Palestine National Council
Algiers, November 15, 1988. Official translation.
In the name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful
In the valiant land of Algeria, hosted by its people and its President Chedli Benjedid, the Palestine National Council held its nineteenth extraordinary session – the session of the intifada and independence, the session of the martyred hero Abu Jihad – in the period between 12 and 15 November 1988.
This session culminated in the announcement of the rise of the Palestinian state in our Palestinian land, the natural climax of a daring and tenacious popular struggle that started more than seventy years ago and was baptised in the immense sacrifices offered by our people in our homeland, along its borders, and in the camps and other sites of our diaspora.
The session was also distinguished by its focus on the great national Palestinian intifada as one of the major milestones in the contemporary history of the Palestinian people’s revolution, on a par with the legendary steadfastness of our people in their camps in our occupied land and outside it.
The primary features of our great people’s intifada were obvious from its inception and have become clearer in the twelve months since then during which it has continued unabated: it is a total popular revolution that embodies the consensus of an entire nation – women and men, old and young, in the camps, in the villages, and the cities – on the rejection of the occupation and on the determination to struggle until the occupation is defeated and terminated.
This glorious intifada has demonstrated our people’s deeply rooted national unity and their full adherence to the Palestine Liberation Organisation, the sole, legitimate representative of our people, all our people, wherever they congregate in out homeland or outside it. This was manifested by the participation of the Palestinian masses – their unions, their vocational organisations, their students, their workers, their farmers, their women, their merchants, their landlords, their artisans, their academics – in the intifada through its Unified National Command and the popular committees that were formed in the urban neighbourhoods, the villages, and the camps.
This, our people’s revolutionary furnace and their blessed intifada, along with the cumulative impact of our innovative and continuous revolution inside and outside our homeland, have destroyed the illusion our people’s enemies have harboured that they can turn the occupation of Palestinian land into a permanent fait accompli and consign the Palestinian issue to oblivion. For our generations have been weaned on the goals and principles of the Palestinian revolution and have lived all its battles since its birth in 1965 – including the heroic resistance against the Zionist invasion of 1982 and the steadfastness of the revolution’s camps as they endured the siege and starvation in Lebanon. Those generations – the children of the revolution and of the Palestine Liberation Organisation – rose to demonstrate the dynamism and continuity of the revolution, detonating the land under the feet of its occupiers and proving that out people’s reserves of resistance are inexhaustible and their faith is too deep to uproot.
Thus did the struggle of the children of the RPGs outside our homeland and the struggle of the children of the sacred stones inside it blend into a single revolutionary melody.
Our people have stood fast against all the attempts of our enemy’s authorities to end our revolution, and those authorities have tried everything at their disposal: they have used terrorism, they have imprisoned us, they have sent us into exile, they have desecrated our holy places and restricted our religious freedoms, they have demolished our homes, they have killed us indiscriminately, and premeditatedly, they have sent bands of armed settlers into our villages and camps, they have burned our crops, they have cut off our water and power supplies, they have beaten our women and children, they have used toxic gases that have caused many deaths and abortions, and they have waged an ignorance war [sic]against us by closing our schools and universities.
Our people’s heroic steadfastness has cost them hundreds of martyrs and tens of thousands of casualties, prisoners, and exiles. But our people’s genius was always at hand, ready in their darkest hours to innovate the means and formulas of struggle that stiffened their resistance, bolstered their steadfastness, and enabled them to confront the crimes and measures of the enemy and carry on with their heroic, tenacious struggle.
By standing firm, continuing their revolution, and escalating their intifada, our people have proved their determination to press ahead regardless of the sacrifices, armed with the great heritage of struggle, an indomitable revolutionary will, a deeply entrenched national unity that has been rendered even stronger by the intifada and its attendant struggles inside and outside our homeland, and total adherence to the nationalistic principles of the Palestine Liberation Organisation and its goals of ending the Israeli occupation and achieving the Palestinian people’s inalienable right to repatriation, self-determination, and the establishment of the independent Palestinian state.
In all this, our people relied on the sustenance of the masses and forces of our Arab nation, which have stood by us and backed us, as demonstrated by the wide popular support for the intifada and by the consensus and resolutions that emerged at the Arab summit in Algiers – all of which goes to confirm that our people do not stand alone as. they face the fascist, racist assault, and this precludes any possibility of the Israeli aggressors’ isolating our people and cutting them of from the support of their Arab nation.
