Revising the Charter and Security Issues

Part II, Section C, Paragraph 2, of the Wye River Memorandum, requires the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization and the Palestinian Central Council to reaffirm the January 22, 1998 letter from PLO Chairman Yasir Arafat to President Clinton concerning the nullification of the Palestinian National Charter provisions that are inconsistent with the letters exchanged between the PLO and the Government of Israel on 9/10 September 1993. The Memorandum further states that there will be a meeting, addressed by President Clinton, of the PNC, as well as the members of the Central Council, the Council, and the Palestinian Heads of Ministries to reaffirm their support for the peace process and the aforementioned decisions of the Executive Committee and the Central Council.

The Wye River Memorandum also requires Israeli and Palestinian cooperation in arresting terrorists and for the Palestinians to provide the Israelis with a list of present and former Palestinian police men, so that it can be determined if the size of the Palestinian police force is within the limits prescribed by the Oslo Accords.

The following are excerpts from the Palestinian media:

The Palestinian National Charter:

In a speech to the Palestinian Legislative Council [PLC] plenum. Chief Negotiator Saib ‘Areikat, said: “…the joint session of the PLO-Executive Committee, Palestinian National Council [PNC], Central Council and the Palestinian Legislative Council is merely for the purpose of listening to President Clinton’s speech. There will be no voting. It is [said] clearly in the Wye memorandum, and we have an American letter on that. Anything else that is said on that matter is Netanyahu’s business. We have nothing to do with it. The Palestinian side will not review the issue of the Palestinian National Charter yet again.

“We have two letters from the US that will be presented at the [right] time. One of the two deals with the National Charter; while the other deals with six points that relate in part to the implementation of the agreement, to mutual ties between the two peoples and to the bilateral committees.” ‘Areikat declined to elaborate on these letters.1

In an interview with a French news agency ‘Areikat said, “We have officially received two collateral letters from the American administration. Both are signed by Secretary of State Albright, including an American guarantee on the seven points in the agreement, which pertain to unilateral actions, security, the Palestinian National Charter, and to a timetable for implementation.”

Commenting on the issue of unilateral actions, ‘Areikat stressed that the American administration had made a commitment to halt any unilateral action that violated the status quo on the ground and might affect the final status negotiations. ‘Areikat said that the two letters confirmed that the Wye Security Memorandum was the basis upon which the security commitments of both sides would be established, and that the American administration was committed to its role as supervisor of the implementation by both sides.

In addition, the letters emphasized that the PNC is the body that should ratify the letter President Arafat sent to President Clinton earlier this year. In the letter to Clinton, Arafat mentioned the National Charter clauses that were amended in mid 1996. ‘Areikat said that the two letters from the United States stressed President Clinton’s confirmation to attend a large meeting of both PNC members and members of other Palestinian organs in support of the peace process and mutual ties between the two peoples – Americans and Palestinian.2

General-Secretary of the Presidium Taib ‘Abd Al-Rahim said that it had been agreed [with the Israelis] that the Palestinian Central Council, which is an intermediary between the PLO Executive Committee and the Palestinian National Council [PNC], was the body authorized to ratify the letter Arafat had given to President Clinton in reference to Palestinian National Charter clauses that had already been amended in the last plenum of the PNC. ‘Abd Al-Rahim added that a meeting comprising PNC members, Palestinian Legislative Council [PLC] members, Cabinet Ministers and national figures would be held. “There, Clinton will address them in support of the peace process. [The meeting] will not end with a vote, but with a round of applause. This is because the meeting is meant for applauding and stating that we support the letter Arafat had sent. We will say that the PNC had already dropped from the charter all the clauses that were in violation of the [Oslo] Accords.”3

Arresting Wanted Terrorists

Addressing the PLC plenum, Saib ‘Areikat, the Palestinian chief negotiator, said that the agreement compelled the Israeli side to take the necessary steps to prevent terrorism and crimes against the Palestinian people. He disclosed that the Palestinians have sent the Israeli government a list of Israeli terrorists, toward whom it takes a ‘revolving-door’ policy, and demanded that they be arrested.

‘Areikat said, “Netanyahu must realize that reciprocity is the foundation. There will be no foundation for security collaboration, if the Israeli Premier will continue on sparing terrorists, while ignoring the fact that seventy five percent of all Israelis support the agreement…”4

Reducing Palestinian Police Force

In an interview in the daily Al-Quds, Commander of the Palestinian Police Ghazi Jebali, said that the Israeli demands to reduce the number of Palestinian Police personnel posed “no problem [for him]. This can be overcome through reorganization of personnel; so that those stationed some place could be of service somewhere else. This problem can be overcome through a policy of transfers.”5

1 Ibid
2 Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, November 4, 1998.
3 Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, November 3, 1998.
4 Al-Ayyam, November 4, 1998.
5 Al-Quds, November 4, 1998.