Palestine Liberation Organization/Talk

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Much of what is here has now been superseded by more recent discussion: Peace_treaty_with_Israel_is_a_temporary_measure


Members of the Israeli cabinet have called for assasinating Arafat; does it follow that official Israeli policy is to assasinate Arafat, or that most Israelis support assasinating Arafat? No. Then the fact that some PLO officials have called for certain things does not prove that that is official PLO policy or that most Palestinians support what they have said. -- SJK

But whenever it comes to Arab (and especially Palestinian) groups, you refuse to even admit the existence of mainstream Arab views; you still present the views of their minority as if they were a majority. Contrary to your baseless claims, Yassir Arafat and the other elected leaders of the Palestinian Authority (PA) CAN BE CONSIDERED REPRESENTATIVE of many Palestinians. The official pronouncements on PA newspapers, radio stations and TV stations, and editoritals in PA run newspapers CAN BE CONSIDERED REPRESENTATIVE of many Palestinians. I cannot imagine how anyone could disagree. RK


Removed from main entry on PLO: "According to Jewish law, any one person you can apply it to [or] any one person who willfully, consciously, intentionally hands over human bodies or human property or the human wealth of the Jewish people to an alien people is guilty of the sin for which the penalty is death" -- Rabbi Abraham Hecht, leader of the Rabbinical Alliance of America, on the assasination of Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin

This has been deleted. First, because this has nothing to do with the PLO. But also because it was incorreclty implied that Hecht was some kind of Jewish leader. Fact: Abraham Hecht is not recognized as a leader by any Jewish or Israeli body or organization. In fact, Hecht was publicly attacked and criticised in Jewish and Israeli newspapers all over the world for his hateful and dishonest statement. But this context seems to have been left out. RK

The source I was using said he was leader of the "Rabbinical Alliance of America", whatever that is. Obviously it is not a mainstream organization, but that is not to say it is not an organization at all. -- SJK

SJK writes :Also curious is your failure to include context on the statements of the PLO, your ignorance (or deliberate ignoring) of the complexities of Palestinian politics, your constant attempts to paint Palestinians in the worst possible light. -- Simon J Kissane

No, Simon. I am quoting their own mainstream point of view . RK


At the moment, all the points of view presented here are from the Palestinian point of view. No criticisms of the PLO are included in the any of the quotes/sources. This should not be implied as agreement with the PLO to destroy Israel. (Indeed, I disagree). Rather, it is meant to illustrate the beliefs and goals of the PLO, without comment. Readers can decided for themselves if they agree or disagree with its goals. A note of caution: Quotes from PLO members to non Arab, English-only newspapers will be of little value. What is more representative are what PLO members say in the Arabic speaking press, when speaking to each other and to other Arabs. RK

The fact that it are all palestinian quotes doesn't mean the article is written from a neutral point of view. Quoting is not objective per se, because selecting is part of it. Another point: you could call the PLO-members terrorists or freedom fighters, depending which side you are on. I guess 'rebels' would be the most neutral term. Tsja

RK: I deleted most of your quotes from Palestinian leaders. I don't deny that they said them; but their presence is obviously designed to give the impression that the Palestinians are lying, which while it may or may not be true is not NeutralPointOfView.

Huh? I assumed that the PLO leaders were telling the absolute truth. Every leader of the PLO has stated the goal is still to destory the State of Israel, and that all the peace traties are only temporary positions. Why did you delete every single statement made by the PLO? Are you accusing all PLO members of lying about their own beliefs and intentions? If so, who do you believe speaks for the PLO, if not its own leaders? I am willing to entertain alternate points of view, if you have any to offer. But your current stance is to delete anything that makes the PLO look anything less than angelic. An encyclopaedia should state a group's actual, on-the-ground point of view, even if you and I personally find it incorrect, or worse. RK

I mentioned however that PLO members have said some things that contradict their statements in support of the peace process.

But what did they say? You deleted the quotes and references. RK

I think it needs to be pointed out that there is a range of opinion in the PLO, and you can't take what some members have said as representative of the whole organization.

I agree entirely, but one must take as representative what the MAJORITY of people in the movement say and preach. We are obligated to take as representative what almost all the leaders of the PLO have consistently stated for the last 20 years. Your version of the entry takes the PLO minority point of view, and represents it as the majority, and that is why I disagree with you. RK
I say we should take as representative what the leaders of the organization say, especially Yasser Arafat. If you want to find out the opinion of US government on an issue, you don't take a poll of US government officials, you ask George Bush. In the same way, if we want to know the PLO's opinion on an issue, we should ask Yasser Arafat. -- Simon J Kissane

And as to saying one thing to the West and another thing to fellow Arabs, I don't deny Palestinians do that. You would argue that proves their statements to the West are lies, but isn't it equally possible that their statements to fellow Arabs are lies?