In addition to this Arab solidarity, our people’s revolution and their blessed intifada have attracted widespread worldwide solidarity, as seen in the increased under, standing of the Palestinian people’s issue, the growing support of our just struggle by the peoples and states of the world, and the corresponding condemnation of Israeli occupation and the crimes it is committing, which has helped to expose Israel and increase its isolation and the isolation of its supporters.
Security Council resolutions 605, 607, and 608 and the resolutions of the General Assembly against the expulsion of the Palestinians from their land and against the repression and terrorism with which Israel is lashing the Palestinian people in the occupied Palestinian territories – these are strong manifestation of the growing support of international opinion, public and official, for our people and their representative, the Palestine Liberation Organisation, and of the mounting international rejection of Israeli occupation with all the fascist, racist practices it entails.
The UN General Assembly’s Resolution 21L/43/1 of 4/11/1988, which was adopted in the session dedicated to the intifada, is another sign of the stand the peoples and states of the world in their majority are taking against the occupation and with the just struggle of the Palestinian people and their firm right to liberation and independence. The crimes of the occupation and its savage, inhuman practices have exposed the Zionist lie about the democracy of the Zionist entity that has managed to deceive the world for forty years, revealing Israel in its true light – a fascist, racist, colonialist state built on the usurpation of the Palestinian land and the annihilation of the Palestinian people, a state that threatens and undertakes attacks and expansion into neighbouring Arab lands.
It has thus been demonstrated that the occupation cannot continue to reap the fruits of its actions at the expense of the Palestinian people’s rights without paying a price either on the ground or in terms of international public opinion.
In addition to the rejection of the occupation and the condemnation of its repressive measures by the democratic and progressive Israeli forces, Jewish groups all over the world are no longer able to continue their defence of Israel or maintain their silence about its crimes against the Palestinian people. Many voices have risen among those groups to demand an end to these crimes and call for Israel’s withdrawal from the occupied territories in order to allow the Palestinian people to exercise their right to self-determination.
The fruits that our people’s revolution and their blessed intifada have borne on the local, Arab, and international levels have established the soundness and realism of the Palestine Liberation Organisation’s national program, a program aimed at the termination of the occupation and the achievement of our people’s right to return, self-determination, and statehood. Those results have also confirmed that the struggle of our people is the decisive factor in the effort to snatch our national rights from the jaws of the occupation. It is the authority of our people, as represented in the Popular Committees, that controls the situation as we challenge the authority of the occupation’s crumbling agencies.
The international community is now more prepared than ever before to strive for a political settlement of the Middle East crisis and its root cause, the question of Palestine. The Israeli occupation authorities, and the American administration that stands behind them, cannot continue to ignore the national will, which is now unanimous on the necessity of holding an international peace conference on the Middle East and enabling the Palestinian people to gain their national rights, foremost among which is their right to self-determination and national independence on their own national soil.
In the light of this, and toward the reinforcement of the steadfastness and blessed intifada of our people, and in accordance with the will of our masses in and outside of our homeland, and in fidelity to those of our people that have been martyred, wounded, or taken captive, the Palestine National Council resolves: First: On The Escalation and Continuity of the Intifada
A. To provide all the means and capabilities needed to escalate our people’s intifada in various ways and on various levels to guarantee its continuation and intensification.
B. To support the popular institutions and organisations in the occupied Palestinian territories.
C. To bolster and develop the popular committees and other specialised popular and trade union bodies, including the attack groups and the popular army, with a view to expanding their role and increasing their effectiveness.
D. To consolidate the national unity that emerged and developed during the intifada.
E. To intensify efforts on the international level for the release of detainees, the return of those expelled, and the termination of the organised, official acts of repression and terrorism against our children, our women, our men, and our institutions.
F. To call on the United Nations to place the occupied Palestinian land under international supervision for the protection of our people and the termination of the Israeli occupation.
G. To call on the Palestinian people outside our homeland to intensify and increase their support, and to expand the family- assistance program.
H. To call on the Arab nation, its people, forces, institutions, and governments, to increase their political, material, and informational support for the intifada.
I. To call on all free and honourable people worldwide to stand by our people, our revolution, our intifada against the Israeli occupation, the repression, and the organised, fascist official terrorism to which the occupation forces and the armed fanatic settlers are subjecting our people, our universities, our institutions, our national economy, and our Islamic and Christian holy places.
