JERUSALEM (Apr. 21)
The Palestine National Council was scheduled to convene in Gaza this week — but changing its charter did not appear to be among its priorities.
“In the council’s meeting, which won’t last less than five days, the annulment or change of the covenant will not be discussed,” Salim Zanoun, acting PNC chairman, was quoted in the Al Quds newspaper.
Under the Israel-Palestinian accords, the PNC must revoke the anti-Israel clauses in its charter.
It is not clear whether this would be accomplished by amending the existing charter or drawing up a new one.
Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat has assured Israel that the PNC would fulfill the commitment to change the charter and that such action would be taken when the Palestinian parliament in exile meets this week for the first time in the self-rule areas.
The recent events in Lebanon, particularly Israel’s shelling last week of a U.N. post, which killed at least 75 refugees, have made the atmosphere for changing the covenant combative.
Opponents of changing the covenant said, “The slaughter in Lebanon obliges those who accepted Arafat’s position on change to backtrack.”
Among the PNC members are representatives of Palestinian organizations that are opposed to the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.