They lie in their own newspapers, they lie in their own mosuqes, they lie in the own PNC board meetintgs, and they lie when they allow Hamas and Hezbollah terrorists to be released from prison to murder Jews? But they are telling the truth when they speak to English newspaper reporters? RK
Like all politicians, Palestinian leaders tell their audiences what they want to hear. --Simon J Kissane

The PLO is threatened by Hamas, Islamic Jihad, etc., and sometimes they have to say extremist things to keep out the extremists. I think it is grossly unfair to simply quote their comments without providing any sort of explanation for them. -- Simon J Kissane

PLO members have repeatedly stated that not only are they NOT threatened by Hamas, but that Hamas is their ally. Many Palestinain Authority policemen are also members of these groups. RK
The PLO is composed of secular Palestinian nationalists; Hamas is composed of Islamists. They do cooperate when they need to, but they have radically different ideas of what they want Palestine to be -- the PLO wants it to be a largely secular state, like Egypt or Syria or Turkey; Hamas wants it to look more like Iran or Afghanistan. The PLO leadership is threatened by Hamas. Hamas has a lot more popular support than the PLO, so the PLO tries to avoid publicly opposing them. -- Simon J Kissane

Your changes were extremely non-neutral. You deleted facts (e.g. 15 articles out of 33) and inserted controversial opinions without pointing them out as such (the PLO accepted the existence of Israel and does not seek the whole of Palestine). I'm sorry, but it strains credulity to emphasize, on the one hand, that accurate quotes from PLO chairman and senior officials do not necessarily reflect the position of PLO and then accept some of such quotes (for they are almost the only source in this case) as definite evidence that the PLO renounced the exreme provisions of its charter, without even pointing out that this claim is controversial. This is not NPOV. --AV


I have restored Simon's notes to the PLO statements. Still, I think that an encyclopedia should be a work of presentation and interpretation, not of extensive quotation. --Tsja


I object to nearly all the quotes. An encyclopaedia is not a propaganda tool. The thought that the quotes are trying to transmit should be expressed in a single paragraph according to the NPOV, as stating that Israelis claim that the PLO is deceitful based on many contadictory statements. --AV

Again, the way these quotes are selected and presented violates the Neutral Point of View policy of Wikipedia, even though the quotes themselves might be genuine and correct. Wikipaedia is not a propaganda tool, however hard you try to make it into one. You should be ashamed, and your bullying and name-calling will not stand. Noone is intentionally engaging in historical revisionism here, nor is anyone trying to hide any truth. -- AV, hailing from Jerusalem.


RK: So I suppose you wouldn't mind if I added a bunch of quotes from Rabbi Meir Kahane? If we are going to have negative quotes from Palestinians, we better have negative quotes from the Israelis as well? There are extremists on both sides, and if you are going to quote one side's extremists you better quote the other side's extremists as well. -- Simon J Kissane


Yes, I would mind if someone deliberately and falsely claimed that Meir Kahane's views were agreed with by the leadership of the current Israeli government, or by all or any of the previous Israeli governments, or by the majority of the Israeli public. Why would I mind? Because it would be a damned lie. The information I gave, on the other hand, was about the OFFICIAL views of the PLO, by all the major members of this organization. You, on the other hand, are continuing to engage in blatant historical revisionism. you seem to be personally embarassed by thge PLO's views, and instead of reporting them, you are attempting to rewrite history to cover them up. What is next? Making Al Qaeda out to be pro-peace process, in the name of "neutrality"? RK

Someone writes - These are the official views of the PLO: "the PLO recognizes the right of the State of Israel to exist in peace and security", "those articles of the Palestinian Covenant which deny Israel's right to exist ... are now inappropriate and no longer valid". (Letter of Arafat, 9 September 1993).

No, no! This is exactly the kind of thing I am talking about. Yassir Arafat and the PLO council NEVER said that the PLO National Convenant was not valid! They claimed that it was "caduc", a french word meaning "aging", or "not current". It was only American newspapers that falsely claimed that this word meant "invalid". RK

The official position of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Israel is presented here: [1] Quoting: "In his letter of September 9, 1993 to Prime Minister Rabin, Yasser Arafat stated that those articles which deny Israel's right to exist or are inconsistent with the PLO's new commitments to Israel following their mutual recognition, are no longer valid." --AV

Since then, whenever reporters asked PLO officials about this supposed invalidation of the PLO National Convenant, Arafat has explicitly said that his statement was mistranslated. The PLO has NEVER invalidated or changed its covenant. It has merely promised that at some time in the future, someone would modify some part of it. Yet, as we have seen, this never actually occured. Since then, PLO officials have continued to publish the OLD charter, and continue to view it as valid. The actual, official PLO position paper on the Covenant is stated in the document written by the "Research and Thought Department" of Fatah, Yasir Arafat's faction of the PLO.

