The PNC Program of 1974
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After the Six Day war, the PLO became more independent of Arab states, and adopted the goal of establishing a national state. In 1974, the Palestine National Council met in Cairo and adopted a program for gradual "liberation" of Palestine, declaring that it would establish a state on any part of Palestine liberated from the Zionists. The PNC rejected UN Security Council Resolution 242, for the following stated reason:
"To reaffirm the Palestine Liberation Organization’s previous attitude to Resolution 242, which obliterates the national right of our people and deals with the cause of our people as a problem of refugees. The Council therefore refuses to have anything to do with this resolution at any level, Arab or international, including the Geneva Conference."
While some have interpreted this resolution as a program for staged destruction of Israel, (the program of "phases") and have interpreted the subsequent Oslo agreements in this context, others have interpreted it as PLO acquiescence in the existence of Israel, and commitment to establishing a state alongside of Israel.
The document itself states:
"Any step taken towards liberation is a step towards the realization of the Liberation Organization’s strategy of establishing the democratic Palestinian State specified in the resolutions of the previous Palestinian National Councils."
The Liberation Organization will struggle against any proposal for a Palestinian entity the price of which is recognition, peace, secure frontiers, renunciation of national rights, and the deprival of our people of their right to return and their right to self-determination on the soil of their homeland.
However, it does not state that right of return or self-determination must be accomplished in all of Palestine.
Perhaps it is more important to understand how the Palestinians have interpreted their goals since signing the Oslo accords. Several PNA spokesmen have stated that their goal is a state that will live in peace alongside Israel. However, others, including Yasser Arafat, have specifically referred to this 1974 staged plan and declared that their goal is still liberation of all of Palestine.
Some sample quotes:
[The plan foresees] "At first a small state, and with the help of Allah, it will be made large, and expand to the east, west, north and south. I am interested in the liberation of Palestine, step by step."
Abu Iyad (Salah Khalaf) interviewed in Al Anba [Kuwait] Dec. 18, 1988.
The struggle will continue until all of Palestine is liberated."
Yasser Arafat, radio address, November 1995.
years we will have 6 to 7 million Arabs living on the West Bank and in Jerusalem....If the Jews can import all kinds of
Ethiopians, Russians, Uzbekians, and Ukrainians as Jews, we can import all
kinds of Arabs...We plan to eliminate the state of Israel and establish a Palestinian state. We will make life unbearable for Jews by psychological warfare and population explosion. Jews will not want to live among Arabs. I have no use for Jews....We Palestinians will take over everything, including all of Jerusalem."
Yasser Arafat, Stockholm, 30 January, 1996, cited in Washington Times, March 3, 1996, by Cal Thomas. This quote has been disputed.
"Since the decision of the Palestinian National Council at its 12th meeting in 1974, the PLO has adopted the political solution of establishing a National Authority over any territory from which the occupation withdraws."
Yasser Arafat, quoted in Al Ayyam, January 1, 1998.
"The Oslo accord was a prelude to the Palestinian Authority, and the Palestinian Authority will be a prelude to the Palestinian state which, in its turn, will be a prelude to the liberation of the entire Palestinian land."
Abdul Asis Shaheen, PNA Minister of Supply, i Al-Hayat Al-Jadida on 4 January 1998
Political Program Adopted at the 12th Session of the Palestine National Council
Cairo, 8 June 1974
The Palestine National Council,
On the basis of the Palestine National Charter and the Political Program drawn up at the eleventh session, held from 6-12 January 1997; and from its belief that it is impossible for a permanent and just peace to be established in the area unless our Palestinian people recover from all their national rights and, first and foremost, their rights to return and to self-determination on the whole of the soil of their homeland; and in the light of a study of the new political circumstances that have come into existence in the period between the Council’s last and present sessions, resolves the following:
1. To reaffirm the Palestine Liberation Organization’s previous attitude to Resolution 242, which obliterates the national right of our people and deals with the cause of our people as a problem of refugees. The Council therefore refuses to have anything to do with this resolution at any level, Arab or international, including the Geneva Conference.
2. The Palestine Liberation Organization will employ all means, and first and foremost armed struggle, to liberate Palestinian territory and to establish the independent combatant national authority for the people over every part of Palestinian territory that is liberated. This will require further changes being effected in the balance of power in favor of our people and their struggle.
3. The Liberation Organization will struggle against any proposal for a Palestinian entity the price of which is recognition, peace, secure frontiers, renunciation of national rights, and the deprival of our people of their right to return and their right to self-determination on the soil of their homeland.
4. Any step taken towards liberation is a step towards the realization of the Liberation Organization’s strategy of establishing the democratic Palestinian State specified in the resolutions of the previous Palestinian National Councils.
5. Struggle along with the Jordanian national forces to establish a Jordanian-Palestinian national front whose aim will be to set up in Jordan a democratic national authority in close contact with the Palestinian entity that is established through the struggle.
6. The Liberation Organization will struggle to establish unity in struggle between the two peoples and between all the forces of the Arab liberation movement that are in agreement on this program.
7. In the light of this program, the Liberation Organization will struggle to strengthen national unity and to raise it to the level where it will be able to perform its national duties and tasks.
8. Once it is established, the Palestinian national authority will strive to achieve a union of the confrontation countries, with the aim of completing the liberation of all Palestinian territory, and as a step along the road to comprehensive Arab unity.
9. The Liberation Organization will strive to strengthen its solidarity with the socialist countries, and with the forces of liberation and progress throughout the world, with the aim of frustrating all the schemes of Zionism, reaction and imperialism.
10. In light of this program, the leadership of the revolution will determine the tactics which will serve and make possible the realization of thee objectives.
The Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization will make every effort to implement this program, and should a situation arise affecting the destiny and the future of the Palestinian people, the National Assembly will be convened in extraordinary session.
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