In a bit of fractured history, Saeb Erakat writes in the National (h/t Martin Kramer):
On November 15, 1988, the Palestine Liberation Organisation declared statehood by passing the Palestinian Declaration of Independence while exiled in Algiers. That declaration constituted the Palestinian people’s historic compromise for peace as they limited their national aspiration towards the establishment of the Palestinian state over 22 per cent of historic Palestine, thus tacitly recognising Israel over the remaining 78 per cent.
Disregarding our historic compromise, Israel has instead strengthened its occupation through an illegal settlement enterprise. Throughout a negotiations process lasting over 19 years, the Israeli settler population has nearly doubled, from 236,000 in 1993 to over half a million today.
Congress actually tracked the PLO’s activities in light of this historic compromise, what did Congress find?
(1) United States policy regarding contacts with the Palestine Liberation Organization (including its Executive Committee, the Palestine National Council, and any constituent groups related thereto, (hereinafter referred to as the `PLO’)) set forth in the Memorandum of Agreement between the United States and Israel, dated September 1, 1975, stated that the United States `will not recognize or negotiate with the Palestine Liberation Organization so long has the PLO does not recognize Israel’s right to exist and does not accept United Nations Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338′;
(2) section 1302 of the International Security and Development Cooperation Act of 1985 (22 U.S.C. 2151 note; Public Law 99-83), effective October 1, 1985, stated that `no officer or employee of the United States Government and no agent or other individual acting on behalf of the United States Government shall negotiate with the Palestine Liberation organization or any representatives thereof (except in emergency or humanitarian situations) unless and until the Palestine Liberation organization recognizes Israel’s right to exist, accepts United Nations Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338 and renounces the use of terrorism';
(3) the Department of State statement of November 26, 1988, found that `the United States Government has convincing evidence that PLO elements have engaged in terrorism against Americans and others’ and that `Mr. [Yasser] Arafat, Chairman of the PLO, knows of, condones, and lends support to such acts; he therefore is an accessory to such terrorism';
(4) Secretary of State Shultz declared on December 14, 1988, that `the [PLO] today issued a statement in which it accepted United Nations Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338, recognized Israel’s right to exist in peace and security, and renounced terrorism. As a result, the United States is prepaed for a substantive dialogue with PLO representatives';
(5) President Ronald Reagan, subsequent to the decision to open an United States-PLO dialogue, stated that the PLO `must demonstrate that its renunciation of terrorism is pervasive and permanent’ and if the PLO reneges on its commitments, the United States `will certainly break off communications';
(6) since Yasser Arafat’s statements in Geneva, there have been several attempted incursions into Israel by PLO member groups, that Arafat has not renounced any of these potential terrorist incidents, that he has threatened `ten bullets in the chest’ to any of his own people who seek peace and coexistence with Israel, and that his principal deputy, Abu Iyad, as well as other senior Al-Fatah figures, have been quoted as saying that the PLO recognition of Israel and renunciation of terrorism is merely tactical and that a Palestinian state is but the first step in the `liberation of Palestine'; and
(7) such actions and statements give both the United States and Israel reason to question the PLO’s ultimate intentions.
It seems that peace in the Middle East has always involved a component of looking the other way and denying the PLO’s involvement in terror. The “historic compromise” that Erakat boasts about was nothing more than window dressing to disguise the fact that the PLO had not really changed.
Crossposted on Soccer Dad.