The document said that changing the Covenant would have been "suicide for the PLO". It continued: "The text of the Palestinian National Covenant remains as it was and no changes whatsoever were made to it. This has caused it to be frozen, not annulled. The drafting of the new National Covenant will take into account the extent of Israeli fulfillment of its previous and coming obligations...evil and corrupt acts are expected from the Israeli side...The fact that the PNC did not hold a special session to make changes and amendments in the text of the National Covenant at this stage...was done to defend the new Covenant from being influenced by the current Israeli dictatorship."

The January 1997 Hebron accord included a "Note for the Record," drafted by the U.S. at the request of Israel and the PLO, and signed by all three parties. Among other obligations, the Note requires the PLO to "complete the process of revising the Palestinian National Charter." The Note also specifies that this, and the other PLO obligations listed in the Hebron accord, must be fulfilled "immediately."

Nevertheless, the PLO took no such action. An Israeli government report in July 1997 found: ?The Palestinians have not taken any steps toward completing the amendment process. To date, no new version of the Covenant has yet been submitted to the Palestinian National Council.? (?Special Report: PA Has Failed to Fulfill Its Commitments Under the Hebron Accord,? Israel Government Press Office, July 20, 1997)

Faisal Hamdi Husseini, head of the legal committee appointed by the PNC, told the IMRA news agency on January 22, 1998: ?There has been a decision to change the Covenant. The change has not yet been carried out.? During a visit to the White House that same week, Arafat presented President Bill Clinton with a letter listing those sections of the Covenant which he claimed had already been changed. Arafat promised that the letter would be ratified at the next meeting of the PLO?s Executive Committee, although not by the PNC, even though the PNC is the only body legally empowered to alter the Covenant. However, at the PLO?s next Executive Committee meeting on January 31, 1998, Arafat did not bring up the matter for a vote. (Reuters, January 31, 1998)

Conclusion from all this? An Encyclopaedia entry has to be based on actual facts, and not on wishful thinking that rewrites history. RK

I wrote that. My source was not American newspapers, it was an article in the European Journal of International Law. According to the Dictionnaire Universel Francophone En Ligne, caduc means "Qui est tombé en désuétude, qui n'a plus cours", which translates roughly as "which fell into disuse, which has no more movement" (if the translation is wrong, pardon my bad french) -- 'caduc' seems to imply not merely old, but no longer of any relevance, not going anywhere, like a spent provision, or in other words "has no application in today's conditions". While the popular translation may not match the French exactly (and no translation can ever be perfect), it seems a good approximation to his meaning. Arafat certaintly meant more than just "old".
The quotations from the Fatah document you provide do not say that the PLO shouldn't change its covenant ever, just that it shouldn't do so until the Israelis fulfill their obligations better. Well, Israel has promised to do a lot of things but it hasn't on the grounds that the PLO should fulfill its obligations better first. So the PLO on this is no different from Israel. -- Simon J Kissane

Isn't this a reversal of your position? You had previously argued that the PLO did effectively make the changes required by the Oslo treaties, but now you admit that they never have done this, and are still refusing to do so. Here you argue that the PLO has what they believe to be grounds for refusing to change their current covenant, which calls for the total destruction of Israel. Don't you see how this is an entirely new position on your part? Why not just say this? Point out that the PLO still published the old covenant, and still teaches it in their schools and universities, yet does so because of what you just wrote above?


SJK: Whether or not RK would mind, it would be great if you added quotes from Rabbi Meir Kahane. The point is that RK doesn't have to, but someone should. NPOV is being used as a club for censorship. --TheCunctator

If we follow this policy, all controversial articles will turn into a shout-match between extremist pronouncements from both sides. Not a good solution IMHO. The statement of censhorship is a red herring - just because something isn't included in an encyclopaedia, doesn't mean it's being censored. --AV

Its not censorship that is the problem, it is context. A few people here are taking the unofficial views of a handful of Palestinian leace activists, and are trying to pretend that these are the mainstream and official views of the PLO, the PA, and the majority of the Palestinian people. These bizarre claims are so far from reality that it takes one breath away. On the other hand, the mainstream views stated by almost all leaders are ignored. RK

I have no problem with someone pointing out Rabbi Kahane's failed program; Kahane tried to convince the Israeli people that peace with any Arab is impossible, and therefore that all Arabs should be drive out of the West Bank, Gaza and Israel. The Israeli response was to reject him, label him a terrorist, and kick him out of their political structure. Further, the vast majority of the Israeli public overwhelmingly rejected him and his party; many in fact think of him as an idiot. Again, CONTEXT. On the other hand, I would be bothered by someone who deliberately lied, and falsely claimed that his views were representative of the Israeli government and a substantial part of the public. RK


I bet a case of beer that no wikipedia can satisfactorily explain why the PLO is ethnic nationalist (but not terrorist) while the JDL is terrorist but not ethnic nationalist.