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      P.A. Continues To Deny Israel´s Right To Exist

      First Publish: 4/23/2004, 2:39 PM / Last Update: 4/23/2004, 3:34 PM

      Contrary to popular perception, the Palestine Liberation Organization - the forerunner of the Palestinian Authority - has never changed its charter declaring Israel has no right to exist. The PLO's "foreign minister," Farouk Kaddoumi, said as much this week to the Jordanian newspaper Al-Arab.

      The fact that the charter was never changed is a little-known truth. In April 1996, the Peres government allowed many terrorists to enter Israel for a much-heralded three-day Palestinian National Council (PNC) session on the issue of changing the PLO charter. The clauses calling for Israel's destruction were to be removed, and afterwards, then-Prime Minister Peres called the outcome "the most important development in the last 100 years." In fact, however, as even left-wing politicians later said, what actually occurred was only a bureaucratic decision by the PNC to establish a committee to discuss the matter. Professor Yehoshua Porat, who ran for Knesset on the left-wing Meretz party ticket, said at the time that the entire affair was "an act of deception," and that since Peres "was able to accept the 'changing' of the Palestinian charter as 'the most important event in the last 100 years,' he should not be the one to conduct the negotiations [with them]."

      The PLO's Kaddoumi also said that Israel should not expect less terrorism if it withdraws from Gaza. Kaddoumi said, according to a Jerusalem Post report, "If Israel wants to leave the Gaza Strip, then it should do so. This means that the Palestinian resistance has forced it to leave. But the resistance will continue. Let the Gaza Strip be South Vietnam. We will use all available methods to liberate North Vietnam."