Presidents Conference circulates Fatah statement


An umbrella body for U.S. Jewish groups is asking the Fatah party to rescind passages from its charter.

The proposed Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations statement, initiated by the Zionist Organization of America, urges Palestinian Authority president and Fatah chairman Mahmoud Abbas “to rescind the clauses of the Fatah Constitution which call for the ‘demolition’ of Israel and ‘the eradication of the Zionist economic, political, military and cultural existence”; call for the use of the ‘armed struggle’ and ‘armed public revolution’ (meaning terrorism) against Israel as ‘a strategy and not a tactic, to uproot the Zionist existence”; state that ‘the Zionist movement is racist’; calls on countries ‘to prevent Jewish immigration to Palestine’ (meaning Israel); and ‘opposes any political solution’ whatsoever.”

The motion continues: “Rescinding these clauses would be an important confidence-building measure which would help to create a better environment to achieve progress in the peace talks.”

Palestinian officials say the 1964 charter has been superseded twice by documents emerging from Fatah general congresses in 1980 and 1989. The latter congress recognized Israel while reserving the right to “armed struggle.”

Additionally, Fatah officials say, decisions recognizing Israel taken since then by the Palestine Liberation Organization, the Palestine National Council and the Palestinian legislature have devolved onto Fatah, the largest Palestinian party.

Malcolm Hoenlein, the vice chairman of the Presidents Conference, says there has been overwhelming support for the measure. A number of organizations are known to oppose it.

The Presidents Conference needs the consensus of at least two-thirds of its 50 members in order to issue such a statement.



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