July 17, 1968
Stuart Hersh comments: The Fourth Palestine National Assembly, meeting in Cairo July 10-17, 1968, was charged with forming a committee to revise the 1964 Palestinian National Charter [sometimes called the PLO Covenant] in a manner that reflected a more Palestinian-oriented organization. This included revising the objective of Palestine’s liberation as being the creation of a sovereign Palestinian state. Pan-Arabism, the dominant theme of the 1964 version, became subordinate to the re-emerging Palestinian nationalism.
1. This Charter shall be known as “The Palestine National Charter.”
Articles of the Charter:
Article 1. Palestine, the homeland of the Palestinian Arab people, is an inseparable part of the greater Arab homeland, and the Palestinian people are a part of the Arab Nation.
Article 2. Palestine, within the frontiers that existed under the British Mandate, is an indivisible territorial unit.
Article 3. The Palestinian Arab people alone have legitimate rights to their homeland, and shall exercise the right of self-determination after the liberation of their homeland, in keeping with their wishes and entirely of their own accord.
Article 4. The Palestinian identity is an authentic, intrinsic and indissoluble quality that is transmitted from father to son. Neither the Zionist occupation nor the dispersal of the Palestinian Arab people as a result of the afflictions they have suffered can efface this Palestinian identity.
Article 5. Palestinians are Arab citizens who were normally resident in Palestine until 1947. This includes both those who were forced to leave or who stayed in Palestine. Anyone born to a Palestinian father after that date, whether inside or outside Palestine, is a Palestinian.
Article 6. Jews who were normally resident in Palestine up to the beginning of the Zionist invasion are Palestinians.
Article7. Palestinian identity, and material, spiritual and historical links with Palestine are immutable realities. It is a national obligation to provide every Palestinian with a revolutionary Arab upbringing, and to instill in him a profound spiritual and material familiarity with his homeland and a readiness for armed struggle and for the sacrifice of his material possessions and his life, for the recovery of his homeland. All available educational means and means of guidance must be enlisted to that end, until the liberation is achieved.
Article 8. The Palestinian people is at the stage of national struggle for the liberation of its homeland. For that reason, differences between Palestinian national forces must give way to the fundamental difference that exists between Zionism and imperialism on the one hand and the Palestinian Arab people on the other. On that basis, the Palestinian masses, both as organizations and as individuals, whether in the homeland or in such places as they now live as refugees, constitute a single national front working for the recovery and liberation of Palestine through armed struggle.
Article 9. Armed struggle is the only way of liberating Palestine, and is thus strategic, not tactical. The Palestinian Arab people hereby affirm their unwavering determination to carry on the armed struggle and to press towards popular revolution for the liberation of and return to their homeland. They also affirm their right to a normal life in their homeland, to the exercise of their right of self-determination therein and to sovereignty over it.
Article 10. Commando action constitutes the nucleus of the Palestinian popular war of liberation. This requires that commando action must be escalated, expanded and protected and that all the resources of the Palestinian masses and all scientific potentials available to them be should be mobilized and organized to play their part in the armed Palestinian revolution. It also requires solidarity in national struggle among the different groups within the Palestinian people and between that people and the Arab masses, to ensure the continuity of the escalation and victory of the revolution.
Article 11. Palestinians shall have three slogans: national unity, national mobilization and liberation.
Article 12. The Palestinian Arab people believe in Arab unity. To fulfill their role in the achievement of that objective, they must, at the present stage in their national struggle, retain their Palestinian identity and all that it involves, work for increased awareness of it and oppose all measures liable to weaken or dissolve it.
Article 13. Arab unity and the liberation of Palestine are complementary objectives; each leads to the achievement of the other. Arab unity will lead to the liberation of Palestine and the liberation of Palestine will lead to Arab unity.. To work for one is to work for both.
Article 14. The destiny of the Arab nation, indeed the continued existence of the Arabs, depends on the fate of the Palestinian cause. This interrelationship is the point of departure of the Arab endeavor to liberate Palestine. The Palestinian people are the vanguard of the movement to achieve this sacred national objective.
Article 15. The liberation of Palestine is a national obligation for the Arabs. It is their duty to repel the Zionist and imperialist invasion of the greater Arab homeland and to liquidate the Zionist presence in Palestine. The full responsibility for this belongs to the peoples and governments of the Arab nation and to the Palestinian people first and foremost. For this reason, the task of the Arab nation is to enlist all the military, human, moral and material resources at its command to play an effective part, along with the Palestinian people, in the liberation of Palestine. Moreover, it is the task of the Arab nation, particularly at the present stage of the Palestinian armed revolution, to offer the Palestinian people all possible aid, material and manpower support, and to place at their disposal all the means and opportunities that will enable them to continue to perform their role as the vanguard of their armed revolution until the liberation of their homeland is achieved.
