UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon recently said that he feels guilty and ashamed of the lack of progress in the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.
His shame should have been directed to the Palestinian leadership for their failure to comply with their Oslo Peace Treaty obligations to change their 1968 PLO charter.
Oslo was predicated upon Israel conveying land in exchange for peace with the Palestinians. There is no doubt that Israel conveyed a sizable amount of land to the Palestinians. Oslo obligated the Palestinian National Council to eliminate the clauses of the PLO Charter calling for Israel’s destruction.
Clause 33 of the 1968 Amended 1964 PLO Charter states that no changes in the charter can be made unless 2/3 of the membership of the Palestinian National Council of the Palestinian Liberation Organization votes for a change.
The PNC has never voted to change one specific clause of the charter. There has been one vote by the PNC in April 1996 which produced a two-clause written resolution which did state in clause one that the PNC has decided to amend the charter, and canceling the clauses opposing the Sept. 1993 exchange of letters between the PLO and the Israeli government. Clause two assigned to a legal committee the redrafting of a new charter and to present it to the Palestinian Central Council during its first meeting.
There is no evidence that a legal committee was ever formed and there is no evidence that any redrafting of the charter ever occurred pursuant to clause two of the resolution.
No other Palestinian document appeared pertaining to the charter, until PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat sent his January 1998 letter to President Clinton. He stated in this letter that as a result of the comprehensive Palestinian National Council vote in accordance with charter clause 33, clauses 6-10, 15, 19-23, and 30 were annulled and clauses 1-5, 11-14, 16-18, 25-27 and 29 were partially annulled.
Arafat’s annulment allegations were figments of his imagination which he used to bamboozle Clinton, Prime Minister Netanyahu and the world into believing that the charade which he created, would comply with the PLO commitment to change the charter.
The PNC and leaders of other Palestinian ministries verbally reaffirmed Arafat’s letter to Clinton by raising their arms on Dec. 14, 1998. A verbal reaffirmation of Arafat’s allegations of annulments certainly does not come close to meeting the requirements of charter clause 33. As a matter of fact, the members of the PNC who reaffirmed Arafat’s letter to Clinton, reaffirmed what they never did in the April 1996 written resolution. Clause one merely stated that they have decided to amend their charter.
No new charter has ever appeared.
The almost daily translations by Palestinian Media Watch and the Middle East Media Research Institute of Palestinian TV, newspapers, Friday sermons and utterances of Palestinian leaders are proof positive that the 1964 creation of the PLO with its charter to destroy Israel remains their ultimate goal.
The 33 clause PLO 1968 Amended 1964 Charter is still their “junior Koran” which declares that the establishment of Israel is illegal and void, and that armed struggle is the only way to “liberate” Palestine. There is no evidence that the Palestinian leaders have any intention to enter into a meaningful peace with Israel.
William K. Langfan, of Palm Beach, is founding principal of the Langfan Company a real-estate investment company.