Letter from Yasser Arafat Regarding Nullification of
PLO Charter Provisions
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In January of 1998, US President Clinton and the US Department of State began a process of re-energizing the stalled Israel-Palestinian peace process, that was to lead to the Wye River meetings. He met separately with Arafat and Netanyahu in Washington on January 20-22. Secretary of State Albright then traveled to the Middle East, and put forth a proposal for simultaneous steps by the Palestinians on security and by Israel on further redeployment. Chairman Arafat gave her a letter detailing which parts of the PLO Charter could be considered annulled. This issue had been raised repeatedly by the Israeli government, since it considered that the Palestinians had not taken the steps required to annul the charter provisions calling for the destruction of Israel. This letter is referred to in the Wye Plantation memorandum and in a letter from US ambassador to Israel, Edwin Walker, to Israel Cabinet Secretary Danny Naveh of October 1998 it is referenced as follows:
"...Chairman Arafat's January 22 letter to President Clinton nullifying each of the Charter's provisions that are inconsistent with the PLO's commitments to renounce terror, and to recognize and live in peace with Israel."
The letter is apparently the one below, taken from the Miftah web site. However, this letter is dated January 13.
President Clinton traveled to the Middle East December 12-15, 1998. Following an historic address to the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) in Gaza in which Clinton called for establishment of a Palestinian state, he witnessed a PLC vote "fully and forever" rejecting conflict with Israel and revoking articles of the Palestinian Charter calling for the destruction of Israel. However, since the PLC is the council of the Palestine National Authority, and not of the PLO, it is not clear if the vote was binding.
The intact charter is still (2002) displayed at Web sites of the Palestinian Authority, with separate references to letters annulling sections that are not in agreement with the Oslo accords, but without specifying which sections are annulled. The Fatah constitution still (2002) calls for the destruction of Israel. Fateh is the main constituent of the PLO. In September 2000, violence broke out in the occupied territories, disrupting ongoing negotiations, despite the PLC vote rejecting conflict with Israel.
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Letter From Yassar Arafat to President Clinton
January 13, 1998
His Excellency President William Clinton
President of the United states Of America
Dear Mr. President.
In the. mutual recognition letters between myself and the late Prime Minister Itzhaq Rabbin of September 9/10, 1993, the PLO committed to recognize the right of the State of Israel to exist in peace and security, to accept UN Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338 and to a peaceful resolution of the conflict between the two ides. The PLO also agreed to secure the necessary changes in the Palestinian Covenant to reflect these commitments.
Accordingly, the P.N.C. was held in Gaza city between 22-25 of April 1996, and in an extraordinary session decided that the "Palestine National Charter is hereby amended by canceling the articles that are contrary to the letters exchanged between the P.L.O and the Government of Israel on 9/10 September 1993".
It should be noted that the above mentioned resolution acquired the consent of both the American Administration and the Israeli Government. Afterwards I sent letters concerning this historic resolution to your Excellency and Prime Minister Shimon Peres, and later a similar letter was sent to Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu.
Both your Excellency and Prime Minister Peres warmly welcomed the P.N.C. Resolution.
The Israeli Labor Party, and in appreciation of the P.N.C. resolution dropped its objection to the establishment of a Palestinian State from its political platform.
From time to time questions have been raised about the effect of the Palestine National Council's action, particularly concerning which of the 33 articles of the Palestinian Covenant have been changed.
We would like to put to rest these concerns. The Palestine National Council's resolution, in accordance with Article 33 of the Covenant, is a comprehensive amendment of the Covenant. All of the provisions of the Covenant which are inconsistent with the P.L.O. commitment to recognize and live in peace side by side with Israel are no longer in effect.
As a result, Articles 6-10,15, 19-23, and 30 have been nullified, and the parts in Articles 1-5, 11-14, 16-l8, 25-27 and 29 that are in consistent with the above mentioned commitments have also been nullified.
I can assure you on behalf of the PLO and the Palestinian Authority that all the provisions of the Covenant that were inconsistent with the commitments of September 9/10, 1993 ) to P rime Minister Rabin, have been nullified.
Nablus : January 13, 1998
Chairman of the Executive Committee Of the P.L.O
President of the P.N.A.
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