The following is the complete and unabridged text of the Palestinian
National Covenant, as published officially in English by the PLO*, based largely on the text adopted earlier in 1964.
In his letter of September 9, 1993 to Prime Minister Rabin, Yasser Arafat
stated that those articles which deny Israel's right to exist or are
inconsistent with the PLO's new commitments to Israel following their mutual
recognition, are no longer valid. Several of the key articles to be amended
are highlighted below.
On April 24, 1996, the Palestinian National Council, convening in Gaza,
voted 504 to 54, with 14 abstentions, as follows:
- "The Palestinian National Charter is hereby amended by canceling the
articles that are contrary to the letters exchanged between the
P.L.O. and the Government of Israel 9-10 September 1993.
- Assigns its legal committee with the task of redrafting the
Palestinian National Charter in order to present it to the first
session of the Palestinian central council." (24/04/96)
On December 14, 1998, the Palestinian National Council, in accordance with the Wye Memorandum, convened in Gaza in the presence of U.S. President Clinton and voted to reaffirm this decision.
Draft Palestinian Constitution - March 2003
Text of the 1968 Charter:
Article 1: Palestine is the homeland of the Arab Palestinian
people; it is an indivisible part of the Arab homeland, and the Palestinian
people are an integral part of the Arab nation.
Article 2: Palestine, with the boundaries it had during the
British Mandate, is an indivisible territorial unit.
Article 3: The Palestinian Arab people possess the legal
right to their homeland and have the right to determine their destiny after
achieving the liberation of their country in accordance with their wishes
and entirely of their own accord and will.
Article 4: The Palestinian identity is a genuine, essential,
and inherent characteristic; it is transmitted from parents to children. The
Zionist occupation and the dispersal of the Palestinian Arab people, through
the disasters which befell them, do not make them lose their Palestinian
identity and their membership in the Palestinian community, nor do they
Article 5: The Palestinians are those Arab nationals who,
until 1947, normally resided in Palestine regardless of whether they were
evicted from it or have stayed there. Anyone born, after that date, of a
Palestinian father - whether inside Palestine or outside it - is also a
Article 6: The Jews who had normally resided in Palestine
until the beginning of the Zionist invasion will be considered
Article 7: That there is a Palestinian community and that
it has material, spiritual, and historical connection with Palestine are
indisputable facts. It is a national duty to bring up individual
Palestinians in an Arab revolutionary manner. All means of information and
education must be adopted in order to acquaint the Palestinian with his
country in the most profound manner, both spiritual and material, that is
possible. He must be prepared for the armed struggle and ready to sacrifice
his wealth and his life in order to win back his homeland and bring about
Article 8: The phase in their history, through which the
Palestinian people are now living, is that of national (watani) struggle for
the liberation of Palestine. Thus the conflicts among the Palestinian
national forces are secondary, and should be ended for the sake of the basic
conflict that exists between the forces of Zionism and of imperialism on the
one hand, and the Palestinian Arab people on the other. On this basis the
Palestinian masses, regardless of whether they are residing in the national
homeland or in diaspora (mahajir) constitute - both their organizations and
the individuals - one national front working for the retrieval of Palestine
and its liberation through armed struggle.
Article 9: Armed struggle is the only way to liberate
Palestine. This it is the overall strategy, not merely a tactical phase. The
Palestinian Arab people assert their absolute determination and firm
resolution to continue their armed struggle and to work for an armed popular
revolution for the liberation of their country and their return to it . They
also assert their right to normal life in Palestine and to exercise their
right to self-determination and sovereignty over it.
Article 10: Commando action constitutes the nucleus of the
Palestinian popular liberation war. This requires its escalation,
comprehensiveness, and the mobilization of all the Palestinian popular and
educational efforts and their organization and involvement in the armed
Palestinian revolution. It also requires the achieving of unity for the
national (watani) struggle among the different groupings of the Palestinian
people, and between the Palestinian people and the Arab masses, so as to
secure the continuation of the revolution, its escalation, and
Article 11: The Palestinians will have three mottoes:
national (wataniyya) unity, national (qawmiyya) mobilization, and
Article 12: The Palestinian people believe in Arab unity. In
order to contribute their share toward the attainment of that objective,
however, they must, at the present stage of their struggle, safeguard their
Palestinian identity and develop their consciousness of that identity, and
oppose any plan that may dissolve or impair it.
Article 13: Arab unity and the liberation of Palestine
are two complementary objectives, the attainment of either of which
facilitates the attainment of the other. Thus, Arab unity leads to the
liberation of Palestine, the liberation of Palestine leads to Arab unity;
and work toward the realization of one objective proceeds side by side with
work toward the realization of the other.
Article 14: The destiny of the Arab nation, and indeed Arab
existence itself, depend upon the destiny of the Palestine cause. From this
interdependence springs the Arab nation's pursuit of, and striving for, the
liberation of Palestine. The people of Palestine play the role of the
vanguard in the realization of this sacred (qawmi) goal.
Article 15: The liberation of Palestine, from an Arab
viewpoint, is a national (qawmi) duty and it attempts to repel the Zionist
and imperialist aggression against the Arab homeland, and aims at the
elimination of Zionism in Palestine. Absolute responsibility for this falls
upon the Arab nation - peoples and governments - with the Arab people of
Palestine in the vanguard. Accordingly, the Arab nation must mobilize all
its military, human, moral, and spiritual capabilities to participate
actively with the Palestinian people in the liberation of Palestine. It
must, particularly in the phase of the armed Palestinian revolution, offer
and furnish the Palestinian people with all possible help, and material and
human support, and make available to them the means and opportunities that
will enable them to continue to carry out their leading role in the armed
revolution, until they liberate their homeland.
