A Reasonable Request: PLO Ratification of the Oslo Accords

Arafat (right) signed the accord without the PLO’s sanction

— by David Bedein

Recently, US Secretary of State John Kerry passionately called for the renewal of talks with the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO). Former President Bill Clinton, who hosted the PLO-Israel ceremonies on the White House lawn twenty years ago, is on his way to Jerusalem for high profile lectures, where he will also call for renewal of negotiations. And Shimon Peres, Israel’s president, who served as Israel’s foreign minister at the outset of negotiations with the PLO two decades ago, is about to convene thousands of dignitaries at a conference at the President’s mansion, that will call to expedite negotiations with the PLO.

Veteran observers of middle east politics may ask: what is there to negotiate about?

More after the jump.
Indeed, there is an item on the table that is hardly a minor detail: The Palestinian Liberation Organization did not ratify the Oslo Accords after Yasser Arafat and Mahmuod Abbas signed them on the White House lawn.

On September 13, 1993, at the White House, Israeli Prime Minister Yitzchak Rabin and Israeli Foreign Minister Simon Peres signed the “Declaration of Principles” (DOP) between Israel and the PLO together with Arafat and Abbas. The agreement, which had been hammered out in Oslo, stipulated mutual recognition between Israel and the PLO. It required the PLO to cease and desist from terrorism, and for the PLO to nullify its covenant, which calls for Israel’s destruction.

The Israeli Knesset ratified the accord one week later, by a vote of 61 to 50, with 9 abstentions. However, what received hardly any attention was the fact that on October 6, 1993, the PLO executive did not ratify the Oslo accord, for lack of a quorum.

Very few people know or remember that Pinchas Inbari, the only Israeli correspondent covering the PLO in Tunis at the time, writing for the Israeli left-wing Hebrew newspaper Al HaMishmar, broke the story that Arafat announced in Tunis that he could not get a quorum of the executive council of the PLO to ratify the Declaration of Principles of the Oslo Accords. Al HaMishmar then ran a headline, which reported that the PLO did not ratify the accord.

Yossi Beilin was sent to Tunis to thank Arafat for the ratification of Oslo, which never happened

Carrying Al HaMishmar in my hand, I walked into the office of the Israel Government Press Office director at the time, Mr. Ori Dromi, and showed him the headline. Dromi, an appointee of Rabin, made it clear that from the Israeli government’s point of view, this meant that Arafat signed the accord without the sanction of the PLO.

The rest of the Israeli media, however, did not report that the PLO never ratified the accord, and the Israeli government acted as if it had done so.

Inbari was scheduled to appear on Kol Yisrael’s popular morning radio show when he got back from Tunis. However, the Prime Minister’s office asked Kol Yisrael to cancel that appearance. Instead, the Israeli government dispatched then-Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Yossi Beilin, to fly to Tunis to thank Arafat for facilitating the ratification of the Oslo accord, which the PLO never did.

Why is this important? According to the Israeli law, since the PLO did not ratify the Oslo accord, which renounce terrorism, the PLO and Fatah were never stricken from Israeli law books as “a terrorist entity,” a status that the PLO received on March 1, 1980.

The same goes for American law. In March 2002, US government designated the Al-Aksa Martyrs Brigades of the Fatah as a terror organization. That designation was never changed. Under US law, any government that aids and abets an organization defined as a terror organization will forfeit US foreign aid assistance.

On two occasions, the Palestinian National. Council gathered to discuss the PLO Covenant, which calls for Israel’s destruction: on April 24, 1996 and on December 14, 1998. On neither occasion did the PNC cancel it.

In other words, there is a real reason to renew negotiations with the PLO: The first items on the agenda would be to ask that the PLO finally ratify the Declaration of Principles of non violence and mutual recognition, which constituted the essence of the Oslo Accord. The other request would be to cancel the PLO Covenant.

Aren’t those requests reasonable?

Israel Behind The News
Funds Needed to Continue Proactive News Investigations

  • Dangers of Further US Aid to the PLO Army
  • Threat of Planned PLO Army Deployment in Hebron and Jerusalem
  • UNRWA and PA for War Curriculum, financed by US and the West
  • Conflicts of Interests of Israeli businesses invested in the Palestinian Authority

Oh… So That’s Why Sharon and Arafat Have Not Met Recently!

Republican Congressman Joe Pitts, 72, of Pennsylvania’s 16th Congressional District (Chester, Lancaster and Berks Counties), has made a blunder that is receiving international attention.

