Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

6 Teves 5763 - December 11, 2002 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly









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Shema Yisrael Torah Network











US Report Questions PA's Recognition of Israel
by Yated Ne'eman Staff

The latest semiannual State Department report on the Palestinian Authority and Palestinian Liberation Organization explicitly states -- for the first time -- that the PA's failure to rein in terror raises questions about the Palestinians' recognition of the State of Israel's right to exist.

Based on this report, President George W. Bush determined last week that the PA is not meeting its commitment to fight terror.

The new finding is extremely important since the basis for the willingness of the US to deal with the PLO. The United States changed its policy toward the PLO in 1988. In 1975, one year after the Arab League stated that the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) was the sole representative of the Palestinian people, Secretary of State Henry Kissinger informed Israel that the United States would not recognize or negotiate with the PLO unless and until the PLO recognized Israel and accepted U.N. Resolutions 242 and 338. Congress codified the pledge into law (Section 535, P.L. 98-473, October 12, 1984), and added that the PLO also must renounce terrorism.

The US began contacts with the PLO and the PA when these conditions were met. If they are no longer met, it could undermine the entire basis for all official contact between the US and the Palestinian institutions. Of course, this would be determined over a long time.

The State Department report, compiled every six months under a congressional mandate (the PLO Commitments Compliance Act of 1989 - PLOCCA), reviews the activities of the PA and PLO to judge whether they are meeting the commitments undertaken in the Oslo Accords, including recognition of Israel's right to exist, acceptance of UN resolutions 242 and 338, a commitment to resolve conflict with Israel through negotiations and without violence, and a renunciation of terror.

"The PA has not taken sufficient steps to prevent violence by PA personnel," the report states, adding that "available evidence is that elements with varying degree of affiliation with the PLO and PA, specifically the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, Tanzim and members of PA security forces, were frequently involved in acts of violence against Israelis."

The report says that there is no unequivocal evidence that the PA leadership gave the orders to carry out terror attacks, but notes that "there is strong evidence that some members of the PA security forces were allowed to continue serving even though their participation in terrorist incidents was well known. "Moreover, some senior PLO and PA leaders did little to prevent -- and in some cases encouraged -- acts of violence and an atmosphere of incitement to violence in the Palestinian media and through the public statements of Palestinian officials," the report adds.

It is clear, the report concludes, that "the PA and PLO senior leadership did not consistently make clear that violence was undermining Palestinian interests or that it should be stopped."

According to the State Department's assessment, it would be possible to impose sanctions against the PA for failing to live up to its commitments. But, wary of the implications this step might have on American interests in the Mideast, the State Department recommended -- and the president agreed -- to refrain from imposing sanctions at this time.

"Downgrading or closing the PLO office would make it more difficult for us to continue to stay in contact with and support Palestinian reformers who share those goals," the report notes.

In a clear reference to the anticipated American-led war against Iraq, the report adds: "Furthermore, downgrading or closing the PLO office at this critical time would also complicate our relations throughout the region."


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