Palestine National Council
Algiers, 25 April 1987
At the most critical stage of the national liberation struggle of our Palestinian people and at the height of the confrontation with the imperialist, Zionist, and lackey forces whose efforts and tools have been united in an attempt to realize the objective of liquidating the national identity of our Palestinian people, confiscating their established national rights, and striking at the PLO – the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people; at a time when this heated confrontation has taken an escalated, bloody path in the arenas of our national struggle in the occupied homeland and in the Palestinian camps in Lebanon, coupled with political and provocative, openly hostile campaigns led by U.S. imperialism and its tool – Zionism-and its lackeys at all levels; proceeding from our realization of the magnitude of the fateful challenges facing our people, our revolution, and the Arab nation; depending on the great wall of stead- fastness that has been embodied by our heroic masses in the occupied homeland, in our Palestinian camps in Lebanon, and everywhere, and on whose strong and stubborn rocks fundamental links of the major conspiracy against our people and revolution as well as our national issue and Arab nation were smashed; under these circumstances, the Palestine National Council held its eighteenth session in the Algerian capital from 20 to 27 April at a fraternal initiative by President Shadhly Ben Jadid and under the warm, fraternal auspices of the people and government of fraternal Algeria.
The convening of the eighteenth session was preceded by a comprehensive national dialogue in which all Palestinian national groups, organizations, and personalities participated. An atmosphere of mutual concern for consolidating and strengthening national unity, and for strengthening its foundations, prevailed during this dialogue. The dialogue enjoyed sincere, positive backing by the brothers and friends, a matter that led to the crystallization of a national agreement that constituted a firm basis for convening the eighteenth session-the session of national unity, the steadfastness of the camps, and the struggle of the occupied territories. President Shadhly Ben Jadid presided over the opening ceremony of this session; he was accompanied by a number of other Algerian leaders. Also participating in the ceremony were a number of high-level delegations representing all the fraternal and friendly states, parties, regional and international organizations, a representation that expressed the position the PLO occupies and the depth of the Arab and international interaction with the Palestinian issue and our people's glorious struggle for the realization of their national rights, including their right to return, to self-determination, and to establish an independent Palestinian state on its national soil.
The work of the eighteenth session was conducted in a genuine unity-seeking atmosphere, with a deep feeling of national responsibility, and a comprehensive and responsible discussion of all the issues and problems submitted to the Palestinian people-wherever these people may be- which concern the national issue and struggle of these people. The council's ten committees studied and analyzed these problems, and searched for the best solutions to them. At the end of their meetings, they submitted a summary of the resolutions of this session, which encompassed everything relating to the Palestinian position inside and outside the occupied homeland in its political, social, cultural, and other dimensions.
The National Council, through its continuous meetings, arrived at a number of political resolutions that define the bases of the PLO's political posture within three spheres-national, Arab, and inter- national. The resolutions of the eighteenth session reaffirmed the importance of consolidating and strengthening Palestinian national unity, which is embodied by our great people inside the occupied territories in their continuous battle against the Zionist enemy and its projects, and its hated persecution, annexation, and settlement policies; it was also embodied by our Palestinian masses in the camps who by virtue of their unity, great steadfastness, and defense gave the most glorious of examples of struggle in modem times. The resolutions also stressed the need to make available all the means necessary to consolidate the steadfastness of our masses in the occupied homeland, proceeding from a firm fact: that this great steadfastness, stemming from the spirit of the comprehensive popular commitment to the established national rights of our Palestinian people and to the PLO-the sole representative of the Palestinian people and the leader of its national struggle-embodies one of the most important and impregnable, firm national fortresses from which we derive a huge and growing momentum for our national struggle at all levels. The resolutions also stressed adherence to independent national decision-making as a base for national, principled, and permanent unanimity, constituting one of the most important constants of the national edifice embodied by the PLO in all its cadres and establishments.
At a time when the National Council stressed our people's legitimate right to exercise the armed struggle in confronting the hated Zionist, racist occupation of the Palestinian homeland, the National Council would like to reaffirm the Palestinian people's desire to achieve a just and permanent peace that depends on its firm national and unnegotiable rights, including the right to return, self-determination, and the establishment of an independent Palestinian state on its national soil, within the framework of an effective inter- national conference in which the permanent members of the UN Security Council and all the concerned parties, including the PLO, will participate on an equal footing with the other parties.
