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.

Yet 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 Evening Bulletin 2007
This was printed in the Philadelphia Bulletin on July 17th, 2007