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PLO Makes It Clear It Will Not Change Its Covenant

February 28, 1977
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The Palestine Liberation Organization made it clear this weekend that it will not heed the urging of Secretary of State Cyrus Vance and others that it change its covenant which calls for the replacement of Israel with a single democratic secular state in all of Palestine.

Farouk Kaddumi, head of the PLO’s political department, in an interview with Cairo’s Al Ahram, translated by the State Department yesterday, denounced the call for the terrorist organization to amend “its charter in such a way that it would guarantee Israel’s survival.” He declared, “How can the West ask us to make concessions while Israel refused to recognize the PLO?”

Kaddumi said the PLO has “conveyed” to United Nations Secretary General Kurt Waldheim its “specific stand” on the Geneva conference. He said the PLO “should participate as an independent delegation in all the work of the conference and at all of the sessions on condition that the Palestinian question is an independent topic on the agenda along with the giving of international guarantees for the survival of the new Palestinian state.” He said the guarantees must come from the large states, “specifically” the United States and the Soviet Union.


Meanwhile in London, Said Hammami, the PLO’s representative there, said in an interview today in the Observer that the Palestine National Council when it meets in Cairo March 12 cannot amend the charter because it represents ideology rather than a practical program.

However, he said the PLO is ready to accept two states in Palestine “because since 1948 there has been a new factor, the Israeli people, not the Jewish people.” But he said that Israel cannot survive in the long run as a Jewish State but will eventually become a Hebrew-speaking corner of the Arab world.

Hammami listed three points that comprise the PLO policy: a demand for complete withdrawal of Israel from occupied territory; that the West Bank and the Gaza Strip be handed over to the Palestinians to form an independent state under the PLO with the option later of deciding whether it wanted to join with Jordan and/or Syria; and the recognition of the right of all Palestinians to return to their homes, although this right might not be exercised “for a number of years.”

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