Finance Minister Yair Lapid was challenged to back up his statements from Saturday, when he told the Wall Street Journal that Hamas could be negotiated with, and gave the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) as an example of a "former" terror group.
"It's not like it didn't happen before," Lapid said. "The PLO used to be a terror organization," implying that the group had renounced terrorism.
In response, Jewish philanthropist William Langfan called Lapid out on Monday, offering him a $200,000 contribution if he could prove the PLO is no longer a terror organization.
In a letter to the editor, Langfan wrote "I respectfully suggest that Lapid read Article 33 of the PLO 1968 Charter and ask himself where and when the Palestinian National Council (PNC) voted to modify or annul one article of their Charter."
"The Charter unequivocally states that the establishment of Israel is illegal and void and that they would use armed resistance until Palestine was liberated. Charter Article 33 clearly states that no change in the Charter can occur unless 2/3 of the PNC members vote for a change," argued Langfan.
"I hereby offer Lapid $200,000 if he can come forward with a voted PNC resolution specifying the Articles of the Charter which have been changed or annulled pursuant to (PA Chairman Yasser) Arafat’s January 1998 letter to President Clinton," continued Langfan, referring to a promise to change the charter that never occurred.
Acting based on the 1968 Charter
The issue of the 1968 Charter is not a mere matter of semantics.
In early April, senior Fatah Central Committee member Tawfiq Tirawi called the "two-state solution" dead, saying "Palestinians, Palestinian leadership, listen to me: The only solution before us is the historic solution presented by Fatah in 1968."
Another senior Fatah official, Abbas Zaki, has repeatedly said that public proclamations favoring a diplomatic, compromise solution with Israel were simply a ruse to pave the way for the Jewish state's ultimate destruction. Zaki related to the recent US-sponsored diplomatic efforts in the same way, saying that any concessions gained through negotiations were just the first stage in the destruction of Israel.
It is worth noting that the charter calls for "armed struggle" or "armed revolution" nine times, declaring "armed struggle is the only way to liberate Palestine," and calling on local Arabs to "be prepared for the armed struggle."
Following the charter, the PLO and Fatah were defined internationally as terror organizations, a definition which was removed during the 1993 Oslo Accords process.
However, Langfan notes that the PLO Charter and Fatah Constitution have never been changed, and that the groups have never renounced terror.
Langfan's son Mark is the Chairman of Americans For a Safe Israel (AFSI), and a contributor to Arutz Sheva.