OSC Translates the 2009 Fatah Charter

01.27.10 | 1 min read | Text by Steven Aftergood

Last year, the Palestinian National Liberation Movement (Fatah in the Arabic acronym) led by Palestinian National Authority president Mahmoud Abbas gathered in Bethlehem and approved a revision of its charter for the first time since the 1960s.  That revised charter (pdf) has recently been translated into English by the DNI Open Source Center.

The document is not particularly conciliatory in tone or content.  It is a call to revolution, confrontation with the enemy, and the liberation of Palestine, “free and Arab.”  Interestingly, it stresses the role of women in the movement.  “The leading bodies will work to arrive at 20 percent participation for women, provided this does not conflict with organizational standards or the Internal Charter.”  And it insists repeatedly on the need to safeguard the movement’s “secrets.”

But what is perhaps most significant is what is not in the document.  The original Fatah charter (or constitution) from the 1960s embraced “the world-wide struggle against Zionism,” denied Jewish historical or religious ties to the land, and called for the “eradication of Zionist economic, political, military and cultural existence.”  None of that language is carried over into the new charter, which manages not to mention Israel, Zionism, or Jews at all.

The English translation of the new Charter, which does not seem to be available elsewhere, has not been approved for public release by the DNI Open Source Center.  A copy was obtained by Secrecy News.