Palestinian National Charter

Also known as Palestinian National Covenant. Adopted on May 28 1964, this is the charter of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and addresses the organization’s goals. The charter has been controversial due to its position that historic Palestine (with borders from the time of the British Mandate) is the indivisible homeland of the Palestinian people,that the establishment of the state of Israel was entirely illegal, and that Zionism must be eliminated from the Middle East. Though later statements and declarations from PLO leaders (including Yasser Arafat) acknowledged Israel’s right to exist in peace and security, Israeli leaders dismissed those statements, pointing to the charter, which had not been amended. In April 1996, following both the signing of the Oslo Accords’ Declaration of Principles, and an exchange of letters of mutual recognition between Israel and the PLO, the Palestinian National Council voted to amend the charter to cancel any articles that contradicted the letters of mutual recognition. The new draft of the charter with those amendments made was never completed; however, in 1998, Yasser Arafat wrote letters to President Clinton and Prime Minister Blair which stated that the charter’s articles denying Israel’s right to exist had been nullified. This was reiterated in the Wye River Memorandum. In recent years, focus has shifted away from the Palestinian National Charter and onto Hamas’s charter. See "Palestinian National Charter of 1964," State of Palestine Permanent Observer Mission to the United Nations; and "Letter From President Yasser Arafat to President Clinton," Miftah: The Palestinian Initiative for the Promotion of Global Dialogue & Democracy, Jan 13, 1998.

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