David Bedein
David BedeinEliran Aharon

Yes, on September 13, 1993, at the White House, Israel signed the “Declaration of Principles” (the DOP) between Israel and the PLO, in the presence of US and Russian officials who also sat at the table on the White House lawn.

The agreement, hammered out in Oslo, stipulated mutual recognition between Israel and the PLO.

It required the PLO to cease and desist from terrorism, and for the PLO to nullify its covenant, which calls for Israel’s destruction.

The Israeli Knesset ratified the Oslo Accord by a vote of 61 to 50, with 9 abstentions, a week later. However, what received hardly any attention was the fact that on October 6, 1993, the PLO Fatah executive would not ratify the Oslo Accord, for lack of a quorum.

Pinchas Inbari, one of the only Israeli correspondentד covering the PLO in Tunis at the time, writing for the Israeli left-wing Hebrew newspaper Al HaMishmar, indeed broke the story of the PLO non-ratification of the "Declaration of Principles".

The rest of the Israeli media, however, did not report that the PLO never ratified the accord, while the Israeli government acted as if the PLO had done so.

Inbari was scheduled to appear on a popular morning KOL YISRAEL radio show when he got back from Tunis.

However, Prime Minister Rabin personally called Israel state radio to cancel that appearance.

Instead, the Israel government dispatched then deputy minister of Foreign Affairs, Yossi Beilin, to fly to Tunis to thank Arafat for facilitating the ratification of the Oslo Accord, which Arafat and the PLO never ratified.

In the desire to falsely believe and hope that Arafat was genuinely trying to usher in an era of peace, the Israeli government and its compliant media chose to overlook the PLO’s significant failure to ratify the Oslo Accord..

It was a sign of things to come.

Dr. Michael Widlanski, a former New York Times reporter, uncovered the working record of duplicity of Arafat’s PA. Widlanski and fellow researchers reviewed nearly a half a million documents contained in the computer discs, hard drives and file boxes that were seized by the Israeli government when then Israeli minister of Public security Uzi Landau in 2002 ordered the closure of Orient House, which was the quasi-official seat of the PA in Jerusalem.

As Widlanski, who sent me a number of copies of the documents in Arabic, said “The documents repeatedly showed that Arafat was in day to day control of the details of the Palestinian Authority’s military operations…They showed irrefutably that he controlled Fatah’s tanzeem militia, [and other terror organizations] not that they controlled him.”

The documents showed that Arafat’s proxies, such as Faisal-Al-Husseini, relayed requests for approval of expenditures to Arafat himself. For example, among the captured documents were reports addressed to Faisal-Al-Husseini, from a joint field committee of Palestinian Arab organizations detailing terrorist operations carried out in Jerusalem, along with a budget request to cover operational costs for the coming month.

“After Al-Husseini initiated this document, he wrote a separate letter to Arafat relaying the request and recommending he approve the expenditure,” Widlanski said.

To view the article that Widlanski wrote at the time detailing his “finds” see here.

The documents from the Orient House that were stored in a police warehouse in Beit Shemesh provide insight into the workings of the Palestinian Authority secret police in Jerusalem and the involvement of the PA in all areas of organized crime – drugs, prostitution, arms smuggling, and car thefts.

Two police officials asked me at the time if I could find private funds to translate these documents. However, the police officials later informed me hat a decision was made to not disclose these documents to the public.

I asked the Member of the Knesset (at the time) who was chairman of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, MK Tzachi Hanegbi, as to why the decision was made to not allow for a professional review of the PLO documents seized at the PLO headquarters in Jerusalem, which were then in police custody, HaNegbi said that the answer to that question is “classified”.

Hanegbi today heads the Israel National Security Council (NSC) , which coordinates, designs and plans Israeli national security policy

Meanwhile, a flood at the Israel Police headquarters in Beit Shemesh destroyed the PLO Orient House documents that would have shed light on Arafat's true intentions.

In its desire to plant the false belied that Arafat was genuinely trying to usher in an era of peace, the Israeli government and media chose to overlook this significant and crucial failure.

Very few people know or remember that Pinchas Inbari, a left wing Israeli journalist indeed broke the story that Arafat’s Palestinian Liberation Organization DID NOT RATIFY the Oslo Accords after Arafat signed them.

Inbari today is a fellow at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs.

Full disclosure: For more than 30 years, I rely upon the integrity of Inbari at the news and research agency,

After reading Inbari's headline story at the time in Al Hamishmar I opined that that Arafat may go down in history as the new Woodrow Wilson, after he witnessed his own legislative body reject the peace accord that Arafat had promoted - or at least made a pretense of promoting.

Except that the Israel media shielded anyone from knowing that that the peace process with PLO lasted less than three weeks..

David Bedein is director of Israel Resource News Agency and heads the Center for Near East Policy Research, author of Genesis of the Palestinian Authority and Roadblock to Peace: How the UN Perpetuates the Arab-Israeli Conflict: UNRWA Policies Reconsidered.