Umbrella group to mull Fatah call after talks

A U.S. Jewish group will not consider a call on Mahmoud Abbas to renounce part of an old Fatah charter until after peace talks.

The Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations is canvassing its 50 constituent member organizations on a statement proposed by the Zionist Organization of America that would ask Abbas, the Palestinian Authority president and the leader of the Fatah party, to rescind alleged passages of a 1964 Fatah charter calling for the “demolition” of Israel and “the eradication of the Zionist economic, political, military and cultural existence.”

Palestinian officials say the 1964 charter has been superseded. The proposed statement is based on translated versions on pro-Israel Web sites; no original Arabic document has been tracked. It is not clear whether Abbas has the authority to rescind the passages in any case.

The Presidents Conference sent out an alert on Nov. 9 reminding constituents to weigh in on the statement. But on Tuesday its executive vice chairman, Malcom Hoenlein, told JTA that the umbrella group would not consider the statement until its next general meeting, which will take place after the Annapolis, Md., peace talks to be convened by U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in the last week of November.

The statement had appeared aimed to precede the Annapolis talks, urging Abbas “to create a better environment to achieve progress in the peace talks.” The Presidents Conference needs a two-thirds majority to issue such a statement.

Americans for Peace Now, a Presidents Conference constituent, wrote Hoenlein and June Walker, the conference chairwoman, on Tuesday to express “serious reservations about the timing and motivations behind this resolution.”

 

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