Statement by Palestinian Institutions
In the Occupied Territories
On Sadat’s Visit to Israel
8 December 1977
[The document is signed by representatives of most Palestinian municipalities, chambers of commerce, labor unions, associations and clubs in the West Bank and Gaza.]
We state our dissatisfaction with this step taken by President Sadat, because of the results and dangers likely to arise from it and because in his speech to the Knesset he made no mention of the PLO as the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people. We also declare that the PLO had every right, and indeed the duty, to adopt the attitude it has taken to this visit. In adopting this attitude it was clearly expressing the view and the attitude of the Palestinian people. However, our sense of responsibility prompts us to record that President Sadat has committed himself not to resort to a separate solution with Israel and that he has declared that he insists on the Arab character of Jerusalem, Israel withdrawing from all the occupied territories, on the refugees returning to their homes and on the Palestinian people being granted their right to self-determination and to establish their independent state.
While recalling the world's commitment to the resolutions of the United Nations and, in particular, General Assembly resolution 3236, adopted on November 22, 1974 and the resolutions of the Algiers and Rabat summits which regarded the PLO as the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people wherever they may be, we affirm our adherence to these resolutions, as also to the resolutions of the Thirteenth Palestine National Council held in Cairo. We call on all quarters to respect the commitment of the peoples of the world, including our Palestinian people, and we condemn any attempt to prejudice the legitimate rights of our people and, first and foremost, their right to self-determination. In the light of the above we assert the following principles:
1. While stating our attitude to President Sadat's visit to Israel we affirm our belief in the role Egypt has played and the sacrifices she has made on behalf of the Palestinian cause and the problems of Arab struggle. We stress the strength of the alliance between our people and the people of Egypt, and our unshakable belief in the central role occupied by Egypt in the battle of Arab liberation, and we salute the struggle and great sacrifices of her people.
2. The ferocity of the battle that is being fought to counter the present imperialist attack on the achievements of our people and the Arab people requires the establishment of a broad Arab front comprising all the Arab countries that reject the imperialist attack on the area in all its forms. This front should also include the Arab popular organizations and the PLO. Also required is the mobilization of all economic, political and military resources to resist this attack and to put an end to the conspiracy against all the national gains in Arab lands, and to strengthen the alliance of this front with all forces opposed to imperialism and Zionism.
3. The Palestinian people in the occupied territories unambiguously affirm their belief in the unity of the Palestinian people inside and outside the country. They also stress that all Palestinians are represented by the PLO alone, which is the only quarter entitled to speak on behalf of the Palestinian people. We condemn any attempt to establish an alternative or parallel leadership.
4. The rights of the Palestinian people, as affirmed by the various resolutions of the UN, are not subject to bargaining, and first and foremost among these rights is their legitimate right to self-determination in their land and in full freedom. We therefore reject any form of tutelage, whatever its source, and all kinds of solutions which detract from the independence of the Palestinian people and the independence of their will. We therefore cannot agree that the Palestinian state should be forcibly linked to any other quarter, as such a trend is incompatible with our people's freedom to decide their own destiny.
5. From the occupied territories we salute the struggle of all the Arab peoples. We also salute all the forces that have provided support for our just struggle. Above all we salute the struggle of our people outside the country under the leadership of the PLO and we call for resolute resistance to all attempts to shake the Arab solidarity which is based on the will of the Arab nation for delivery from the imperialist attack and Zionist aggression.
Source: Journal of Palestine Studies, vol. vii, no 3, Spring 1978.