Francis Boyle: The PLO was not invited to Annapolis!

The Global Research website, which describes itself as the product of “an independent research and media group of writers, scholars journalists and activists”, has just written about the forthcoming Annapolis meeting that “it seems the US has invited practically everyone in the world to this fandango — from Poland to Sweden to Slovenia to Yemen to the World Bank and the IMF… except the PLO — which is the only body that has the authority and international standing to negotiate on behalf of the Palestinian people! In addition, the elected government of Hamas is also not invited, of course”.

The Global Research website has posted an open letter from Francis A. Boyle, an attorney who helped advise the Palestinian team at the 1991 Madrid Peace Conference. (The Palestinians participated as part of the Jordanian delegation because Israel refused at the time to deal with the PLO.)

“Nov 23, 2007

My Dear Palestinian Friends:

As you can see from the US Government’s list of Invitees to the Annapolis Conference, it has only invited the Palestinian Authority, not the PLO. But only the PLO has the authority under international law to negotiate on behalf of the Palestinian People and the State of Palestine. That is why the Chairman of the PLO Yasser Arafat signed the Oslo Agreement in the name of the PLO. The Palestinian Authority has no authorization under international law to negotiate on behalf of the Palestinian People, let alone the State of Palestine, whose Provisional Government is the PLO Executive Committee. Indeed, an entire series of UN General Assembly Resolutions have made it clear that only the PLO is the sole and legitimate representative of the Palestinian People. Hence this delegation of the Palestinian Authority to the Annapolis Conference has no legal authority under international law to conclude anything on behalf of the Palestinian People, let alone the State of Palestine. I would appreciate it if you would be so kind as to bring this matter to the attention of the Palestinian People around the world.

Thank you.

Francis A. Boyle

The open letter written by Francis A. Boyle is posted here.

The Global Research website describes him as “Professor of International Law and Legal Advisor to the Palestinian Delegation to the Middle East Peace Negotiations and His Excellency Dr. Haidar Abdul Shaffi (1991-1993)”.

While it is true that the PA and not the PLO has been invited to the Annapolis event, it is also the case that the Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) wears both hats — he is the elected (January 2005) President of the Palestinian Authority that was created by the Oslo Accords negotiated between Israel and the PLO. And, he was also selected as Yasser Arafat’s successor to head the PLO.

The draft of the document [Palestinian preferred term] or statement [Israeli preferred term] that has been negotiated by teams of Israelis and Palestinians in advance of the Annapolis meeting [see Palestine-Mandate post here.] says that “it is being drafted by the representatives of the Government of the State of Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization, represented respectively by Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and President Mahmoud Abbas in his capacity as Chairman of the PLO Executive Committee and President of the Palestinian Authority”…

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