“Arafat is a man who never comes to a bridge which he can’t double cross” was a favorite late King Hussein’s expression.
Israel and the US were beguiled by Arafat into Israel signing the Oslo agreement with his September 1993 letter to PM Rabin and the Wye River Agreement with his Jan. 1998 letter to President Clinton.
Arafat’s Sept. 1993 letter was laden with lies which PM Rabin accepted without realizing that every magnificent commitment in that letter was “subject to” approval by the Palestinian National Council (PNC).
Article 33 of the amended 1968 Palestinian Charter (Covenant) specifically stated that no changes in the charter could be made unless 2/3 of the members of the PNC voted for a change.
More than 2 ½ years after Arafat’s Sept.
1993 letter to PM Rabin, the PNC did meet in April 1996 and voted for a two clause resolution which any reasonably objective person would know never changed one word of the charter.
The Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Oct. 1996 issued a memo which stated, “. . . By leaving the Covenant (the Charter) intact, the PLO sends a clear message that it has not renounced violence nor accepted Israel’s right to exist. . . .”
No document pertaining to the Charter ever surfaced from Oct. 1996 until the Jan. 1998 Arafat letter to President Clinton, in which Arafat once again, was adhering to King Hussein’s assessment of him. He had the audacity to state that the April 1996 PNC vote resulted in annulments of specifically enumerated charter clauses. Arafat’s allegations were outright lies with not one document to sustain his assertions.
Several votes by Palestinian leaders affirming Arafat’s letter to President Clinton could not convert Arafat’s lies into facts.
President Clinton on Dec. 14, 1998 delivered a masterful speech accepting the votes of Palestinian leaders’ confirmations in which he stated “I thank you for your rejection fully, finally, and forever of the passages in the Palestinian Charter calling for the destruction of Israel, for they were the ideological underpinnings of a struggle renounced at Oslo.
By revoking them once and for all, you have sent, I say again, a powerful message not to the Government but to the people of Israel. You will touch people on the street there. You will reach their hearts there.”
It will always remain a mystery how two countries could be so blatantly fooled by a man whom everyone knew was a serial liar.
William K. Langfan
The writer is a pro Israel activist and lawyer living in Florida.