Palestinians Revoke Charter
On altering the P.L.O. covenant, which calls for Israel's destruction:
"Consequently, the P.L.O. undertakes to submit to the Palestinian National Council for formal approval the necessary changes in regard to the Palestinian covenant."
Yasser Arafat, Chairman of the P.L.O. (in the exchange of letters with Israel on 9 September 1993)
six weeks later...
"Israel must not demand that the P.L.O. alter its covenant, just as the P.L.O. does not demand that the Jewish nation cancel the Bible."
Ziad Abu Ziad, senior P.L.O. official (in a speech to the American Jewish Federation, 23 October 1993)
"We have no intention of changing or nullifying the Covenant, rather, we will adhere to it until our last breath since it embodies the essence of our demands."
Tayseer Qaba, deputy chairman of the PLO's Palestine National Council (A-Nahar, 19 September 1995, page 16)
"...The [Palestinian] National Council did not vote to annul the [Palestinian] Covenant, but rather announced its readiness to change the Covenant under certain terms. If the terms are met, it will be amended. Otherwise, the Covenant will remain as is. The Covenant has yet to be changed, and his is better understood by the enemy than by our own people...." - Secretary General of the Arab Liberation Front Mahmoud
'Abbas, otherwise known as Abu 'Abbas. The Israel-PLO Accords of 1993 required the Palestinian National Council to amend the Covenant, which calls for Israel's destruction, with no further conditions attached.
(Al-Bilad, 11 June 1998. Translation courtesy of MEMRI.)
(December 14, 1998)
On December 14, 1998, with President Clinton in attendance, the Palestinian Legislative Council meeting in Gaza voted nearly unanimously to revoke portions of the Palestine National Charter <http://www.us-israel.org/jsource/Terrorism/PLO_Covenant_commentary.html> calling for Israel's destruction. Following the vote, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
said the The Palestinian Authority (PA)
had fulfilled its obligation under the peace accords.
More than 1,000 Palestinians participated in the meeting, including more than 450 from the PLO's Palestine National Council (PNC). They stood and voted by a show of hands to reaffirm the nullification of clauses in the PLO charter
calling for Israel's destruction. Only a few dozen of the members remained seated during the vote.
More than 100 PNC members stayed away, primarily hardline opponents of the peace process who had denounced making any changes to the charter. Similarly, a handful of right-wing Israeli politicians maintained the vote was not conducted according to the PNC's rules for revocation and continued to insist the Charter <http://www.us-israel.org/jsource/Peace/PLO_Covenant.html> remained in effect with the offending articles.
Clinton, the first U.S. president to visit Palestinian-ruled territory, hinted at recognition of Palestinian self-determination when he declared: “For the first time in the history of the Palestinians, the Palestinian people and their elected representatives now have a chance to determine their own destiny on their own land.”
Yasser Arafat <http://www.us-israel.org/jsource/biography/arafat.html> told Clinton: “We affirm to you that our people support a just peace and will not return to a pre-peace era and we will not be easy with anyone who harms the security of either side.”
Yasser Arafat <http://www.us-israel.org/jsource/biography/arafat.html> also condemned Israeli settlement activity in East Jerusalem and in the West Bank and Gaza. He also deplored the continued detention of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails. While repeating the Palestinian intention to create a state with Jerusalem as its capital,
Yasser Arafat <http://www.us-israel.org/jsource/biography/arafat.html> omitted previous references to doing so next May, the deadline for a final peace deal under interim accords with Israel.
Yasser Arafat <http://www.us-israel.org/jsource/biography/arafat.html> went on to reaffirm his determination “to oppose any attempt to threaten the security of the two parties.”
PLO Cancels Clause Calling for Destruction of Israel
14 December, 1998
By Patrick Goodenough in the Gaza Strip CNS Special Correspondent
Monday, December 14, 1998
GAZA CITY - The Israeli government said Monday a show-of-hands vote by members of the Palestinian National Council and other Palestinian bodies had been an acceptable demonstration of support for the canceling of clauses in the PLO charter calling for Israel's destruction.
