The Cairo declaration, 1985

Statement on terrorism by Yasser Arafat, Cairo, November 7, 1985

The Palestinian people has and continues to struggle to liberate its occupied land, to exercise its right to self-determination, and to establish a state as a necessary condition for achieving a just and lasting peace in the region in which all peoples would coexist, free from acts of terrorism or subjugation.

Despite the political and military changes which the region has witnessed, especially in the last few years, beginning with the Israeli aggression against the PLO in Beirut, Lebanon in 1982 and the Israeli raid on Tunis against the PLO headquarters in 1985, the Palestinian people has continued to struggle and to cling to peace in pursuit of preparing the climate in the region and internationally for a just and peaceful solution.

The PLO has made good progress along this path in very important stages:

  • The Arab summit in Fez which was held in 1982 and in which all the Arab parties, including the PLO, chose the peace option with Security Council guarantees and under the auspices of international legitimacy. These decisions were reaffirmed in Casablanca in 1985.

  • The Geneva declaration regarding the international conference on Palestine in 1983, which reaffirmed the right of all states in the region to exist within safe and internationally recognised borders, including the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination on its land and to establish a Palestinian state.

  • The Palestinian-Jordanian agreement of 11 February, 1985, which dealt with the specifics of the special relationship between the Jordanian and Palestinian peoples and which set down their adherence to a single line and a shared vision of goals and means.

  • Continued adherence to the framework of an international conference on peace in the Middle East, to be attended by the USSR, the US, and the permanent members of the Security Council, as well as the other concerned parties in the region, including the PLO.

And, in the framework of pursuing a just and peaceful solution, and given the PLO’s struggle by all legitimate means to regain the established national rights of the Palestinians as well as their political freedom, the PLO condemns all violations of human rights, especially the right to life and security without discrimination on the basis of creed, gender, or color.

As an impetus to the efforts which have been exerted to convene an international peace conference, the PLO announces its criticism and condemnation of all acts of terrorism, whether they be those in which states become involved or those committed by individuals or groups against the innocent and defenseless, wherever they may be.

The PLO reaffirms its declaration issued in 1974 which condemned all operations outside [Palestine] and all forms of terrorism. And it restates the adherence of all its groups and institutions to that declaration. Beginning today, the PLO will take all measures to deter violators.

In view of the fact that this adherence cannot be achieved unilaterally, it is up to the international community to force Israel to stop all of its acts of terrorism both inside and outside [Palestine].

In this context, the PLO stresses its insistence upon the right of the Palestinian people to resist the Israeli occupation of its land by all available means, with the goal of achieving withdrawal from its land. For the right to resist foreign occupation is a legitimate right, not abrogated by the UN Charter, which calls for disavowing the use of force or threatening to use it to settle conflicts, and which considers the resort to force a violation of its principles and goals. The right of the Palestinian people to resist the occupation in the occupied territories has been stressed in numerous UN resolutions and in the rules of the Geneva Convention.

Events underline the certainty that terrorist operations committed outside [Palestine] hurt the cause of the Palestinian people and distort its legitimate struggle for freedom. From another perspective, these events deepen our conviction that terminating the occupation and putting limits on its policies is the one way to achieve peace and security in the region. The PLO implores all peace-loving powers in all parts of the world to stand beside it as it takes this step to participate in ridding the world of the phenomenon of terrorism and in freeing the individual from fear and protecting him from danger. For in the end, our goal is achieving a just, comprehensive, and lasting peace which will safeguard the affirmation of the enduring national rights of the Palestinian people in order to establish a safe society everywhere.

Source: Lukacs, Yehuda: The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict – a documentary record 1967-1990, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1992.