[Soon after the eruption of the Palestinian uprising (December 1987), a clandestine United National Leadership (UNL) began to lead, plan and direct the struggle. This Leadership is generally believed to include representatives of five groups: al-Fatah, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine, the Palestinian Communist Party, and a militant Islamic movement. The UNL has published a series of numbered and dated communiques (bayanat), which have had an important role in mobilizing the masses and directing their struggle. In our last issue (Khamsin Bulletin no. 2, May-June 1988) we included a survey and analysis of some of these communiques (numbers 6 to 13). The following is a full translation of more recent communiques: nos 16, 18 and 20, and a summary of no 19.]

No voice rises above the voice of the uprising

No voice rises above the voice of the people of Palestine,
The people of the Palestine Liberation Organization

Communique No 16

The Palestine Appeal

Issued by the United National Leadership of the Uprising
The Palestine Liberation Organization

To the masses of our people,

Forty years have passed since the eviction of our people from its homeland. Throughout this period, there have been attempts to liquidate our existence and our national identity. But the Palestinian people have proven to be resilient and have succeeded in defeating these attempts. The current national revolution and the sacrifices that it has entailed have succeeded in gaining international recognition of our legitimate national rights. These include recognition of the Palestine Liberation Organization as sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people, the right of our people to return to their homeland, and our right to self-­determination and the establishment of a Palestinian state under the leadership of the PLO.

Our people knows its enemy well. It also knows that our struggle is a long one, and that the war of attrition we have declared is increasing the political and economic cost of the occupation as well as the isolation of the occupier in the world community. The great December Uprising has proven that our people cannot be silenced. It has also taken our national struggle into a new stage, whose hallmark is a continuation of resistance and its escalation towards civil disobedience.

The United National Leadership of the Uprising affirms the capacity of our people for sacrifice, and vows that we shall march together towards civil disobedience. Civil disobedience signifies our people’s independence of the occupier’s authority; this means that we must continue our efforts to store food and medical supplies, and to prepare ourselves for the hardships and sacrifices entailed by civil disobedience. The United National Leadership affirms the determination of our people to remove all obstacles on the road to civil disobedience: the priority at present is the resignation of employees in the tax and police departments and in appointed municipal councils.

The United National Leadership welcomes the normalization of Palestinian-Syrian relations within the context of a constructive and democratic dialogue, and affirms the need to avoid peripheral conflicts and the im­portance of democratic dialogue as a means to solving internal disputes. It also condemns those who work outside the national consensus and cause rifts within the national ranks. In this regard, the United National Leadership salutes the nationalist role performed by Libya and Algeria in strengthening the unity of the PLO and in solidifying a nationalist Arab front to confront imperialist designs, foremost of which is the Shultz conspiracy. The Leadership also welcomes efforts to revive and activate the Palestinian-Syrian-Lebanese triangle of steadfastness. At the same time, It condemns the Israeli invasion of southern Lebanon, which was intended to weaken the uprising and divert attention away from the heroic struggle of our people. The United National Leadership affirms that neither the Zionist invasion of Lebanon nor the media blackout of the uprising can extinguish the struggle of our people.

The United National Leadership wishes to affirm the following:

  • We salute the heroic role played by the people of the Gaza Strip refugee camps in escalating the uprising, and single out in this regard the residents of the Shati, Jabalya and Khan-Yunis camps. We call upon our fighting people in the Gaza Strip to continue their escalation and to defeat the neo-fascist plan to issue new identity cards. We urge all Gaza Strip residents to boycott this scheme and to refrain from paying taxes and fines.
  • We urge the immediate resignation of department heads in the Civilian Administration in the Gaza Strip, and call upon Khairi Ramadan of the Health Department and Muhamrnad al-Jidi of the Education Department to resign immediately. May they all know that the fighting masses of the uprising are capable, at the appropriate moment, of punishing all those who choose to remain outside the will of the people and the decisions of its leadership.
  • We urge our people to complete without delay the task of forming popular committees. The popular committees and other, specialized com­mittees are entrusted with organizing the requirements of daily life and guaranteeing essential services and supplies such as food, health, educa­tion, and security. The popular committees represent the people’s authority and function as alternatives to the crumbling apparatus of the occupier. They are also the main instruments for leading and achieving civil disobedience.
  • We urge the intensification of blows against the police and collabora­tors who have remained outside the national consensus by refusing to resign their posts. The same applies to appointed municipal councils.
  • We urge the escalation of the refusal to pay taxes to the occupation authorities. Let the strike forces of the uprising defeat the occupier’s attempt to single out individuals and force them to pay taxes. We also urge residents to refrain from paying rates and charges to traitorous appointed municipal councils.
  • We call upon our people to intensify the boycott of Israeli goods for which there are local substitutes or with which they can dispense. Strike forces will confront any attempt to market such products.
  • We call upon workers to boycott work in Zionist settlements and to refrain from giving any services to the settlers.
  • Whilst saluting lawyers for defending our detainees, we call upon them to reduce their fees and to work towards exposing the inhuman conditions under which our people are living in the prisons of the fascist occupation.
  • We call upon all teachers to participate as widely as possible in the popular education effort. We also call upon them to intensify their pro­test activities against the continued closure of educational institutions and the refusal of the occupation authorities to pay their salaries.
  • We call for complete adherence in all areas to the commercial strikes and to the schedule permitting the opening of places of business between the hours of 9 AM and 12 noon. We call for the removal of street stands and carts outside these hours.

