PLO letter to UN in December 1988: the missing link

So, there is a provision for a Palestinian Provisional Government…

International law expert Francis Boyle, who once advised the late PLO leader Yasser Arafat and other Palestinian leaders, wrote about this over the weekend, in a commentary published on 26 August on, here.

In this piece, Boyle stated that “In the 15 November 1988 Palestinian Declaration of Independence that was approved by the PNC [Palestine National Council] representing all Palestinians all over the world, the Executive Committee of the PLO was set up as the Provisional Government for the State of Palestine—pursuant to my advice. In addition, the Declaration of Independence also provides that all Palestinians living around the world automatically become citizens of the State of Palestine—pursuant to my advice. So the Executive Committee of the PLO in its capacity as the Provisional Government for the State of Palestine will continue to represent the interests of all Palestinians around the world when Palestine becomes a UN Member State. Hence all rights will be preserved: for all Palestinians and for the PLO. No one will be disenfranchised. The PLO will not lose its status. This legal arrangement does not violate the Palestinian Charter, but was approved already by the PNC”

Now, thanks to research carried out yesterday by Xavier Abu Eid in Ramallah, here is a letter from the PLO to the United Nations, dated 9 December 1988 — three weeks after the PLO issued a Declaration of Independence at a meeting of the Palestine National Council in Algiers on 15 November 1988 — informing the international organization of the formation of a Provisional Government:

Declaration of the formation of the provisional Government of the State of Palestine – 15 November 1988

“The Palestine National Council, at its nineteenth extraordinary session, the session of the intifadah, decides as follows:

1. A provisional Government shall be formed for the State of Palestine as soon as possible, in accordance with circumstances and the evolution of events.

2. The Central Council and the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization shall be empowered to appoint a time for the formation of the provisional Government, the Executive Committee shall be entrusted with its formation, and it shall be presented to the Central Council for a motion of confidence. The Central Council shall adopt the provisional system of government until such time as the Palestinian people exercises full sovereignty over the land of Palestine.

3. The provisional Government shall be composed of Palestinian leaders, notables and skilled human resources within the occupied homeland and outside, on the basis of political pluralism and in such a manner as to embody national unity.

4. The provisional Government shall draw up its programme on the basis of the instrument of independence, the political programme of the Palestine Liberation Organization and the resolutions of the national councils.

5. The Palestine National Council hereby entrusts the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization with the powers and responsibilities of the provisional Government until such time as the formation of the Government is declared.

Adopted by the National Council at its extraordinary session at Algiers on 15 November 1988″.
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This document is posted on the United Nations website here.

Continue reading PLO letter to UN in December 1988: the missing link

Why "Hysteria" in Israel about possible September state [Palestine]? Is it b/c of 1967 borders?

Haaretz has reported that Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak warned that the Palestinian Authority might “collapse” if Israel applies sanctions in a pre-emptive effort to avoid a Palestinian move at the UN in September. The meeting was held on Wednesday, and lasted four hours, Haaretz said. Israel’s Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman did not attend, but some 30 political and military officials did: “in addition to Netanyahu, Steinitz and Barak, also present were Interior Minister Eli Yishai, Strategic Affairs Minister Moshe Ya’alon, Minister without Portfolio Benny Begin and Israel Defense Forces Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz … Several of the ministers urged preemptive sanctions against the Palestinian Authority in an effort to pressure PA President Mahmoud Abbas to back down, but Defense Minister Ehud Barak objected, warning that it could lead to the collapse of the PA. Haaretz learned that the discussion also dealt with possible Israeli responses following the vote in the UN General Assembly, which is expected to recognize a Palestinian state along the 1967 borders by a large majority. Among the preemptive sanctions discussed was a proposal by Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz to stop transferring the customs duties that Israel collects at its ports on the PA’s behalf. The PA is suffering a severe cash shortage and is having a hard time paying its employees; the taxes Israel passes over are used to pay the lion’s share of those salaries. F or this reason, Barak vehemently objected to the measure, saying it could lead to the PA’s collapse, which would leave the territories in a state of anarchy. Representatives of the Justice Ministry and the military prosecution also warned against taking such unilateral steps”. This report is posted here.

An editorial published in Haaretz on Friday said that “As the UN vote on Palestinian statehood within the June 4, 1967 borders approaches, Israel’s government is showing increasing symptoms of hysteria … [Recently] Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman threatened that Israel would revoke the Oslo Accords. This week Lieberman proposed severing all ties with the Palestinian Authority to preempt the wave of violence he says will erupt the day after the UN declaration”.

The Haaretz editorial, which can be read in full here, also notes that “It’s hard to think of a more dangerous and foolish move than destroying the PA and cutting off the livelihood of tens of thousands of security personnel and officials who depend on it for their wages. As Defense Minister Ehud Barak said at the debate, this move would lead to anarchy in the West Bank, making Israel responsible for the welfare of 2.5 million people”.

Continue reading Why "Hysteria" in Israel about possible September state [Palestine]? Is it b/c of 1967 borders?

Mahmoud Abbas tells visiting American Congressmen that negotiations blocked by Israeli demand for military presence in Jordan Valley

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said that an Israeli demand to keep a military presence in the Jordan Valley was one main reason that negotiations with Israel are now blocked, according to a story in the Jerusalem Post today.

The JPost report said that Abbas told a group of visiting American Congressmen, including Steny Hoyer of Maryland [Democratic Party whip in the House of Representatives], that “there are no negotiations now because Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has placed pre-conditions, specifically a demand that there be an IDF presence in the Jordan Valley. Abbas told the delegation that the discussions he has had with Netanyahu in the past ‘have led nowhere, because unless we agree to be occupied by IDF troops, he doesn’t want to talk about anything in the next step’. Abbas, according to Hoyer, said he met with Netanyahu last year, but that those talks ‘went nowhere because Netanyahu only wanted to talk about security, and that the implementing of that security was deployment of IDF troops in the Jordan Valley’.”

It is clear that there is a clear battle, now, for the Jordan Valley — a battle as big as that over Jerusalem.

See a related story posted on our sister blog,, here.

Netanyahu made his first qualified acceptance of the idea of a Palestinian state in his Bar Ilan University speech in 2010 (in answer to U.S. President Barack Obama’s speech in Cairo some weeks earlier) that a future Palestinian state must be demilitarized.

Hoyer is leading a group of 26 U.S. Congresspeople from the Democratic Party on a week-long trip sponsored by what the JPost described as “the American Israel Education Foundation, a charitable organization affiliated with the American Israel Public Affairs Committee”. The JPost says that 55 U.S. Congresspeople from the Republican Party will be coming on two other trips in the coming weeks.

The JPost article is published here.

The story noted that “Hoyer, who co-authored a Congressional resolution last month with House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) against a Palestinian unilateral move at the UN, said that he and some other members of the delegation told Abbas they felt a move at the UN would be a ‘destabilizing effort’, and that both Israel and the Palestinians agreed in the past that the only way to solve difference was through bilateral negotiations. Hoyer said that the delegation ‘indicated’ that a PA decision to go to the UN ‘would be unwise and that the Congress would be very concerned about that happening, and might take action’. When asked what kind of action, Hoyer said ‘funding’. Hoyer held out the possibility that while budgetary funding to the PA might be stopped, it might not be stopped for security training. A judgment would have to be made, he said, whether cutting off funding for security might not be ‘cutting off one’s nose to spite one’s face. Undermining security in the West Bank may have an adverse consequence in Israel’.”