The Fatah organization, the mainstream body of the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO), was launched in 1964 by the Arab League with one purpose in mind: To foment rebellion of Palestinian Arabs against the state of Israel.

After Palestinian Arabs living in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and Gaza came under Israeli rule after the 1967 war, PLO incitement of Palestinian Arabs against Israel began to take shape. In 1980, the PLO was officially declared by Israel to be an illegal terrorist organization.

But Israel was open to a change in that definition, in the interest of peace with the Palestinian Arab people.

In 1993, Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and Foreign Minister Shimon Peres signed the Declaration of Principles (DOP) between Israel and the PLO together with Yasser Arafat and Mahmoud Abbas of the PLO.

The DOP stipulated mutual recognition between Israel and the PLO and required the PLO to cease and desist from terrorism and for the PLO to nullify its call for Israel’s destruction.

The Israeli Knesset ratified the DOP a week later. However, what received little attention was the fact that the PLO did not ratify the DOP due to lack of a quorum.

Pinchas Inbari, the only Israeli correspondent covering the PLO Headquarters in Tunisia at the time, broke the story of the PLO non-ratification of the DOP However, the rest of the Israeli media did not report that the PLO never did ratify the accord, while the Israeli government acted as if they had done so.

Yet, since the PLO did not ratify the DOP, it and Fatah were not stricken from the Israeli law as a terrorist entity.

The other concrete commitment made by the PLO was that it would officially cancel the PLO Covenant, which called for Israel’s destruction. On two occasions, the Palestinian National Council (PNC) gathered to discuss the PLO Covenant; on neither occasion did it cancel the covenant. However, the government of Israel has consistently acted as if the PLO ratified the DOP and cancelled the covenant.

Over the coming week, the PNC once again convenes. This reporter asked Israeli officials if they will demand that the PNC finally ratify the DOP and cancel the covenant. The Israeli spokespeople would not answer.

PLO spokespeople, however, made it clear that the PLO is not being asked by Israel to ratify the DOP or cancel the PLO covenant.

The PLO therefore remains a terrorist entity. That means that the decision of the government of Israel to arm Fatah technically makes the Israeli government an official sponsor of a terrorist entity.

While the Bush administration concurs with Israeli support of the Fatah, the March 2002 U.S. designation that defines the Fatah al-Aksa Martyrs Brigade as a terrorist organization has not changed.

Under U.S. law, any government that aids and abets an organization defined as a terrorist entity will forfeit aid and assistance. In other words, the Israeli government, in a move to placate the U.S. administration, may undermine its own support base with lawmakers of the U.S. Congress.

David Bedein can be reached at His Web site is

©The Bulletin 2007


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David Bedein
David Bedein is an MSW community organizer and an investigative journalist.   In 1987, Bedein established the Israel Resource News Agency at Beit Agron to accompany foreign journalists in their coverage of Israel, to balance the media lobbies established by the PLO and their allies.   Mr. Bedein has reported for news outlets such as CNN Radio, Makor Rishon, Philadelphia Inquirer, Los Angeles Times, BBC and The Jerusalem Post, For four years, Mr. Bedein acted as the Middle East correspondent for The Philadelphia Bulletin, writing 1,062 articles until the newspaper ceased operation in 2010. Bedein has covered breaking Middle East negotiations in Oslo, Ottawa, Shepherdstown, The Wye Plantation, Annapolis, Geneva, Nicosia, Washington, D.C., London, Bonn, and Vienna. Bedein has overseen investigative studies of the Palestinian Authority, the Expulsion Process from Gush Katif and Samaria, The Peres Center for Peace, Peace Now, The International Center for Economic Cooperation of Yossi Beilin, the ISM, Adalah, and the New Israel Fund.   Since 2005, Bedein has also served as Director of the Center for Near East Policy Research.   A focus of the center's investigations is The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). In that context, Bedein authored Roadblock to Peace: How the UN Perpetuates the Arab-Israeli Conflict - UNRWA Policies Reconsidered, which caps Bedein's 28 years of investigations of UNRWA. The Center for Near East Policy Research has been instrumental in reaching elected officials, decision makers and journalists, commissioning studies, reports, news stories and films. In 2009, the center began decided to produce short movies, in addition to monographs, to film every aspect of UNRWA education in a clear and cogent fashion.   The center has so far produced seven short documentary pieces n UNRWA which have received international acclaim and recognition, showing how which UNRWA promotes anti-Semitism and incitement to violence in their education'   In sum, Bedein has pioneered The UNRWA Reform Initiative, a strategy which calls for donor nations to insist on reasonable reforms of UNRWA. Bedein and his team of experts provide timely briefings to members to legislative bodies world wide, bringing the results of his investigations to donor nations, while demanding reforms based on transparency, refugee resettlement and the demand that terrorists be removed from the UNRWA schools and UNRWA payroll.   Bedein's work can be found at: and A new site,, will be launched very soon.