At a time when we commemorate the painful anniversary of our dis­persal and mark, along with the Muslim world, the Feast of al-Fitr, we call upon our people to carry out the following:

  1. To hold prayers in memory of the martyrs of the uprising after the special prayers of al-Jum’a al-Yatima on Friday, 13th May; and to hold symbolic funerals and demonstrations on this day.
  2. To declare the 15th of May, the anniversary of the Disaster, a day of mourning and general strike, to refrain from using public and private transport, and to stay at home.
  3. In memory of the fallen martyrs and in protest against the Arab and Muslim silence regarding the crimes committed against our people and our holy places, the United Leadership has decided to cancel all celebratory aspects of the Feast of al-Fitr, and to call upon our people to confine themselves to observance of the religious rites connected to this occasion. The first day of the Feast will be consecrated to the memory of the martyrs, when our people will demonstrate after prayers, place wreaths on the graves of the martyrs and raise Palestinian flags. The second and third days of the Feast will be days of solidarity with our people, when we shall pay visits to the wounded and the families of martyrs and deportees. We also call upon our people to form com­mittees for the assistance of families in need.
  4. To declare a general strike on Saturday, 21st may, and to devote the day to strengthening the authority of the popular committees and to completing their formation in all areas.
  5. The period from 12th to 22nd May should be considered a period of militant nationalist activity. Let the banner of the uprising fly over the path of liberation and independence.

Long live our glorious uprising!

We shall be victorious!

The United National Leadership of the Uprising
The Palestine Liberation Organization

13 May 1988

*

No voice rises above the voice of the uprising

Communique No 18

Appeal of the Palestinian Child

Issued by the United National Leadership of the Uprising
The Palestine Liberation Organization

To our heroic people,

We take this opportunity to salute our people who through their tireless struggle have successfully destroyed the myth of coexistence with the occupation and who have defeated the attempts to find substitutes for our chosen representative and to deny us our right to self­determination. Our uprising is destroying the apparatus of the occupation and is building upon its ashes, through the popular committees, the frame­work of an independent people’s authority.

Our uprising has restored to our struggle its rightful place on the agenda of international forums; the struggle of our people for independence figures prominently in the deliberations of the Moscow Summit, and will be the main focus of the forthcoming [Arab] summit in Algeria.

This week we observe the twenty-first anniversary of the occupation of what remains of our land. In the corning days we shall witness the Moscow Summit, the Arab Summit, and yet another visit by George Shultz aimed at sabotaging our uprising and silencing our people. But the uprising continues and is escalating, and our people are determined to forge ahead until the downfall of the occupation and the establishment of an independent Palestinian state under the leadership of the PLO.

Our young generation, the generation of the uprising, was not born and raised in a vacuum; it was nurtured under more than twenty years of oppression and violence, and has come of age as a nation denied its legitimate rights and its independent national identity. This generation is determined to make the occupiers pay dearly for their defilement of our land and holy places, and to make the occupation a blazing inferno for the army of the occupation and the murderous settlers.

The United National Leadership of the Uprising calls upon our people to escalate their struggle and to step up their painful blows against the neo-fascist occupier. We also call upon our people to intensify popular organization, to complete the formation of specialized committees, which are essential for the realization of a comprehensive campaign of civil dis­obedience. In short, we must work hard to lay the groundwork for achieving the demands of the uprising: the necessity of observing the provisions of the Fourth Geneva Convention by the posting of an international observer force for the protection of the population; the withdrawal of the Israeli army from the cities, villages and refugee camps; the lifting of the siege on Palestinian communities; the release of detainees; the return of deportees; the rescinding of Israeli legislation regarding taxation and related matters; the holding of democratic elections for municipal and village councils; the lifting of economic constraints stifling the development of the industrial, agricultural and service sectors in the Palestinian society.

