The Draft Constitution of the Palestine Liberation Organization (1963)

The charter of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) was prepared under Egyptian auspices following an agreement at the Arab Summit Conference in 1963 by Ahmed Shukairy, a lawyer born in Palestine who represented Saudi Arabia and later Syria in the U.N. and ultimately became President of the PLO. The role of the PLO on the eve of the Arab-Israeli war was later criticized in the Arab capitals and Shukairy forced to resign in December 1967.

  1. In accordance with this constitution, an organization known as “The Palestine Liberation Organization” shall be formed, and shall launch its responsibilities in accordance with the principles of the National Charter and clauses of this constitution.
  2. All the Palestinians are natural members in the Liberation Organization exercising their duty in their liberation of their homeland in accordance with their abilities and efficiency.
  3. The Palestinian people shall from the larger base for this Organization; and the Organization, after its creation, shall work closely and constantly with the Palestine people for the sake of their organization and mobilization so they may be able to assume their responsibility in the liberation of their country.
  4. Until suitable conditions are available for holding free general elections among all the Palestinians and in all the countries in which they reside, the Liberation Organization shall be set up in accordance with the rules set in this constitution.
  5. Measures listed in this constitution shall be taken for the convocation of a Palestinian General Assembly in which shall be represented all Palestinian factions, emigrants, and residents, including organizations, societies, unions, trade unions and representatives of (Palestinian) public opinions of various ideological trends; this assembly shall be called the National Assembly of the Palestine Liberation Organization.
  6. In preparation and faciliation of work of the assembly, the Palestinina representative at the Arab league (i.e., Ahmed Shukairy), shall, after holding consultations with various Palestinian factors, from:
  7. • A Preparatory Committee in every Arab country hosting a minimum of 10,000 Palestinians; the mission of each one of these committees is to prepare lists according to which Palestinian candidates in the respective Arab country will be chosen as members of the assembly; these committees shall also prepare studies and proposals which may help the assembly carry out its work; these studies and proposals shall be presented to the Coordination Committee listed below.

    A Coordination Committee, with headquarters in Jerusalem; the mission of this committee shall be to issue invitations to the assembly, adopt all necessary measures for the holdings of the assembly, and coordinate all proposals and studies as well as lists of candidates to the assembly, as specified in the clause above; also the committee shall prepare a provisional agenda — or as a whole, undertake all that is required for the holding and success of the assembly in the execution of its mission.

  8. The National Assembly shall be held once every two years; its venue rotates between Jerusalem and Gaza; the National Assembly shall meet for the first time on May 14, 1964, in the city of Jerusalem.
  9. To facilitate its work, the Assembly shall form the following committees:
    1. The Political Committee: shall be in charge of studying the political sides of the Palestine question in the Arab and international fields.
    2. The Charter By-laws and Lists Committee: shall consider the National Charter as well as the various by-laws and lists required by the Organization in the execution of its duties.
    3. The Financial Committee: shall formulate a complete plan for the National Palestinian Fund required for financing the Organization.
    4. Information Committee: shall work out a complete scheme for information and offices to be established in various parts of the world.
    5. The Juridical Committee: shall study the various legal aspects of the Palestine question, be it in relation to principles of International Law, U.N. Charter, or international documents pertaining to the Palestinian question.
    6. Proposals and Nomination Committee: shall coordinate proposals and nominations submitted to the Assembly.
    7. Awakening Committee: Shall study ways and means for the upbringing of the new generations both ideologically and spiritually so they may serve their country and work for the liberation of their homeland.
    8. The National Oganization Committee: Shall lay down general plans pertaining to trade unions, federations, sports organizations and scouts groups; this is in accordance with rules and laws in effect in Arab countries.

  10. The National Assembly shall have a Presidency Office composed of the president, two vice presidents, a secretary, and a secretary general; these officers shall be elected by the National Assembly when it meets.
  11. These (above-listed eight committees) shall submit their reports and recommendations to the National Assembly which, in turen, shall discuss them and issue a necessary resolutions.
  12. The National Assembly shall have an executive apparatus to be called “The Executive Committee of the Liberation Organization” which shall practice all responsibilities of the Liberation Organization in accordance with the general plans and resolutions issued by the National Assembly.
  13. The Executive Committee shall be formed of fifteen members elected by the National Assembly; the Committee shall in its turn elect a President, two Vice Presidents and a Secretary General.
  14. The Executive Committee can be called to a meeting in the time and place decided by the President, or by a proposal submitted by five members of the Committee.
  15. The President of the Executive Committee shall represent the Palestinians at the Arab League; therefore, his office shall be in Cairo since the Arab League Headquarters is there.
  16. The Executive Committee shall establish the following departments:
    1. Department of Political and Information Affairs.
    2. Department of National Fund.
    3. Department of General Affairs.

    Each one of these departments shall have a Director General and the needed number of employees. Duties of each one of these departments shall be defined by special by-laws prepared by the Executive Committee.

  17. The Executive Committee has the right of calling the National Assembly to meet in a place and time it specifies; it has the right also to call to a meeting any committee of the National Assembly to study certain subjects.
  18. The Executive Committee shall have a consultative council to be known as “The Shura (Consultative) Council,” the Executive Committee shall select the president and members of this council from people of opinion and prestige among the Palestinians; prerogatives of the Consulative Council are in matters proposed to it by the Executive Committee.
  19. The Arab states shall avail the sons of Palestine the opportunity of enlisting in their regular armies on the widest scale possible.
  20. Private Palestinian contingents shall be formed in accordance with the military needs and plans decided by the Unified Arab Military Command in agreement and cooperation with the concerned Arab states.
  21. A Fund, to be known as “The National Palestinian Fund”, shall be established to finance operations of the Executive Committee: the Fund shall have a Board of Directors whose members shall be elected by the National Assembly.
  22. Sources of the Fund are to be from:
    1. Fixed taxes levied on Palestinians and collected in accordance with special laws.
    2. Financial assistance offered by thte Arab governments and people.
    3. A “Liberation Stamp” to be issued by the Arab states and be used in postal and other transactions.
    4. Donations on national occasions.
    5. Loans and assistance given by the Arabs or by friendly nations.
  23. Committees, to be known as “Support Palestine Committees”, shall be established in Arab and friendly countries to collect donations and to support the Liberation Organization.
  24. The Executive Committee shall have th eright to issue by-laws for fulfillment of provisions of this constitution.
  25. This draft constitution shall be submitted to the National Assembly for consideration; what is ratified of it cannot be changed except by a two-thirds majority of the National Assembly.