Reacting immediately after the meeting here addressed by President Bill Clinton, Israel's Trade and Industry Minister Nathan Sharansky conceded that Israelis had witnessed the exhibition of support for peace, but said Yasser Arafat had wasted a perfect opportunity to tell his people that violence against Israel must stop.
"We accept this vote," he said. "We think this is a positive development. We think it should be said in Arabic more and more clearly and more and more often [that violence is an unacceptable option]."
Sharansky said the Israeli inner cabinet would meet within the next hour to discuss today's events and consider whether or not Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu will participate in a three-way summit with Clinton and Arafat this evening.
Earlier, Arafat welcomed Clinton to the gathering of members of the PNC and other Palestinian political, legislative and religious organizations. He reiterated that a letter he sent to Clinton last January confirmed that the PLO had dropped clauses in its charter offensive to Israel.
He then called on the meeting to demonstrate their support for this and other decisions relating to amending the charter.
"I appeal to you to approve and confirm the previous decisions [by Palestinian bodies relating to changing the charter] ' to support the peace process. So would you be kind to raise your hands to agree on this?"
Most of the 600-odd people in the auditorium appeared to clap, and many stood. Arafat then informed Clinton that the Palestinians had thereby fulfilled their commitments.
To applause, Clinton said after the show of hands that the Palestinian officials had delivered a powerful message, not to the Israeli government, but to the Israeli people.
Yet the most resounding cheers, and a standing ovation, were earned by Arafat, when he spoke in front of Clinton of an independent Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital.
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Kaddoumi: PLO charter was never changed
By KHALED ABU TOAMEH, Jerusalem Post 23rd April 2004.
Farouk Kaddoumi, the PLO's hard-line "foreign minister," said Thursday that when Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat talks about the need to pursue the struggle against Israel, he is referring to the armed struggle. Kaddoumi said the armed struggle was the only way to force Israel to accept the demands of the Palestinians.
Kaddoumi's remarks were made in an interview with the Jordanian newspaper Al-Arab. He admitted that the PLO charter, which denies Israel's right to exist, was never changed.
In response to a question what does Arafat mean when he talks about the continuation of the struggle, Kaddoumi, who is one of the few PLO leaders still living in Tunisia, said: "Yes, the national struggle must continue. I mean the armed struggle. In the past we abandoned our political parties in favor of the armed struggle.
"Fatah was established on the basis of the armed struggle and that this was the only way to leading to political negotiations that would force the enemy to accept our national aspirations. Therefore there is no struggle other than the armed military struggle."
Commenting on Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's plan to withdraw from the Gaza Strip, Kaddoumi said: "If Israel wants to leave the Gaza Strip, then it should do so. This means that the Palestinian resistance has forced it to leave. But the resistance will continue. Let the Gaza Strip be South Vietnam. We will use all available methods to liberate North Vietnam."
Kaddoumi revealed that the PLO leadership has entrusted him with being responsible for the "portfolio" of supporting the Iraqi resistance against the US-led coalition forces in Iraq. "There is no doubt that the Palestinian revolution supports the Iraqi resistance and we have seen demonstrations in the occupied Palestinian territories in backing the intifada and resistance in Iraq," he said. "I'm in charge of this issue and I condemn the American position."
Kaddoumi welcomed the establishment of an armed group in Iraq named after slain Hamas leader Ahmed Yassin, saying this would increase pressure on the US. He described the new anti-American group as an "excellent phenomenon."
Kaddoumi said that, contrary to what many people believe, the PLO charter was never changed so as to recognize Israel's right to exist. "The Palestinian national charter has not been amended until now," he explained. "It was said that some articles are no longer effective, but they were not changed. I'm one of those who didn't agree to any changes."
Asked about US and Israeli demands to halt terror attacks as a condition for resuming the peace process,
Kaddoumi replied: "They can go to hell!"
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