Article 16: The liberation of Palestine, from a spiritual
point of view, will provide the Holy Land with an atmosphere of safety and
tranquility, which in turn will safeguard the country's religious
sanctuaries and guarantee freedom of worship and of visit to all, without
discrimination of race, color, language, or religion. Accordingly, the
people of Palestine look to all spiritual forces in the world for
Article 17: The liberation of Palestine, from a human point
of view, will restore to the Palestinian individual his dignity, pride, and
freedom. Accordingly the Palestinian Arab people look forward to the support
of all those who believe in the dignity of man and his freedom in the
Article 18: The liberation of Palestine, from an
international point of view, is a defensive action necessitated by the
demands of self-defense. Accordingly the Palestinian people, desirous as
they are of the friendship of all people, look to freedom-loving, and
peace-loving states for support in order to restore their legitimate rights
in Palestine, to re-establish peace and security in the country, and to
enable its people to exercise national sovereignty and freedom.
Article 19: The partition of Palestine in 1947 and the
establishment of the state of Israel are entirely illegal, regardless of the
passage of time, because they were contrary to the will of the Palestinian
people and to their natural right in their homeland, and inconsistent with
the principles embodied in the Charter of the United Nations, particularly
the right to self-determination.
Article 20: The Balfour Declaration, the Mandate for
Palestine, and everything that has been based upon them, are deemed null and
void. Claims of historical or religious ties of Jews with Palestine are
incompatible with the facts of history and the true conception of what
constitutes statehood. Judaism, being a religion, is not an independent
nationality. Nor do Jews constitute a single nation with an identity of its
own; they are citizens of the states to which they belong.
Article 21: The Arab Palestinian people, expressing
themselves by the armed Palestinian revolution, reject all solutions which
are substitutes for the total liberation of Palestine and reject all
proposals aiming at the liquidation of the Palestinian problem, or its
Article 22: Zionism is a political movement organically
associated with international imperialism and antagonistic to all action for
liberation and to progressive movements in the world. It is racist and
fanatic in its nature, aggressive, expansionist, and colonial in its aims,
and fascist in its methods. Israel is the instrument of the Zionist
movement, and geographical base for world imperialism placed strategically
in the midst of the Arab homeland to combat the hopes of the Arab nation for
liberation, unity, and progress. Israel is a constant source of threat
vis-a-vis peace in the Middle East and the whole world. Since the liberation
of Palestine will destroy the Zionist and imperialist presence and will
contribute to the establishment of peace in the Middle East, the Palestinian
people look for the support of all the progressive and peaceful forces and
urge them all, irrespective of their affiliations and beliefs, to offer the
Palestinian people all aid and support in their just struggle for the
liberation of their homeland.
Article 23: The demand of security and peace, as well as the
demand of right and justice, require all states to consider Zionism an
illegitimate movement, to outlaw its existence, and to ban its operations,
in order that friendly relations among peoples may be preserved, and the
loyalty of citizens to their respective homelands safeguarded.
Article 24: The Palestinian people believe in the principles
of justice, freedom, sovereignty, self-determination, human dignity, and in
the right of all peoples to exercise them.
Article 25: For the realization of the goals of this Charter
and its principles, the Palestine Liberation Organization will perform its
role in the liberation of Palestine in accordance with the Constitution of
Article 26: The Palestine Liberation Organization,
representative of the Palestinian revolutionary forces, is responsible for
the Palestinian Arab people's movement in its struggle - to retrieve its
homeland, liberate and return to it and exercise the right to
self-determination in it - in all military, political, and financial fields
and also for whatever may be required by the Palestine case on the
inter-Arab and international levels.
Article 27: The Palestine Liberation Organization shall
cooperate with all Arab states, each according to its potentialities; and
will adopt a neutral policy among them in the light of the requirements of
the war of liberation; and on this basis it shall not interfere in the
internal affairs of any Arab state.
Article 28: The Palestinian Arab people assert the
genuineness and independence of their national (wataniyya) revolution and
reject all forms of intervention, trusteeship, and subordination.
Article 29: The Palestinian people possess the fundamental
and genuine legal right to liberate and retrieve their homeland. The
Palestinian people determine their attitude toward all states and forces on
the basis of the stands they adopt vis-a-vis to the Palestinian revolution
to fulfill the aims of the Palestinian people.
Article 30: Fighters and carriers of arms in the war of
liberation are the nucleus of the popular army which will be the protective
force for the gains of the Palestinian Arab people.
Article 31: The Organization shall have a flag, an oath of
allegiance, and an anthem. All this shall be decided upon in accordance with
a special regulation.
Article 32: Regulations, which shall be known as the
Constitution of the Palestinian Liberation Organization, shall be annexed to
this Charter. It will lay down the manner in which the Organization, and its
organs and institutions, shall be constituted; the respective competence of
each; and the requirements of its obligation under the Charter.
Article 33: This Charter shall not be amended save by [vote
of] a majority of two-thirds of the total membership of the National
Congress of the Palestine Liberation Organization [taken] at a special
session convened for that purpose.
* English rendition as published in Basic Political Documents of the
Armed Palestinian Resistance Movement; Leila S. Kadi (ed.), Palestine
Research Centre, Beirut, December 1969, pp.137-141.