Kaddoumi: PLO charter was never changed
Khaled Abu Toameh The Jerusalem Post Apr. 22, 2004
[IMRA: Shimon Peres considered the changing of the Charter to be the most
important event in modern history. Then PM Netanyahu, fresh from Wye,
asserted that a ceremony in Gaza in the presence of President Clinton of a
grouping of Palestinians changed the Charter and argued with detractors that
this was proof he was getting reciprocity from the Palestinians and could
make withdrawals - Netanyahu continued to ignore Palestinian violations at
the time but the withdrawal juggernaut was stopped at the last minute by his
foreign minister, Ariel Sharon, who suddenly rememembered at the last minute
that the Palestinians were armed to the teeth with illegal weapons and
should get rid of some of them before a withdrawal.]
Farouk Kaddoumi, the PLO's hard-line "foreign minister," said Thursday that
when Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat talks about the need to
pursue the struggle against Israel, he is referring to the armed struggle.
Kaddoumi said the armed struggle was the only way to force Israel to accept
the demands of the Palestinians.
Kaddoumi's remarks were made in an interview with the Jordanian newspaper
Al-Arab. He admitted that the PLO charter, which denies Israel's right to
exist, was never changed.
In response to a question what does Arafat mean when he talks about the
continuation of the struggle, Kaddoumi, who is one of the few PLO leaders
still living in Tunisia, said: "Yes, the national struggle must continue. I
mean the armed struggle. In the past we abandoned our political parties in
favor of the armed struggle.
"Fatah was established on the basis of the armed struggle and that this was
the only way to leading to political negotiations that would force the enemy
to accept our national aspirations. Therefore there is no struggle other
than the armed military struggle."
Commenting on Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's plan to withdraw from the Gaza
Strip, Kaddoumi said: "If Israel wants to leave the Gaza Strip, then it
should do so. This means that the Palestinian resistance has forced it to
leave. But the resistance will continue. Let the Gaza Strip be South
Vietnam. We will use all available methods to liberate North Vietnam."
Kaddoumi revealed that the PLO leadership has entrusted him with being
responsible for the "portfolio" of supporting the Iraqi resistance against
the US-led coalition forces in Iraq. "There is no doubt that the Palestinian
revolution supports the Iraqi resistance and we have seen demonstrations in
the occupied Palestinian territories in backing the intifada and resistance
in Iraq," he said. "I'm in charge of this issue and I condemn the American
Kaddoumi welcomed the establishment of an armed group in Iraq named after
slain Hamas leader Ahmed Yassin, saying this would increase pressure on the
US. He described the new anti-American group as an "excellent phenomenon."
Kaddoumi said that, contrary to what many people believe, the PLO charter
was never changed so as to recognize Israel's right to exist. "The
Palestinian national charter has not been amended until now," he explained.
"It was said that some articles are no longer effective, but they were not
changed. I'm one of those who didn't agree to any changes."
Asked about US and Israeli demands to halt terror attacks as a condition for
resuming the peace process, Kaddoumi replied: "They can go to hell!"
Kaddoumi lashed out at Palestinian Authority Foreign Minister Nabil Sha'ath,
accusing him of political nonsense and constantly contradicting himself. He
also accused Sha'ath of traveling around the world on his own and without
being entrusted by anyone.
"I can't understand this man and I wish he would stick to one position,"
Tensions between Kaddoumi and Sha'ath reached their peak during the last
Arab League meeting in Tunis. Kaddoumi was the head of the Palestinian
delegation to the Arab foreign ministers meeting, while Sha'ath was a member
of the team. The two did not speak to each other during the meeting.
In the interview, Kaddoumi accused Sha'ath of presenting a false view of the
PA's policy, saying some Arab governments had complained against his
behavior. "For example, he said that the PA had agreed to certain things,
but when I checked this with the leadership, it turned out that this was
untrue," he added.