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Friday, April 10, 2009

Obama allows PLO to keep office in Washington

Unsurprisingly, on Thursday night, President Obama signed the semi-annual waiver that allows the PLO to maintain an office in Washington, DC (Hat Tip: Memeorandum).
President Obama signed a waiver Thursday that will allow the Palestinian Liberation Organization to retain its office in Washington D.C.

A law passed in 1987 barred the operation of such an office, but legislation has permitted presidents to waive the requirement for six months at a time. President Clinton allowed the PLO mission to open in 1994 and presidential waivers have been regularly issued ever since.
It would be nice if the President actually considered whether the PLO ought to have an office in Washington rather than just unthinkingly signing the same waiver every six months. That has not happened since President Clinton first signed the waiver in 1994, at a time when the Oslo Declaration of Principles had just been signed and many people falsely believed that 'peace' was on the horizon. One thing that Obama should have clarified before endorsing the waiver is the relationship between the PLO and Fatah, and which organization (if either) recognizes Israel's 'right to exist.'
Interview with Muhammad Dahlan, PA TV March 16, 2009:

Dahlan: "There are many distortions that the Hamas movement tries to attribute to us [Fatah]. For instance, they always say that the Fatah movement wants Hamas to recognize Israel. This is a gross deception. And I want to say for the thousandth time, in my own name and in the name of all of my fellow members of the Fatah movement: We do not demand that the Hamas movement recognize Israel. On the contrary, we demand of the Hamas movement not to recognize Israel, because the Fatah movement does not recognize Israel, even today. [...] Therefore, no one can compete with us. We of the Fatah do not recognize Israel; we recognized [corrects himself] recognize that which the PLO recognized, but that does not obligate us as a Palestinian resistance faction."


The following interview with Mahmoud Abbas was broadcast on Al-Arabiya [based in Dubai] and Palestinian TV on Oct. 3, 2006:

The host is discussing with Mahmoud Abbas the difference between Hamas and Fatah preventing the establishing of a Palestinian unity government.
Host: "But maybe Hamas is right regarding the fact that it does not want to recognize Israel."

Abbas [snaps]: "Hamas is not required, Hamas is not required to recognize Israel... It is not required of Hamas, or of Fatah, or of the Popular Front to recognize Israel, all right?

"The PLO, in 1993, recognized Israel. As Israel recognized the PLO. Every person has the right to say 'I do not recognize,' okay? It's your right. It is the right of every organization. But the government which will be formed, and which will function opposite the Israelis on a daily basis... every hour and perhaps every second, there will be contact between Palestinian ministers and Israeli ministers. And I ask - how can this government, or these ministers, not recognize their counterparts, and then solve people's problems?" [Abbas then gives an example of $500 million in taxes intended for the Palestinians, but put on hold by Israelis. The Palestinian finance minister has to come to an agreement with the Israeli finance minister regarding the transfer of that money.] "So how can he make an agreement with him if he does not recognize him?"

"So I do not demand of Hamas nor any other [organizations] to recognize Israel. But from the government that works with Israelis in day to day life, yes."
If the basis for permitting the PLO to open an office in Washington, DC was its recognition of Israel (which it was), and that recognition has become a sham in light of its alter ego Fatah's unwillingness to recognize Israel, then the basis for the PLO maintaining an office in Washington no longer exists and President Obama should not have signed that waiver.


At 5:45 AM, Blogger NormanF said...

The PLO and Fatah do not recognize Israel's right to exist. Instead of pressuring the Palestinians to change their behavior, the US mindlessly enables their extremism. What would help is instead of cheerleading for the PA, if the Israeli government instead began explaining the facts of life to the US Administration. All that is lacking is the political will in Jerusalem to take that approach with the Americans.


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