Op-Ed: It's Never Too Late: Letter to Bill Clinton
William K. LangfanThe writer is a pro Israel activist and lawyer living in Florida.
The Honorable William J. Clinton, New York, N.Y.
RE: Your December 14, 1998 Speech to the Leaders of the Palestinians
You have recently written an article which was published in the Washington Post in which you stated that you now consider unconstitutional the Defense of Marriage law outlawing recognition of gay marriage which you signed, as President. I consider it extremely admirable for you to admit that you made a mistake on such an important issue.
I respectfully request that you reconsider the following paragraph from your remarkable speech which you delivered to the Palestinian leaders on December 14, 1998:
“. . . I thank you for your rejection fully, finally, and forever of the passages in the Palestinian Charter calling for the destruction of Israel, for they were the ideological underpinnings of a struggle renounced at Oslo. By revoking them once and for all, you have sent, I say again, a powerful message not to the Government but to the people of Israel. You will touch people on the street there. You will reach their hearts there. . .”
The Palestinian leaders, prior to your speech, had reaffirmed the content of Arafat’s January 13, 1998 letter to you. Arafat in this letter listed several enumerated clauses from their all-important Palestinian Charter (Covenant) which he alleged were annulled by the Palestinian National Council (PNC) on Aril 24, 1996. These Arafat allegations were untrue which I shall prove to you below. If these Arafat allegations were not true, all of the December 1998 Palestinian reaffirmations of Arafat’s letter to you are meaningless. A reaffirmation of a non-existing fact can not convert the non-occurrence into something that took place.
I make the following offer: I hereby agree to donate $100,000 to your William J. Clinton Foundation plus $25,000 each to Paraplegic American Vets, Blinded American Vets, Paraplegic Israeli Vets, and Blinded Israeli Vets if someone comes forward with a valid Charter dated prior to January 13, 1998, which omits the allegedly annulled Charter clauses and includes the newly partially annulled clauses, enumerated in Arafat’s January letter to you.
I hereby agree to donate $100,000 to your William J. Clinton Foundation plus $25,000 each to Paraplegic American Vets, Blinded American Vets, Paraplegic Israeli Vets, and Blinded Israeli Vets if someone comes forward with a valid PLO Charter dated prior to January 13, 1998, which omits the allegedly annulled Charter clauses [about destroying Israel]
The Palestinian daisy chain of chicanery to bamboozle you, Prime Minister Netanyahu and the world that they changed their Charter starts with Arafat’s September 9, 1993 letter to Prime Minister Rabin. Arafat stated in this letter “. . . The PLO affirms that those articles of the Palestinian Covenant (Charter) which deny Israel’s right to exist and the provisions of the covenant which are inconsistent with the commitments of this letter are now inoperative and no longer valid. Consequently, the PLO undertakes to submit to the (PNC) Palestinian National Council (Congress) for formal approval changes in regard to the Palestinian Covenant.”
Clause 33 of the 1968 Amended 1964 Charter states “This charter shall not be amended save by [votes of] a majority of two-thirds of the total membership of the National Congress (Council) of the Palestinian Liberation Organization [taken at] a special session convened for that purpose.” Therefore, every Arafat commitment which contravened the Charter was subject to the approval of the PNC. Each, if not all of Arafat’s commitments in his letter to Prime Minister Rabin were violative of Charter articles. Simply stated, unless the PNC voted to approve Arafat’s commitments pursuant to Article 33, Arafat’s commitments were worthless.
More than two and one half years after Arafat’s Sept. 1993 letter to Prime Minister Rabin, the PNC met on April 24, 1996. Before the members voted for a two clause resolution, PNC Chairman Zanoun delivered a speech in which he declared that we had to do something (he was indirectly referring to Clause XXXI, Paragraph 9 of Oslo II which required the modification of the Charter clauses within two months of the inauguration of Oslo II.) Oslo II became effective on March 7, 1996 which meant that changes in the Charter had to take place before May 7, 1996. Zanoun further stated that it would be less damaging if we prepared a new Charter rather than amending the old charter which gives us an extension of six months until the Central Council meets. It is very obvious that Zanoun was pleading with the PNC members to vote for the resolution because in reality it was a delaying tactic.
The two clause resolution for which the members of the PNC voted clearly did not change the Palestinian Charter. Clause one definitely states that the PNC intends to amend the Charter by cancelling articles which are contrary to the September exchange of letters between Arafat and Rabin. However, no specific Charter clauses were mentioned. Clause two assigns to a legal committee the task of redrafting the Charter and presenting it to the PCC (Palestinian Central Council) at a future time. No reading of those two clauses combined with the Zanoun speech and the fact that there is no evidence that a legal committee ever redrafted a new Charter and no evidence that anything was ever presented to the PCC, could possibly enable any reasonably objective person to conclude that any specific change in the Charter happened when the PNC voted to approve the resolution.
The Israeli Foreign Ministry issued a communique in October 1993 in response to the PNC April 1996 resolution and vote. It referred to Clause XXXI of Oslo II requiring changes in the Charter within two months from the inauguration of the agreement. The communique then stated that no changes were made in the PNC April 1996 resolution and vote. There is no evidence that anything pertaining to the Charter ever occurred after the October 1993 Israel Foreign Ministry Communique until Arafat sent his January 13, 1998 letter to you.
Arafat alleged in this letter that specifically enumerated clauses of the Charter were annulled and that other specifically enumerated clauses were partially annulled by the PNC April 1996 vote. These allegations were bold face lies. The evidence above unequivocally proves that nothing specific happened in that PNC April 1996 vote and nothing pertaining to the Charter happened since that vote. The Wye River Memorandum and the subsequent Palestinian Leaders December 1998 votes and reaffirmations of Arafat’s letter to you could not convert a lie into the truth. If the Palestinian leadership really wanted to amend the Charter, they had two years and seven months from the date of Arafat’s letter to Prime Minister Rabin to list the annulled clauses and redraft the Charter.
Every Palestinian leadership step proved conclusively that they never intended to change one word of their Charter. They used Arafat’s deceptive, meaningless Sept. 1993 letter to Prime Minister Rabin and the April 1996 PNC vote which referred to Arafat’s letter as the basis of an amendment without actually amending anything. Then they used Arafat’s false allegations in his January 1998 letter to you and reaffirmations of falsehoods as a continuation of their chain of alleged annulments without ever changing one word of the Charter.
Mr. President, I believe that you would perform a service to our county, the world, and to yourself if you were to state that the Palestinians have never changed their “Destroy Israel” Charter which was created when Israel was within her 1967 borders.
William K. Langfan