront the area and, first and foremost, the Camp David schemes and the parties to them.
The Council affirmed the vital importance of the role of the PLO and Syria within the framework of the Arab Front for Steadfastness and Confrontation, in efforts to perform the tasks related to the national and pan-Arab struggle specified in the deterrent resolutions of the Steadfastness and Confrontation summit.
The Council stressed the importance of the Arab People's Conference and the need for efforts to develop it so that it may become the framework for an Arab popular front for the achievement of the goals of our people and our nation as regards liberation, unity and progress.
The Council affirmed that the imperialist military provocations in the Arab Gulf region and the Red Sea are an integral part of the imperialist strategy of striking at national liberation movements, obtaining control of the destinies and the wealth of the region and imposing political, military and economic tutelage on it.
It affirmed that this region should be declared an area free of American presence and American military bases, and of military pacts, and that the right of the states of the area to independence and sovereignty should be safeguarded.
The Council also affirmed that the oil wealth of the Arab homeland should be utilized in the interests of the welfare and progess of the Arab nation and of its current issues, headed by the cause of Palestine.
The Council stressed the importance of close alliance between the forces of revolution throughout the world, and expressed its wish to strengthen the relations of friendship and solidarity with the socialist countries headed by the friendly USSR, with national liberation movements, and with democratic and progressive forces opposed to imperialism and Zionism in the capitalist countries.
The Council welcomed President Brezhnev's statement on the Middle East crisis at the 26th Conference of the Soviet Communist Party, in which he stressed the importance of the role of the PLO in reaching a just solution of the crisis and the need for the implementation of the inalienable national rights of the Palestinian people, including their right to establish their independent national state as affirmed by the UN resoutions on the Palestine question, and the importance of the UN playing a role in the solution of this problem.
The Council expressed its appreciation of the political, material and moral support provided by the socialist countries to the Palestinian revolution and the struggle of the Palestinian people.
The Council expressed its concern for the unity of the Non-aligned Movement on the basis of its hostility to imperialism, Zionism and racism. It expressed its appreciation of the solidarity of the nonaligned states with the struggle of our people for the enforcement of their inalienable national rights and for the confrontation of aggression.
The Council also expressed its appreciation of the resolutions of the Sixth Summit Conference of the Non-aligned Movement in Havana and the recent resolutions of the non-aligned foreign ministers in Delhi on the question of Palestine and the Middle East.
The Council praised Arab-African solidarity with the struggle against the Zionist enemy and its ally, the racist regime in South Africa. The Council expressed its appreciation of the solidarity of the African countries with the struggle of our people, saluted the victory of the people of Zimbabwe against racism and the establishment of their national state, and affirmed its full support for the struggle of the people of Namibia against the racist regime in South Africa and for freedom and independence.
The Council affirmed its resolute support for the struggle of the peoples of Latin America and the Caribbean area, and condemned the aggressive moves of the American government in that area.
The Council stressed the importance of securing wider recognition of the PLO and discussed the moves being made by the countries of the European Community. It expressed its conviction that it is the right and the duty of the Palestinian revolution to continue its political and diplomatic moves and activity at the international level, including the countries of Western Europe.
The Council expressed the view that no initiative can be valid if it regards the Camp David agreements and methods as the basis for a solution, and does not recognize the PLO as the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people and the right of our people to return, to self-determination and to establish their independent state on the soil of their homeland.
The Council called for action to ensure that the Arab and Islamic countries, and in particular such of them as have oil, employ their energies and resources to induce the capitalist industrial countries to recognize the PLO and the full inalienable national rights of the people of Palestine.
The Council saluted all democratic and progressive forces in the countries of Western Europe and all other capitalist countries, that are opposed to imperialism, Zionism, racial discrimination and fascism.
The Council vehemently condemned terrorism and international terrorism, and in particular official and organized Zionist terrorism that is being practiced against the Palestinian people, the PLO and the people of Lebanon, and American imperialist terrorism that is being practised against liberation movements throughout the world.
The Council affirmed its adherence to the UN Charter and to international legality which has recognized the inalienable national rights of the Palestinian people.
At the end of its session the Council accepted the resignation of the Executive Committee, in accordance with the statutes, and elected a new Executive Committee embodying national unity. The Executive Committee also unanimously elected Yasser Arafat as chairman.
The Council also prolonged the term of the present National Council until such time as the Sixteenth National Council shall meet, and decided how it should be constituted.
Source: Journal of Palestine Studies, vol. x, no 4, Summer 1981.