Second: In the Political Arena
Proceeding from the above, the Palestine National Council, being responsible to the Palestinian people, their national rights and their desire for peace as expressed in the Declaration of Independence issued on 15 November 1988; and in response to the humanitarian quest for international entente, nuclear disarmament, and the settlement of regional conflict by peaceful means, affirms the determination of the Palestine Liberation Organisation to arrive at a comprehensive settlement of the Arab-Israeli conflict and its core, which is the question of Palestine, within the framework of the United Nations Charter, the principles and provisions of international legality, the norms of international law, and the resolutions of the United Nations, the latest of which are Security Council resolutions 605, 607, and 608, and the resolutions of the Arab summits, in such a manner that safeguards the Palestinian Arab people’s rights to return, to self-determination, and the establishment of their independent national state on their national soil, and that institutes arrangements for the security and peace of all states in the region.
Toward the achievement of this, the Palestine National Council affirms:
1. The necessity of convening the effective international conference on the issue of the Middle East and its core, the question of Palestine, under the auspices of the United Nations and with the participation of the permanent members of the Security Council and all parties to the conflict in the region including the Palestine Liberation Organisation, the sole, legitimate representative of the Palestinian people, on an equal footing, and by considering that the international peace conference be convened on the basis of United Nations Security Council resolutions 242 and 338 and the attainment of the legitimate national rights of the Palestinian people, foremost among which is the right to self-determination and in accordance with the principles and provisions of the United Nations Charter concerning the right of peoples to self-determination, and by the inadmissibility of the acquisition of the territory of others by force or military conquest, and in accordance with the relevant United Nations resolutions on the question of Palestine.
2. The withdrawal of Israel from all the Palestinian and Arab territories it occupied in 1967, including Arab Jerusalem.
3. The annulment of all measures of annexation and appropriation and the removal of settlements established by Israel in the Palestinian and Arab territories since 1967.
4. Endeavouring to place the occupied Palestinian territories, including Arab Jerusalem, under the auspices of the United Nations for a limited period in order to protect our people and afford the appropriate atmosphere for the success of the proceeding of the international conference toward the attainment of a comprehensive political settlement and the attainment of peace and security for all on the basis of mutual acquiescence and consent, and to enable the Palestinian state to exercise its effective authority in these territories.
5. The settlement of the question of the Palestinian refugees in accordance with the relevant United Nations resolutions.
6. Guaranteeing the freedom of worship and religious practice for all faiths in the holy places in Palestine.
7. The Security Council is to formulate and guarantee arrangements for security and peace between all the states concerned in the region, including the Palestinian state. The Palestine National Council affirms its previous resolutions concerning the distinctive relationship between the Jordanian and Palestinian peoples, and affirms that the future relationship between the two states of Palestine and Jordan should be on a confederal basis as a result the free and voluntary choice of the two fraternal peoples in order to strengthen the historical bonds and the vital interests they hold in common.
The National Council also renews its commitment to the United Nations resolutions that affirm the right of peoples to resist foreign occupation, colonialism, and racial discrimination, and their right to struggle for their independence, and reiterates its rejection of terrorism in all its forms, including state terrorism, affirming its commitment to previous resolutions in this respect and the resolution of the Arab summit in Algiers in 1988, and to UN resolutions 42/195 of 1987, and 40/61 of 1985, and that contained in the Cairo declaration of 1985 in this respect.
Third: In the Arab and International Arenas
The Palestine National Council emphasises the importance of the unity of Lebanon in its territory, its people, and its institutions, and stands firmly against the attempts to partition the land and disintegrate the fraternal people of Lebanon. It further emphasises the importance of the joint Arab effort to participate in a settlement of the Lebanese crisis that helps crystalise and implement solutions that preserve Lebanese unity. The Council also stresses the importance of consecrating the right of the Palestinians in Lebanon to engage in political and informational activity and to enjoy security and protection; and of working against all the forms of conspiracy and aggression that target them and their right to work and live; and of the need to secure the conditions that assure them the ability to defend themselves and provide them with security and protection.
The Palestine National Council affirms its solidarity with the Lebanese nationalist Islamic forces in their struggle against the Israeli occupation and its agents in the Lebanese south; expresses its pride in the allied struggle of the Lebanese and Palestinian peoples against the aggression and toward the termination of the Israeli occupation of parts of the south; and underscores the importance of bolstering this kinship between our peoples and the fraternal, resistant people of Lebanon.
And on this occasion, the Council addresses a reverent salute to the long-suffering people in our camps in Lebanon and its south, who are enduring the aggression, murder, starvation, destruction, air raids, bombardments, and sieges perpetrated against the Palestinian camps and Lebanese villages by the Israeli army, air force, and navy, aided and abetted by hireling forces in the region; and it rejects the resettlement conspiracy, for the Palestinian’s homeland is Palestine.
