By David Bedein, TOI June 13, 2013
Most recently, US Secretary of State Kerry passionately called for the renewal of talks with the PLO. Former President Clinton, who hosted the PLO – Israel ceremonies on the White House lawn twenty years ago, is en route to Jerusalem for high profile lectures where he will call also call for for renewal of negotiations. And Shimon Peres, Israel’s president, who served as Israel’s foreign minister at the outset of negotiations with the PLO two decades ago, is about to convene thousands of dignitaries at a conference at the President’s mansion that will call to jump start negotiations with the PLO.
Veteran observers of middle east politics may ask: what is there to negotiate about?
Indeed, there an item on the table that is hardly a minor detail: The Palestinian Liberation Organization DID NOT RATIFY the Oslo Accord after Arafat and Abbas signed the accord on the White House lawn.
On September 13, 1993, at the White House, Israeli Prime Minister Yitzchak Rabin and Israeli Foreign Minister Simon Peres signed the “Declaration of Principles” (the DOP) between Israel and the PLO together with Yasser Arafat and Mahmoud Abbas of the PLO. The agreement, which had been 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 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 executive did not ratify the Oslo accord, for lack of a quorum.
Very few people know or remember that Pinchas Inbari, the only Israeli correspondent covering the PLO in Tunis at the time, writing for the Israeli left-wing Hebrew newspaper Al HaMishmar, broke the story that Arafat announced in Tunis that he could not get a quorum of the executive council of the PLO to ratify the Declaration of Principles of the Oslo Accords. Al HaMishmar then ran a headline on October 7, 1993 which reported that the PLO did not ratify the peace accord that Arafat and Abbas had signed together with Peres and Rabin only a few weeks before, with US and Russia as co-signers.
Carrying Al HaMishmar in my hand, I walked into the office of the Israel Government Press Office director at the time, Mr. Ori Dromi, and showed him the headline of PLO non ratification of the Oslo accords. Dromi, an appointee of Prime Minister Rabin, made it clear that from the point of view of the Israeli government, this meant that Arafat signed the accord on his own, without the sanction of the PLO.
The rest of the Israeli media, however, did not report that the PLO never ratified the accord, but the Israeli government acted as if the PLO had done so.
Inbari was scheduled to appear on a popular morning KOL YISRAEL radio show …read more