Ten Point Program: Israeli-Palestinian Conflict – Part Eighteen
Ten Point Program
During the 12th Palestinian National Congress in June 1974, amidst tension in Lebanon, the Palestinian National Council approved the Ten Point Program formulated by Fatah’s leaders, which calls for the establishment of a national authority over any piece of captured Palestinian land, and to actively pursue the establishment of a democratic state in Israel/Palestine. It was considered the first attempt by the PLO at a peaceful resolution, though the ultimate goal was “completing the liberation of all Palestinian territory, and as a step along the road to comprehensive Arab unity. Here is the complete text:
On the basis of the Palestine National Charter and the Political Program drawn up at the eleventh session, held from 6-12 January 1973; 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.
Despite calling for the elimination of Israel, it led to several radical PLO factions which also fought to eliminate Israel. They broke out to form the Rejectionist Front, a political coalition formed by radical Palestinian factions who rejected the Ten Point Program adopted by the PLO, that would act independently of PLO over the following years. Suspicion between the mainstream and more hard-line factions, inside and outside the PLO, have continued to dominate the inner workings of the organization ever since, often resulting in paralysis or conflicting courses of action.
Plan of Stages
Israel claimed to see the Ten Point Program as dangerous, because it allegedly allows the Palestinian leadership to enter negotiations with Israel on issues where Israel can compromise, but under the intention of exploiting the compromises in order to “improve positions” for attacking Israel. The Hebrew term for this is the “Plan of Stages” (Tokhnit HaSHlabim).
During future negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians, some Israelis repeated this suspicion, claiming that the Palestinians’ willingness to compromise was just a smoke-screen to implement the Ten Point Program. Israeli right-wing politicians claim that they are all parts of a ploy to implement the Stage Program as Yasser Arafat himself admitted in Arabic many times. The Ten Point Program has never been officially cancelled by Palestinians.
Palestine: Part 19 – Lebanese Civil War
Palestine: Part 17 – Yom Kippur War