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     FEBRUARY 1998      


In the Mideast,

Words Matter

Herbert Zweibon

The Clinton administration's high-pressure campaign to have Yasser Arafat invited to the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum demonstrates, once again, that the administration has lost its moral compass. The State Department Arabists who conceived this stunt have no idea what the Holocaust means to the Jewish people. The Holocaust is not some political weapon, to be employed whenever Dennis Ross or Aaron Miller decide that Arafat needs his image polished. The memory of Hitler's six million Jewish victims is sacred, and a visit by Arafat who remains committed to "finishing Hitler's job," albeit in stages would have violated their memory.

In the Middle East, memories mean something. So do symbols such as the PLO's map of "Palestine" encompassing all of Israel and documents such as the PLO's 'destroy Israel' Covenant and words, such as Arafat's "jihad" speeches. The Arab-Israeli conflict is not some psychological misunderstanding that can be resolved through a cheap public relations trick. It is a century-old struggle motivated by the desire of the Jewish people to rebuild their ancient homeland, and the desire of the Arabs motivated by Islam and Arab nationalism to destroy the Jewish homeland. The continuing refusal of the PLO to change its Covenant dramatically illustrates this unchanged Arab goal.

In a recent letter to President Clinton, Arafat claimed that the Covenant has already been changed. But Clause #33 of the Covenant states that the Covenant can be changed only by a vote of two-thirds of the total membership of the PLO's Palestine National Council. The Council has not yet voted any such changes, despite Arafat's promise to do so in the 1993 Oslo accords. In April 1996, Arafat convened the PLO's National Council to consider the Covenantbut instead of changing it, the Council referred it to a legal committee for further consideration. That committee has never met. Consequently, the Hebron accord that Israel and the PLO signed in January 1997 required the PLO to "complete the process of revising" the Covenant. However, the PLO has still taken no action in that regard.

The PLO National Council must delete 27 of the
Covenant's 33 clauses:

* Clause #s 1 and 2, which declare that "Palestine" is "the homeland of the Palestinian Arab people," excluding any Jewish claim to any of it, and define the boundaries of "Palestine" and thereby reiterates the exclusive Arab claim to it.

* Clause #3, which states that "the Palestinian people" alone "possess the legal right" to Palestine, again excluding any Jewish claim.

* Clause #4, which refers to Israel as "the Zionist occupation," clearly indicating it has no right to exist.

* Clause #6, which asserts that the only Jews who can live in Palestine are those who were there "until the beginning of the Zionist invasion," which the PLO dates to 1917.

* Clause #s 7, 8, 9, and 10, which call for "armed struggle" and "commando action" against Israel.

* Clause #s15 and 19, which call for "the elimination of Zionism in Palestine" and say that "the establishment of the State of Israel is entirely illegal, regardless of the passage of time."

* Clause #20, which brands the Balfour Declaration (the British promise to help create a Jewish national home) "null and void" and denies that Jews have any "historical or religious ties" with Palestine.

* Clause #s 22 and 23, which defines Zionism as "racist," "fanatic," "fascist," and "imperialist,"and urge all countries to "outlaw" Zionism.

* In addition, Clause #s 11, 12, 13, 14, 16, 17,

(Continued on p.11)


The Smithsonian Saga ...3

You Might Just Be a Jewish Liberal ...5

May 4th, 2003 ...6

What Peace Process? ...7

Quiz Time ...8

Blood and Dreams ...10

February 1998               - 1 -               Outpost


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