Article 16. On the spiritual plane, the liberation of Palestine will establish in the Holy Land an atmosphere of peace and tranquillity in which all religious institutions will be safeguarded and freedom of worship and the right of visit guaranteed to all without discrimination or distinction of race, colour, language or creed. For this reason, the people of Palestine look to all spiritual forces in the world for support.
Article 17. On the human plane, the liberation of Palestine will restore to the Palestinians their dignity, integrity and freedom. For this reason, the Palestinian Arab people look to all those who believe in the dignity and freedom of man for support.
Article 18. On the international plane, the liberation of Palestine is a defensive measure dictated by the requirements of self-defense. This is why the Palestinian people, who seek to win the friendship of all peoples, look for the support of all freedom, justice and peace-loving countries in restoring the legitimate state of affairs in Palestine, establishing security and peace in it and enabling its people to exercise national and sovereignty and freedom.
Article 19. The Partition of Palestine, which took place in 1947, and the establishment of Israel, are fundamentally invalid, however long they last, for they contravene the will of the people of Palestine and their natural right to their homeland and contradict the principles of the United Nations Charter, foremost among which is the right of self-determination.
Article 20. The Balfour Declaration and the Mandate Instrument, and all their consequences, are hereby declared null and void. The claim of historical or spiritual links between the Jews and Palestine is neither in conformity with historical fact nor does it satisfy the requirements for statehood. Judaism is a revealed religion; it is not a separate nationality, nor are the Jews a single people with a separate identity; they are citizens of their respective countries.
Article 21. The Palestinian Arab people, expressing themselves through the Palestinian armed revolution, reject all alternatives to the total liberation of Palestine. They also reject all proposals for the liquidation or internationalization of the Palestine problem.
Article 22. Zionism is a political movement that is organically linked with world imperialism and is opposed to all liberation movements or movements for progress in the world. The Zionist movement is essentially fanatical and racialist; it objectives involves aggression, expansion and the establishment of colonial settlements, and its methods are those of the Fascists and the Nazis. Israel acts as cat’s paw for the Zionist movement, a geographic and manpower base for world imperialism and a springboard for its thrust into the Arab homeland to frustrate the aspirations of the Arab nation to liberation, unity and progress. Israel is a constant threat to peace in the Middle East and the whole world. Inasmuch as the liberation of Palestine will eliminate the Zionist and imperialist presence in that country and bring peace to the Middle East, the Palestinian people look for support to all liberals and to all forces of good, peace and progress in the world, and call on them, whatever their political convictions, for all possible aid and support in their just and legitimate struggle to liberate their homeland.
Article 23. The demands of peace and security and the exigencies of right and justice require that all nations should regard Zionism as an illegal movement and outlaw it and its activities, out of consideration for the ties of friendship between peoples and for the loyalty of its citizens to their homelands.
Article 24. The Palestinian Arab people believe in Justice, freedom, sovereignty, self-determination, human dignity and the right of peoples to enjoy them.
Article 25. In pursuance of the objectives set out in this charter, the Palestine Liberation Organization shall perform its proper role in the liberation to the full.
Article 26. The Palestine Liberation Organization, as the representative of the forces of the Palestinian revolution, is responsible for the struggle of the Palestinian Arab people to regain, liberate and return to their homeland and to exercise the right of self-determination in that homeland, in the military political and financial fields, and for all else that the Palestinian cause may demand, both at Arab and international levels.
Article 27. The Palestine Liberation Organization shall cooperate with all Arab countries, each according to its means, maintaining a neutral attitude vis-à-vis these countries in accordance with the requirements of the battle for liberation, and on the basis of that factor. The Organization shall not interfere in the internal affairs of any Arab country.
Article 28. The Palestinian Arab people hereby affirm the authenticity and independence of their national revolution and reject all forms of interference, tutelage or dependency.
Article 29. The Palestinian Arab people have the legitimate and prior right to liberate and recover their homeland, and shall define their attitude to all countries and forces in accordance with the attitude adopted by such countries and forces to the cause of the Palestinian people and with the extent of their support for that people in their revolution to achieve their objectives.
Article 30. Those who fight or bear arms in the battle of liberation form the nucleus of the popular army which will shield the achievements of the Palestinian Arab people.
Article 31. The Organization shall have a flag, an oath of allegiance and an anthem, to be decided in accordance with appropriate regulations.
Article 32. Regulations to be known as Basic Regulations for the Palestine Liberation Organization, shall be appended to this Charter. These regulations shall define the structure of the Organization, its bodies and institutions, and the powers, duties and obligations of each of them, in accordance with this Charter.
Article 33. This Charter may only be amended with a majority of two thirds of the total number of members of the National Assembly [this name was later changed to the Palestine National Council] of the Palestine Liberation Organization at a special meeting called for that purpose.
Sources: Archives: Middle East News Service. op.cit.; Archives: Institute for Palestine Studies. The Palestine National Charter, adopted by the First Palestine National Conference, in Jerusalem in 1964, composed by the first PLO chairman Ahmed Shukeiry, was revised by the Fourth Palestine National Assembly, meeting in Cairo from 10-17 July, 1968.