The Council emphasises the importance of the Iraq-Iran cease-fire resolution toward the establishment of a permanent peace between the two countries and in the Gulf region, and calls for an intensification of the efforts being exerted to ensure the success of the negotiations toward the establishment of peace on stable and firm foundations; affirming, on this occasion, the pride of the Palestinian Arab people and the Arab nation as a whole in the steadfastness and triumphs of fraternal Iraq as it defended the eastern gate of the Arab nation.
The National Council also expresses its deep pride in the stand taken by the peoples of our Arab nation in support of our Palestinian Arab people and of the Palestine Liberation Organisation and of our people’s intifada in the occupied homeland; and emphasises the importance of fortifying the bonds of resistance among the forces, parties, and organisations in the Arab national liberation movement, in defence of the right of the Arab nation and its peoples to liberation, democracy, and unity. The Council calls for the adoption of all measures needed to reinforce the unity of struggle among all members of the Arab national liberation movement.
The Palestine National Council, as it hails the Arab states and thanks them for their support of our people’s struggle, calls on them to honour the commitments they approved at the summit conference in Algiers in support of the Palestinian people and their blessed intifada. The Council, in issuing this appeal, expresses its great confidence that the leaders of the Arab nation will remain, as we have known them, a bulwark of support for Palestine and its people.
The Palestine National Council reiterates the desire of the Palestine Liberation Organisation for Arab solidarity as the framework within which the Arab nation and its states organise themselves to confront Israel’s aggression and within which Arab prestige can be enhanced and the Arab role strengthened to the point of influencing international policies to the benefit of Arab rights and causes.
The Palestine National Council expresses its deep gratitude to all the states and international forces and organisations that support the national rights of the Palestinians, and affirms its desire to strengthen the bonds of friendship and co-operation with the Soviet Union, the People’s Republic of China, the other socialist countries, the non-aligned states, the Latin American states, and the other friendly states, and notes with satisfaction the signs of positive evolution in the position of some West European states and Japan in the direction of support for the rights of the Palestinian people, applauds this development, and urges intensified efforts to increase it. The National Council affirms the fraternal solidarity of the Palestinian people and the Palestine Liberation Organisation with the struggle of the peoples of Asia, Africa, and Latin America for their liberation and reinforcement of their independence; and condemns all American attempts that threaten the independence of the states of Central America and interfere in their affairs.
The Palestine National Council expresses the support of the Palestine Liberation Organisation for the national liberation movements in South Africa and Namibia under the leadership of SWAPO with a special salute to our brother combatant, Nelson Mandela – against the racist regime of Pretoria; demands that the people of the two countries be enabled to attain their liberty and independence; and also expresses its support for the African confrontation states and its condemnation of the racist South Africa regime’s aggression against them.
The Council notes with considerable concern the growth of the Israeli forces of fascism and extremism and the escalation of their open calls for the implementation of their policy of annihilation and individual and mass expulsion of our people from their homeland, and calls for intensified efforts in all arenas to confront this fascist peril. The Council at the same time expresses its appreciation of the role and courage of the Israeli peace forces as they resist and expose the forces of fascism, racism, and aggression; support our people’s struggle and their valiant intifada; and back our people’s right to self-determination and the establishment of an independent state. The Council confirms its past resolutions regarding the reinforcement and development of relations with these democratic forces.
The Palestine National Council also addresses itself to the American people, calling on them all to strive to put an end to the American policy that denies the Palestinian people’s national rights, including their sacred right to self-determination, and urging them to work toward the adoption of policies that conform with the human rights charter and the international conventions and resolutions and serve the quest for peace in the Middle East and security for all its peoples, including the Palestinian people.
The Council charges the Executive Committee with the task of completing the formation of the Committee for the Perpetuation of the Memory of the Martyr Abu Jihad, which shall initiate its work immediately upon the adjournment of the Council.
The Council sends its greetings to the United Nations Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, and to the fraternal and friendly international and non-governmental institutions and organisations, and to the journalists and media that have stood and still stand by our people’s struggle and intifada.
The National Council expresses deep pain at the continued detention of hundreds of combatants from amongst our people in a number of Arab countries, strongly condemns their continued detention, and calls upon these countries to put an end to these abnormal conditions and release those fighters to play their role in the struggle. In conclusion, the Palestine National Council affirms its complete confidence that the justice of the Palestinian cause and of the demands for which the Palestinian people are struggling will continue to draw increasing support from honourable and free people around the world; and also affirms its complete confidence in victory on the road to Jerusalem, the capital of our independent Palestinian state.