One of Yitzhak Rabin’s primary demands in order to launch open talks with the Palestinian leadership in 1994 was that the PLO change its platform by modifying its Charter and removing the passages that deny a Jewish connection to the Land of Israel as well as the sections that call for Israel’s and Zionists’ destruction.
Eventually, after a lot of pushing, the Palestinians went into a closed door parliamentary session and claimed they had modified the Charter appropriately. Of course, nobody could prove or disprove their claims. In subsequent talks, the Palestinians wrote open letters claiming that the charter had been modified, but real evidence such as the minutes of that closed door sesssion have never been made public.
Of course, there are many skeptics who didn’t believe the Palestinians changed anything and were simply playing the game the way it needed to be played. So, for example, when the PNC took formal votes in 1996 and 1998 (in front of Clinton) that supposedly changed the Charter, it seemed too good to be true and many people remained on the sidelines.
These skeptics and many of us who wanted to believe the change had taken place were given additional reason to doubt when Arafat rejected Barak’s offer of a Palestinian state in 2000, then launched a war against Israel and eventually refused to change Palestinian positions that would destroy Israel when the Israeli government revisited their Camp David offer at Taba in 2001. Israel had offered much more to gain a permanent peace at Taba but the Palestinians did not budge on the core demands that would change Israel into Palestine. If somebody wants peace and resolution, they negotiate and the Palestinians did not intend to negotiate away the very details that would fall into accord with their supposed change in the Charter.
Then in 2001,
…the Palestinian leadership made it clear that its hostile intentions against Israel remained unchanged. Although the Palestinian National Council (PNC) has twice taken formal decisions to revise the Palestinian National Covenant (1996 and 1998) calling for Israel’s destruction, the PNC Chairman, Salim Za’anoun, stated on 3 February 2001, in the official Palestinian Authority newspaper, that the Palestinian Covenant remained unchanged and was still in force.
Okay, that was then, in 2001, when the war the Palestinians had launched had become bloody and painful to both sides. But now, once again, Israel is negotiating with the Palestinians under American auspices. Too bad, then, that we now we have the PA ambassador to Lebanon in what appears to be an open and semi-informal question and answer period with students, explicitly stating that the Palestinians are continuing to seek Israel’s destruction through its “Phases” plan which calls for the Palestinians to continue to gain in increments what they cannot gain in war until finally they have the advantage they need to take over Israel. Not news to anybody, but important to have documentation.
This is from MEMRI:
Following are excerpts from an interview with Abbas Zaki, Palestinian Authority representative in Lebanon, which aired on NBN TV on April 9, 2008:
Abbas Zaki: We believe wholeheartedly that the Right of Return is guaranteed by our will, by our weapons, and by our faith.
Interviewer: Do you still believe in weapons, not just in negotiations?
Abbas Zaki: The use of weapons alone will not bring results, and the use of politics without weapons will not bring results. We act on the basis of our extensive experience. We analyze our situation carefully. We know what climate leads to victory and what climate leads to suicide. We talk politics, but our principles are clear. It was our pioneering leader, Yasser Arafat, who persevered with this revolution, when empires collapsed. Our armed struggle has been going on for 43 years, and the political struggle, on all levels, has been going on for 50 years. We harvest U.N. resolutions, and we shame the world so that it doesn’t gang up on us, because the world is led by people who have given their brains a vacation â€“ the American administration and the neocons.
Young Palestinian: As I recall, the invasion of 1982 and the destruction of South Lebanon was not just in response to missile attacks, but in response to operations as well. Israel does not use only the missiles as a pretext. It uses any activity of the resistance as a pretext.
Abbas Zaki: The important thing is that in any operation, Israel will pay a price. We don’t want cases in which you don’t kill even a chicken, but Israel kills 20 of you. I salute any operation that makes Israel pay a heavy price.[…]
The P.L.O. is the sole legitimate representative [of the Palestinian people], and it has not changed its platform even one iota. In light of the weakness of the Arab nation and the lack of values, and in light of the American control over the world, the P.L.O. proceeds through phases, without changing its strategy. Let me tell you, when the ideology of Israel collapses, and we take, at least, Jerusalem, the Israeli ideology will collapse in its entirety, and we will begin to progress with our own ideology, Allah willing, and drive them out of all of Palestine.
The clip itself can be viewed here.
Ambassador Zaki looks handsome in his suit.