PLO DROPS ANTI-ISRAEL REFERENCES.Byline: Ethan Bronner Ethan Samuel Bronner (born 1954) is deputy foreign editor of The New York Times, and a frequent essayist on foreign affairs. In September of 2007, the Times announced that Bronner would succeed Steven Erlanger as bureau chief in Jerusalem in 2008. The Boston Globe
The Palestine National Council formally revoked on Wednesday clauses of the PLO's founding charter that call for the destruction of Israel, living up to a historic commitment with Israel and opening the way to negotiate a final peace accord between the two former enemies.
The council, meeting in the Gaza Strip Gaza Strip (gäz`ə), (2003 est. pop. 1,330,000) rectangular coastal area, c.140 sq mi (370 sq km), SW Asia, on the Mediterranean Sea adjoining Egypt and Israel, in what was formerly SW Palestine. , voted 504-54 with 14 abstentions for the change, heeding a call by PLO PLO
Palestine Liberation Organization
PLO Palestine Liberation Organization
Noun 1. PLO leader Yasser Arafat who had warned of the consequences of failing to uphold the promise made when he and then-Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin agreed to seek peace in September 1993.
``Make up your minds. . . . Are we going to have a Palestinian dream or not, are we going to have statehood state·hood
The status of being a state, especially of the United States, rather than being a territory or dependency. or not?'' Arafat demanded of the council members, many of whom came to Gaza from exile for this meeting. ``We don't want to go astray again, we don't want to begin again from less than zero.''
The vote took place in a closed session. When it was over, Marwan Kanafani, a former Arafat spokesman and now a member of the Palestinian parliament, declared it ``a new era in the life of the Palestinians.''
Seven articles removed from the 30-year-old charter of the Palestine Liberation Organization Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), coordinating council for Palestinian organizations, founded (1964) by Egypt and the Arab League and initially controlled by Egypt. had called for armed struggle to ``liberate Palestine'' and destroy the state of Israel, a goal that the PLO had all but abandoned since agreeing in recent years to work toward peaceful co-existence with Israel.
But these are acutely difficult times for Israeli-Palestinian relations, and each side kept its reactions and explanations subdued. Israel suffered four devastating dev·as·tate
tr.v. dev·as·tat·ed, dev·as·tat·ing, dev·as·tates
1. To lay waste; destroy.
2. To overwhelm; confound; stun: was devastated by the rude remark. suicide bombs last month and reacted by closing off the borders of the Palestinian autonomous areas.
Mahmoud Abbas Mahmoud Abbas (Arabic: محمود عباس) (born March 26, 1935), also known by the kunya Abu Mazen , known as Abu Mazen, a chief architect of Israeli-Palestinian peace, said Wednesday night, ``We did not amend the charter for the sake of Israel. We did so for the sake of peace.''
Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres issued a statement affirming that the PLO had now lived up to its 1993 commitment but did not even go so far as to praise it for the move.
Yoel Esteron Yoel Esteron is an Israeli journalist, and has been Managing Editor of Yedioth Ahronoth, Israel's leading newspaper, since January 2005.
Esteron started his career at the Israeli Defence Forces radio station as a military correspondent during the 1973 Yom Kippur War in the , managing editor of the liberal daily newspaper Haaretz, said the story would lead his paper today across six of nine columns but he personally felt no need to express optimism or satisfaction about it.
``It's nice,'' he said, when asked his reaction. ``But, frankly, it was about time.''
The cool mood comes also from Israel's ongoing two-week-old incursion in·cur·sion
1. An aggressive entrance into foreign territory; a raid or invasion.
2. The act of entering another's territory or domain.
3. into southern Lebanon in efforts to root out guerrilla bases of the Hezbollah. Israelis in the north are sleeping in bomb shelters because of Hezbollah Katyusha rockets and Lebanese civilians are suffering Israel air and artillery raids.
Even Shulamit Aloni, a leftist left·ism also Left·ism
1. The ideology of the political left.
2. Belief in or support of the tenets of the political left.
left member of Peres' government, said only: ``Well, I am very glad because now there will be no excuse to stop continuing the peace process.''
Peres had said that until the charter was revoked Israel would not begin the promised negotiations on the final status of the accord, notably the difficult issues of Jerusalem, final borders and Jewish settlements in the Palestinian areas.
The PLO charter, written in the stilted stilt·ed
1. Stiffly or artificially formal; stiff.
2. Architecture Having some vertical length between the impost and the beginning of the curve. Used of an arch. , grandiose style of Third World revolutionary tracts of the 1960s, was drafted to affirm the right of Palestinians to the entire land between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River and to delegitimize de·le·git·i·mize
tr.v. de·le·git·i·mized, de·le·git·i·miz·ing, de·le·git·i·miz·es
To revoke the legal or legitimate status of: all Jewish and Zionist claims to it.
As such, it calls for ``armed struggle'' to liberate Palestine, speaks of the ``Zionist and imperialist aggression against the Arab homeland'' and says that the U.N. decision to partition this area in 1947 and the establishment of the state of Israel are ``entirely illegal regardless of the passage of time.''
Already in the 1970s, the PLO began edging away from such views, hinting at a willingness to accept Israel if there were a Palestine next to it. In the late 1980s, Arafat denounced terrorism and in 1993 shook hands with Rabin on the White House lawn and committed himself in writing to accepting Israel.
But the Israelis felt that the PLO charter still justified guerrilla actions against Israel and that if the PLO were serious it had to revoke the offending passages.
This was more difficult than it seemed. Officially the Palestine National Council, a kind of parliament-in-exile, contains many PLO factions. Among them are those that opposed Arafat's return to Gaza under the 1993 agreement and that represent Palestinian refugees in Lebanon, Syria and Jordan who will not get back the land they lost when Israel was created in 1948.