PNC VOTE ON CHARTER:
ANOTHER DEFEAT

By Boris Shusteff

The charter will remain in the hearts of Palestinians, whether they change it on paper or not. We will teach it to our children and our children's children. (The Jerusalem Post, 12/14/98. Quote from an unidentified student)

The Jewish state has made another step towards its self destruction. It had put another break into the building of a second Palestinian state. By accepting the farce of the annulment of the Palestinian Covenant (or "Charter"), Israel has tacitly agreed to the return of the Palestinian Arab refugees, to the dismantling of the Jewish settlements in Judea, Samaria and Gaza, and to the creation of a second Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital. The Israeli leaders eagerly accepted Arafat's fake stones as genuine diamonds and will pay an unforgivable price for this. The unchanged Charter will forever serve as proof of Israels indecisiveness and weakness and will become the tombstone of the Jewish state.

Using Charles Krauthammers comparisons one may say that Arafat not only made a profit by selling the "same old rug" for the fifth time, but he also managed to get Israelis to brush the dust off of it and to make it look like something new. The worst thing is that the Israeli leaders themselves understand that the Covenant was not annulled. As MK Benny Begin explained to Arutz­7 on December 14:

"The changing of the charter is contingent upon the calling of a special session of the PNC, before which the members must have been specifically informed as to what issue they will be voting on, Not only is this gathering not an exclusive and official session of the PNC, but the participants received only a simple, modest invitation to come and hear speeches by Arafat and Clinton, and nothing more."

One need not be a mathematical genius to understand that if invitations are sent to only 25 out of the more than 300 PNC members who live outside of Palestinian Autonomy there is no way that Arafat can have a legitimate quorum for amendments of the Covenant. Although there was nothing sophisticated about Arafat's lies it is worth entering the December 14 meeting at Gaza's Shawa center to listen to the PLO chairman. This is what he said, addressing Bill Clinton, "Mr. President, to conclude my speech I remind you that the Palestinian National Council (PNC) in 1996 amended the constitution and canceled all clauses contradicting our agreements, to do with violence and terrorism and anything against the agreements." If Netanyahu was seriously concerned with the Charter's amendments the above statement would have been enough for him to abrogate the Oslo agreement outright, since it is well known that the Charter has remained untouched throughout the entire Oslo process.

On May 7, 1997 Maariv wrote that "at a meeting with Libyan ruler Muammar Qadafi, Yasser Arafat denied that the Covenant had been cancelled and claimed that nothing happened." Arafats denial did not contradict the May 1996 press release of Fatahs internal document published in Ramallah entitled "The Palestinian National Covenant Between Renewal and Being Frozen." This document stated that "the PLO Covenant was frozen, but not annulled, and that no changes were made to the document at the recent session of the PNC." That this is true was proved by the concluding document of the session, published on April 25, 1996. The document included nineteen specific resolutions and decisions, but contained no reference to any decision to amend the Charter.

The Palestinian leaders are well aware that the Charter was not annulled in 1996. This is why they speak about the annulment process not in terms of the past but of the future. The Dubai's daily Al Bayyan, wrote on December 1, that Khalid al­Fahum, former speaker of the Palestine National Council, said that the opposition conference of the 10 Palestinian factions "will express the Palestinian people's rejection to amend the PLO Charter."

Let us listen to Arafats next maxim. He said, "As a part of our commitment made on 6th November at Wye, the Executive Council agreed to confirm this decision. Mr. Clinton, four days ago the Palestinian Central Council reaffirmed this decision." It is interesting to compare this statement with the December, 12 report by Doha Qatar al­Jazirah Space Channel Television, which contains a telephone interview between Faysal al­Qasim, in Doha, with Hasan 'Asfur, coordinator of the Negotiations Higher Committee, in Ramallah:

"Your questions, brother Faysal, are a bit hasty. The abrogation of the charter did not take place today. We only voted on President 'Arafat's letter to President Clinton. This letter asserts that the PNC had made a decision to amend such and such articles. Based on this, the current political commotion is a deception no more no less. I hope you will not be taken in by this deception."

Arafat knew extremely well that the Palestinian Arabs, participants of the Gaza meeting "will not be taken in by this deception." Nevertheless he worded his final appeal to the delegates very carefully in order for them to understand that they are not voting for the Covenants abrogation. He said, "I ask you now as part of the decision issued in April 1996. I request you and appeal to you to approve and confirm the treaties and decisions taken by the Executive council and Central Council, and to support the peace process. Please raise your hands to agree on this." So they enthusiastically raised their hands since they were eager to "approve and confirm" decisions taken by the Central Council. The radio station Voice of Palestine enumerated them on December 12. It reported that the Council:

"expressed its support of our steadfast masses on their land, categorically rejected the Israeli Government's decision to annex holy Jerusalem to the Israeli entity; reiterated its rejection of the Israeli colonial plans to Judaize the holy city and erase its history, civilization, culture, and religious status which is considered sacred by Muslims and Christians all over the world, [and] underlined the Palestinian refugees' rights to return to their homeland."


If one says that the delegates supported "the peace process" one should be reminded that this "process" has resulted in more than 300 dead and several thousand maimed Israelis and in territory being transferred under the PLOs control. Therefore it is not surprising that the delegates "came to their feet and raised their hands, and applauded and cheered." They are very eager for this process to continue. The list of Israeli losses, defeats and surrenders is growing exponentially. The Israeli leaders have admitted defeat and have stopped promoting the truth that there is already a Palestinian state Jordan. They have acquiesced to the presence in Palestine of a separate "Palestinian" people. They have reneged on their commitments not to deal with the PLO and not to allow "establishment of the PLO authority in any part of Palestine." They are very close to accepting the Arab interpretation of Resolutions 242 and 338, thus agreeing to retreat not just from "territories" but from "all the territories" that they gained in 1967 and 1973. Now the Palestinian Covenant, which has remained intact, has been added to this shameful list. Does that mean that Jerusalem is next on this list of surrenders? [12/14/98]

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Boris Shusteff is an engineer in upstate New York. He is also a Research Associate with the Freeman Center for Strategic Studies.[Arabic translations in Shusteff articles not otherwise attributed come from IG & News.]


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