The Palestinian people and the United National Leadership of the Uprising call upon the participants in the Arab Summit to shoulder their historic responsibility towards their people and the world by sup­porting the Palestinian struggle. This support is not a matter of statements of condemnation and declarations of solidarity, but entails the following:

  1. Adoption of a united and unambiguous political position recognizing that the PLO is the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people, and the provision of the necessary means to enable our people to continue their struggle.
  2. Rejection of all initiatives aimed at liquidating our struggle, and in particular the Shultz initiative. We also call for insisting on an international conference with full authority, in which the PLO is to participate as an independent delegation and on a par with other parties.
  3. Release of all political prisoners from Arab jails, granting of demo­cratic freedoms to the Arab people to enable them to show their solidarity with our uprising, and opening the borders to Palestinian fighters crossing into occupied Palestine.

The United National Leadership of the Uprising wishes to affirm the following:

  • We call for the immediate resignation of employees working in the departments of motor-car registration, planning, housing, and population registration.
  • Following our success in forcing the occupation to reopen the schools, we call upon our educators to intensify their efforts to compensate pupils for curriculum not covered during the closure. This applies in particular to pupils who are about to sit for exams for the General Certificate of Secondary Education (the Tawjihi). At the same time, we wish to affirm that our schools will continue to be strongholds of the uprising, and that popular education is an important complement to formal school education.
  • We call upon our people to cease dealing with institutions aimed at limiting our freedom of movement: we urge you to refrain from ob­taining tax clearances and from dealing with the collaborationist municipal councils. Popular committees are asked to encourage people in their com­munities to observe this boycott.
  • Payment of taxes, whatever their form, is strictly forbidden. The boycott of Israeli products, both industrial and agricultural, should con­tinue; and work in Israeli settlements is not allowed.
  • We call upon our people in the Gaza Strip to refrain from obtaining new identity cards and ask the popular committees to assist in mobilizing our people to reject these cards.
  • We urge the strengthening of the popular neighbourhood committees and call upon then to intensify their activities in health-care, food preservation, publicity, and in providing protection to their communities.
  • We call for an intensification of blows aimed at all those who persist in remaining outside the national consensus: members of appointed councils, customs department employees, and policemen. And we urge the utilization of popular means of struggle against all enemies, beginning with stones and ending with Molotov cocktails.

The United National Leadership of the Uprising invites the people of the occupied territories to declare the coming period as Days of Rage and Resistance, to match the severity and importance of the events we mark during these days. We urge you to do so by carrying out the following actions:

  1. To hold mass marches and demonstrations on 28th and 29th May, so that the voice of the uprising shall be heard loud and clear at the Moscow Summit.
  2. To observe a general strike on 30th May, and to mark the Reagan­Gorbachev summit by an intensified struggle, including the daubing of slogans and the raising of Palestinian flags.
  3. To mark International Children’s Day on 1st June by holding child­ren’s marches and displaying posters and flags. We call upon local solidarity committees to present gifts to the children of martyrs, the wounded, detainees and deportees.
  4. To observe a general strike on the 3rd, 4th and 5th of June, to mark the Shultz visit, the invasion of Lebanon, and the twenty-first anniversary of the Zionist occupation respectively. Demonstrations will be held and our people are urged to strike at the occupation and those collaborating with it.
  5. To declare 7th June a Day of Arab Solidarity with the Uprising. We urge the Arab masses to hold marches in their own countries in sup­port of the uprising.

The United National Leadership of the Uprising
The Palestine Liberation Organization

28 May 1988

*

Communique No 19

Appeal of the Detainees of the Intifada

Dated 6 June 1988 (summary)

The United National Leadership (UNL) condemns attempts by some “Arab reactionaries” to promote the Shultz plan and undermine the Arab Summit on the uprising due to open the following day (7 June).

The recent meetings between Israeli Defence Mtnister Yttzhak Rabin and certain Palestinians from the occupied territories, described as “a number of agents”, are an attempt to create a “weak alternative” to the PLO.

The UNL warns that the (pro-Jordanian) newspaper al-Nahar, which had “opened a research centre and is spreading poisonous ideas” is trying to “mislead and divide the people”.