In response to a letter from a Chester County constituent on the Middle-East Pitts’s office responded with a letter saying Yasser Arafat and Ariel Sharon should sit down and negotiate.  Arafat died in 2004 and Sharon has been in a coma since 2006.

The story appears in today’s Philadelphia Inquirer Pennsylvania Congressman Muffs Mideast Message, by Angela Couloumbis.  It has also been reported on by news outlets such as the Times of Israel (Arafat, Sharon must do more for peace by Michal Shmulovich)

Vanessa Redgrave and Yasir Arafat: Update to 2011

Jane Curtin as Vanessa Redgrave and John Belushi as Yasser Arafat in the April 8, 1978 opening sketch of NBC’s Saturday Night Live spoofing Vanessa Redgrave’s anti-Zionist polemic at April 3 the Oscars upon winning the Best Supporting Actress Award for her work in the title role of Julia.

By David Broida

Remembering Vanessa Redgrave, raising a rifle and dancing with Yasir Arafat, is easy, because – to use a popular cliche – a picture is worth a thousand words.  If only I had a picture to demonstrate a recent anti-Semetic outrage from across the pond.

In Scotland this time, the West Dunbartonshire Council has voted unanimously to boycott the purchase of “>The measure, introduced and passed in 2009, was in response to Israel’s Gaza incursion, which in turn was in response to the thousands of rockets that were fired from Gaza and landed in and near Sderot in southern Israel (are you following this?), and it indicated the municipal government’s dissatisfaction with Israel’s military actions.

That’s not new news of course, the council vote being 2 years old.  What is news, but has failed to make the front pages in the U.S., or any back pages either, or even a 2-inch article buried deep in the New York Times, is that the West Dunbartonshire Council seems to have fallen asleep at the wheel.  While Egyptian forces killed around a thousand peaceful demonstrators in Tahrir Square, while many hundreds, probably more, Tunisians were slaughtered by their government while peacefully protesting their lack of democracy, while Baharain, guilty of much the same, and futhermore, now guilty of putting physicians and nurses on trial for supposedly helping non-violent demonstrators in that country, while the 42-year dictator Col. Gadafi and his forces continue their war against their own Libyan people, and while in Syria shells its civilian population and refugees there——-need I go on? Apparently, yes.  Add Syria and the recent violent repression of peaceful protest in Hama and elsewhere.

More after the jump.
I think the picture that would be worth a thousand words is now in focus – the Scottish municipal council is guilty of focusing its ire on the Jewish State, while ignoring the crimes of the neighboring Arab states (and crimes around the world as well –  Ethiopia’s Mengistu, Robert Mugabe, Idi Amin, Central Africa Republic’s cannibal leader Bokassa, Papa Doc, Saadam Hussein, Stalin, Hitler, just to name a few whose names have never been introduced in a bill before the councilors).  Another crime that the Scottish municipal council ignores to its peril is the British execution of Kenyan freedom fighters in the 1950’s and the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Kenyans in their quest for indepencence, and – dare I add this – the exceution by hanging of Jewish freedom fighters in the 1940’s in pre-state Palestine.  And then there’s the Boer War in South Africa, in which Great Britain set up concentration camps for unruly Boers, also conveniently forgotten by the councilors.  And how could I forget the execution of the 15 leaders of the 1916 Easter Rising, with the British commander in Ireland refusing to commute their sentences?   Irish, Kenyans, the Jews of Palestine – freedom fighters trying to throw off an oppresive occupying force, which is singular and not plural, because the occupier was one and the same and flies the Union Jack.

It seems the picture is not so sharp, not quite in focus, after all.  The blacks and whites have some shades of gray.

When the picture is enlarged, though, what becomes clear is the clearly anti-Semetic nature of the actions by these few Scots.  By focusing on only Israel, while ignoring the horrific crimes of others, can lead the reader to only one conclusion:  Israel has become for these Scots the chosen people.  As Teveye might ask, “Why choose us?”  Why, indeed!

The big picture, of course, is that the action of the West Dunbartonshire Council is not limited to that municipality.  The Boycott-Divest-Sanctions movement against Israel is growing, even here in the United States, which used to be Israel’s strongest ally, but is fast becoming Israel’s only ally.

The lesson to be learned may be this:  While anti-Semetism is at the root of the B-D-S movement, Israel does itself no favor by continuing the unsustainable status quo.  And American Jews, likewise, may be doing the Jewish State and the Jewish community worldwide no favor by failing to encourage Israel to sit down at a negotiating table with the Palestineans.

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