The National Council paused to look at the situation in which our Arab nation is living, and which very regrettably is characterized by many [instances of] differences, disunity, and dispute that squander the nation's potentials and shake the Arab position among the nations and peoples living in our world, and which cast a negative shadow on the issues of our Arab nation, in the heart of which is the question of Palestine. The council decided to work to realize Arab solidarity, the framework of which would encompass all pan-Arab efforts and capabilities to realize the aspirations and lofty pan-Arab aims of the masses of our Arab nation.
The council paused to look into the Iraq-Iran war whose continuation and escalation constitute a direct and serious threat to Arab national security, and a noticeable disturbance of the balance of power at the level of the Arab-Zionist struggle, a matter that makes it inevitable that all Arab and international efforts should be exerted to halt this war and limit its destructive effects at all levels. The National Council records for fraternal Iraq its sincere response to all peace efforts-a response coupled with Iraq's glorious defense of Arab, Iraqi soil and the eastern gate of the Arab homeland.
The National Council reached precise definitions of Palestinian-Arab relations in their bilateral and general frameworks, guided in this by the national criteria contained in the resolutions of the PNC in its successive sessions and in Arab summit resolutions as a basis for relations with all Arab brothers-the resolutions that represent Arab commitments to the inalienable national rights of the Palestinian people and also represent Arab commitments at their highest official level to the PLO as the sole representative of the Palestinian people.
The council paid special attention to the situation in Lebanon, stressing the cohesion between the Lebanese and Palestinian peoples and the joint struggles that stem from this, joined by Arab commitment to Palestine and its liberation, and to Lebanon's unity, Arabism, and liberating its territory from occupation.
The council reaffirmed its pride in the special relations between the brotherly Jordanian and Palestinian peoples, praised the great sacrifices made by Egypt and its great people in defending the Arab nation and the Palestinian people's rights, and stressed the importance of Egypt's returning to its national position in the Arab arena.
At the international level, the council noted the important, positive signs that indicate that the Palestinian cause has been firmly established, and the growing, international support and backing for them and the PLO, support and backing that is epitomized by the principal international organizations, starting with the United Nations, the nonaligned conferences, the Islamic Conference Organization, and the OAU, and all the institutions and bodies that stem from them.
The National Council also praised the stands adopted by most of the countries of the world, stands that are continually developing to the benefit of our people and cause, especially at the European level. The National Council also praised the solid stands of socialist countries led by the friendly Soviet Union, and also that of the PRC.
At the organizational level, the National Council issued a host of administrative, financial, military, social, and media- related resolutions. It also endorsed the Palestine National Fund report. The National Council thanked the Arab countries that are fulfilling their financial commitments regularly, led by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Iraq, and the Arab countries hosting the PLO institutions, especially sisterly Tunisia whose loyal sons' blood has been mixed with that of their Palestinian brothers as a result of the criminal Zionist act on Hammam al-Shatt. The National Council addressed a greeting of esteem to Algeria-president, government, and people-for their Arab nationalist and principled stands of supporting the struggle of the Palestinian people led by the PLO. The council praised the efforts of President Shadhly Ben Jadid to ensure the success of the dialogue and unity which was crowned by the hosting of the eighteenth PNC session in Algeria and among its generous people. The council also ex- pressed appreciation for the positive efforts made by brother Colonel Mu'ammar Qaddafi in this context, and the sincere efforts made by all brothers and friends, especially Soviet efforts.
On the basis of the spirit of noble national unity and the firm commitment to the aims of our national struggle, the council made a pledge to the masses of our Palestinian people, the masses of our Arab nation, and free and honorable people in the world, in the name of martyrs and their noble blood, in the name of all that is held sacred, and in the name of the homeland and the people-that the flag of struggle will continue to fly despite all challenges, and the march will proceed toward its objectives, no matter how many sacrifices there may be, until our people attain all their national rights, and the flag of Pales- tine flies over the land of Palestine and Jerusalem.
Source: Journal of Palestine Studies, vol xvi, no 4, Summer 1987.