The UNL also warns against Israeli intelligence, using its agents in the media, distributing fake statements and sending agents dressed in Pales­tinian garb to sow dissention among the people.

The UNL applauds employees of the Traffic Department in the Israeli so-called Civil Administration, who resigned last week; and calls upon other Palestinian employees and local councillors to follow suit.

The UNL states that measures being implemented by the population, such as withholding taxes and boycotting Israeli products, are setting the stage for total civil disobedience, which will be declared “when conditions necessary to carry it out are fulfilled, the most important being the construction of popular authority in all towns, villages and refugee camps.”

The UNL pays a warm tribute to “the steadfastness of our heroic detainees in the neo-Nazi camps in the Negev, Dahariya, ‘Atlit, Ansar, Magido, Far’a and other detention centres.”

The following programme is set for the days ahead:

  • June 9. Total strike to mark the beginning of the seven month of
  • the intifada.
  • June 11. Day of solidarity with the detainees, during which sit-ins
  • and marches to Red Cross offices wilI be staged.
  • June 13. Day of bolstering popular authority by forming more
  • popular committees.
  • June 15. Total strike in solidarity with detained pupils and in support of popular teaching.
  • June 16. Food and other basic staples should be stocked.
  • June 18. “Day of Escalation”, to mark the people’s commitment to their rights under the PLO’s leadership; attacks to be carried out against those “deviating from the popular will” and the occupation authorities.
  • June 19. Civil Administration departments to be totally boycotted.
  • June 20. Day of the “martyred Palestinian child”, during which families of children who have been killed will be visited.
  • June 22. Day of total strike, during which the land will be cultivated and “the enemy’s industrial and agricultural properties will be destroyed.”

*

No voice rises above the voice of the Uprising

No voice rises above the voice of the people of Palestine;
The people of the Palestine Liberation Organization

Communique No 20

The Jerusalem Appeal

Issued by the United National Leadership of the Uprising
The Palestine Liberation Organization

To the masses of the uprising, the popular and national committees, the strike forces,

Our uprising is intensifying and escalating, shattering the delusions of the occupier that its flames could be extinguished. The considerable achievements of the uprising only serve to elevate the morale of the masses and to provide the impetus for the continuation of the struggle.

Our people views with pride the impact of the uprising on the international and Arab arenas; the resolution of the [Arab] Summit of the Uprising in Algiers demonstrate the changes wrought by the uprising in the Arab World. The political resolutions of the Algiers Summit are in accord with the slogans of the uprising; they have dealt a severe blow to US policy in the region, and have blocked Shultz’s attempts to im­pose his initiative. They have also affirmed the legitimate national rights of our people to return to their homeland, to self-determination, and to the establishment of an independent Palestinian state. Furthermore, the Arab Summit reaffirmed its recognition of the PLO as the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people regardless of their place of residence, and stressed the necessity of convening an authoritative inter­national conference with the participation of the PLO on a par with other parties, and the provision of international protection for the people of the occupied territories. And, while praising the efforts of President Shazli Ben-Jadid in convening and supporting the Summit, we urge the Arab states to respect its resolutions and to work seriously towards implementing them.

The United National Leadership of the Uprising wishes to affirm its short-­term aims by calling for the provision of international protection for our people in the occupied territories by means of an international observer force; the holding of municipal elections under international supervision; the implementation of the provisions of the Fourth Geneva Convention concerning the protection of civilians in wartime; the withdrawal of the Israeli army from populated areas; the release of prisoners and the closure of prison camps; the repatriation of deportees; and respect for the principles of human rights.

To our heroic people,

Your uprising has been able to absorb and neutralize the impact of the escalating assault mounted by the Zionist authorities, reflected in more demolitions of homes, arrests, and the burning and uprooting of agricultural produce. The last few weeks have also witnessed an escalation of the uprising, with an increase in the volume of confrontations with the army and the settlers, and the use of petrol bombs. We urge the masses of the uprising to prepare the way for total civil disobedience by participating actively in the formation of popular committees and strike forces, by encouraging national unity, and by intensifying the boycott of the civil administration and the military government. The United National Leadership salutes those of our people who have been the target of particularly harsh measures by the fascist occupier; we salute the heroic people of the Gaza Strip, the Tulkarm district, Ithna and the villages in the Hebron Hills, Beit Furik, and ‘Abwein. And in the name of these people and those in the refugee camps, we call upon our compatriots in the camps in Lebanon to put an end to the shedding of Palestinian blood. Our people will never forgive the instigators of these tragic events. We view these events as detrimental to efforts to achieve national unity, and to a rapprochement between the Palestinians and the Syrians.

To our heroic people,

The occupiers deluded themselves into thinking that they could impose a fait accompli upon the Palestinian people by annexing Jerusalem on 28 June 1967. They believed that they could convince world opinion that Jerusalem was unified under their rule. However, the active struggle of tour people in Jerusalem gave the lie to these claims and strengthened the identification of our people with the capital of our future state and with its religious and cultural heritage.

The United National Leadership of the Uprising (UNLU) wishes to affirm the following:

  • The struggle of pupils for the release of their detained colleagues must continue. We call for the intensification of popular education for all pupils, particularly for those preparing for the General Certificate of Secondary Education (the Tawjihi). We call upon pupils and united pupils’ committees to protect school education and to respect the decisions of none but the United National Leadership of the Uprising. We invite the administrations of universities and colleges to work towards organizing academic life, and call upon local, Arab and foreign universities to admit students on the basis of the results of the first part of the Tawjihi. The Council for Higher Education in the Occupied Territories is urged to adopt this demand and to work for its realization.
  • The UNLU salutes our heroic merchants who have refused to pay taxes and who are constantly faced with assaults from tax-collectors. We urge our industrial concerns to refrain from paying taxes and call upon merchants to stage protests against the measures applied to them.
  • We urge the people of the Gaza Strip to continue the struggle; we single out in this regard the people of Buraij Camp, where the local council has resigned. We warn our people in Deir al-Balah against the financial blackmail exercised by certain suspect individuals masquerading as nationalists. We call upon our people to disobey orders to erase nationalist graffiti, and [also urge them] to form observer committees to ensure the orderly conduct of secondary examinations.
  • The UNLU affirms its request for the resignation of all employees of the Departments of Planning, Housing, Population Registry and Motor Vehicle Licensing. Our strike forces are requested to mount attacks against appointed municipal and village councils and against those who have not yet resigned from the Tax Department and the police force.
  • We call upon physicians to reduce their fees, and urge landlords to reduce rents for the poor and those financially harmed by the uprising.
  • We call upon Arab states to grant democratic rights to their people and to release Arab and Palestinian prisoners from their jails.
  • As we complete the seventh month of our uprising, we call upon you to observe the following measures for the sake of Jerusalem and as a reflection of our Arab identity:
  1. To declare 24 June a day of solidarity with our merchants, and a day for condemning raids on their premises and the confiscation of their property and identity cards.
  2. To observe 25 June as a day of struggle against racial discrimination, and of solidarity with South Africa. Our people will on that day demonstrate their solidarity with all people suffering from racial discrimination, under the slogan: Freedom for the People and Death to Racists.
  3. To celebrate the authority of the people on 26 June, by hitting all those who remain outside the will of the people and at headquarters of appointed local councils.
  4. To mark the annexation of Jerusalem on 28 June by a general strike in affirmation of the Arab identity of the city.
  5. To consider 27 and 28 June to be days for the escalation of the struggle and to stage marches in all areas and particularly in Jerusalem under the slogan: Jerusalem, the capital of the Palestinian State.
  6. To declare 30 June a day of national reconstruction, and to show solidarity with the owners of demolished homes by extending assistance towards the rebuilding of demolished houses.
  7. To observe Palestine Heritage Day on 1 July by convening symposia and holding exhibitions aimed at affirming our cultural traditions and at protecting them from attempts to eradicate and disfigure them.
  8. To commemorate the 18th anniversary of the prisoners’ strike at Asqalan [Ashqelon] by showing solidarity with our heroic prisoners.
  9. To observe National Health day on 3 July: medical teams and health committees will provide health care on this day.
  10. To devote 4 July to the building of popular committees and strike forces, and to popular education and the storing of supplies.
  11. To observe a general strike on 5 July and to boycott all offices of the civil administration. All institutions and schools not bearing Palestinian names will be renamed on that day.

We urge our heroic people to continue the struggle and to go on forming strike forces, the militant arm of the national leadership. We call upon our people to expand the use of popular means of struggle, and lo go on destroying the properties of our fascist enemy.

Glory to our innocent martyrs!
We shall be victorious!

The United National Leadership of the Uprising
in the Occupied Territories

The Palestine Liberation Organization

22 June 1988