At the end of April, after Arafat broke off the interview published in the June 11 issue of The New York Review, he went on another of his frequent tours of Persian Gulf capitals, where the PLO receives much of its political and financial support, this time to inform Arab leaders about the results of the Palestine National Council meeting in Algiers. I was asked to wait for him in Tunis, where he arrived on May 13. The next afternoon Arafat was smiling and seemed relaxed when he greeted me, getting up from behind a desk at the downtown office of the PLO representative to Tunisia, “our embassy here,” as a PLO man matter-of-factly described it. I wanted to pick up where my interview had left off in Algiers, discussing Arafat’s “vision” of a Palestinian state. Before we could resume, he recounted in some detail the itinerary of his eight-nation tour in the Gulf. “Because of this,” he joked, “I am not married.”
Q: Have you thought things out carefully about the nature of an independent Palestinian state? Would, for example, the PLO claim the right to lead this Palestinian state?
A: You have to remember that we are proud of our democracy and we respect our democracy. If our people want us to continue, we will continue. If not, they have the right [to select alternative leaders]. It happened in Britain after the Second World War, when they changed Churchill. Why not change me? They have the right to do it.
It was shown that democracy is one of the most important shields in our very long and very difficult march. As an example, after our departure from Beirut [in 1982], we faced some troubles because of Arab intervention and Arab interference [in PLO affairs]. They created some puppets, rebels, dissidents, and so on. Those who were trying to interfere inside the PLO, they were imagining that they could do the same as they had done in their own countries: a military coup, a violent coup. Our democracy protected the march. Because of our strong democracy, the democratic structure of the PLO, they failed.
Q: What relationships would this Palestinian state have with its neighbors, for example, with Jordan? You have noted that the Palestine National Council’s resolutions called for an eventual confederation with Jordan. Is it clear that this confederation would be established only after the creation of an independent Palestinian state?
A: It is not necessary. But this is the Palestinian vision. The details can be discussed.
Q: Could the confederation be established before the actual creation of an independent Palestinian state?
A: What are we gaining by speaking frankly? If they [the Jordanian government] will agree to deal with us on equal footing—to discuss the shape of the parliament, the shape of the government, our passports, our flags, the military troops, the national guards in the two [parts of the confederation], the economic structure of the country, the customs, the central bank—if they are ready to discuss this beginning now, why not? We are ready. If they are ready, we are ready. We have full studies about it. About even a joint venture for aviation. I am speaking not about the air force but about civilian companies. In detail, [our planning for a confederation] started after 1982. But, before that, we had some general plans.
Q: Why ought there to be a confederation between the Palestinians and Jordan?
A: It’s simple and clear. We have about 1.35 million of our people living in Jordan. Jordan and Palestine until 1945 were one state, actually. After the Second World War, Churchill himself said, “This is Transjordan, and this is Palestine.” Before that, [Jordan] was an emirate,…completely part of Palestine. As an example, the police commander, General Edrissi, a Palestinian, was responsible for the two parts, in Palestine and Transjordan. We were, both of us, under the British Mandate.
Q: Some of the parties at an international peace conference might insist that an independent Palestinian state be created only after the confederation with Jordan is established, and not before the confederation—
A: And some parties will insist on creating it before. So we can find the formula in the end. If it is the only obstacle, we will find the formula by one means or another.
Q: What role would the traditional West Bank leadership, those remaining on the land these last twenty years with their families in their villages, have in a Palestinian state?
A: A main one. No doubt a main one. But we have to mention that we are not two parties. We are one people, the Palestinian people, outside [the occupied territories] and inside. This is our main miracle as Palestinians. There has been a conspiracy to make two splits: between the Palestinians outside and inside the occupied territories, and even between the Palestinians who are carrying Israeli nationality and those living in the West Bank and Gaza Strip…. In our PNC, we have 182 representatives from the occupied territories. In all the previous PNC sessions, we tried to find a way for them to participate. But we received one answer [from the Israeli occupation authorities]: There will be for them one-way tickets if they attend the PNC. So we prefer to keep them inside. But they are a part of our PNC.
Q: What about relations with the State of Israel? You have talked in our previous interview of the need for peace and a comprehensive, permanent settlement, yet in one of your replies you proposed putting United Nations troops on the borders between the Palestinians and Israelis. What kind of peace would it be, with troops on the borders?
A: It depends on the will and the determination of both of us. Are they looking to achieve a victorious peace for them, and for us a surrendering peace? Or a lasting and comprehensive and just solution, as De Gaulle once said, “A peace of the brave”? If they are ready, why not? This is our main point when we [call for] a just and permanent and comprehensive solution.
Q: You said, “If both of us have the will and determination—“ Do Palestinians have the will?
A: Yes. We are fed up with being the targets for continuous genocide. It is very difficult. Look at what is going on in southern Lebanon, in Beirut, what happened some years ago in Amman, what is going on inside the occupied territories now. We are human beings and we have the right to live in peace like other people are living.
Q: Some of your own supporters would ask you the question: Is a Palestinian state compatible with Zionism? The PLO, since its beginning, has been opposed to Zionism. So it sounds strange to hear you talk about an accommodation.
A: Do you think this state can live forever as a strange body in this area? If such a state doesn’t become oriented in the region here, it cannot live. If they are insisting to live as Zionists, imperialists, and expansionists, they will face resistance everywhere. And they will be isolated. No doubt about it. But if they are ready to achieve a just, comprehensive, and lasting solution, we can find a way.
Who said that I am against Judaism or Jews? In all our history, Jews were part of us…. They were as Jews a part of my nation. This is Palestine. Do you know the meaning of Palestine? This is the land, the holy land. Those who are coming from Poland, like Begin or others, don’t understand the meaning of the holiness of this land. They do not belong to my heritage, to my culture.
Q: I am asking: If it is not expansionist, what accommodation can you make with an independent Jewish state?
A: I repeat what has been accepted in all our PNC sessions: We are ready to deal with all United Nations resolutions including Resolution 181. The Partition Plan. 1947. Are they against it?
You are saying that they want peace. On what platform? I am saying that peace cannot be achieved apart from international legality.
Q: Do you have a solution for the holy city, Jerusalem?
A: We can find it. Look, Berlin is an example.
Q: Not a very happy example.
A: But it happened. It has lasted for more than forty-three years. Half a century.
Q: I want to ask you about the PLO’s strategy for working out some sort of settlement. You mentioned previously that the PLO is willing to participate in an international conference as part of a joint Arab delegation.
A: This option had been accepted during [preparations for] the Geneva Conference in 1977. And it was even accepted by the American administration during that period, through the famous American-Egyptian communiqué. And it was accepted by Begin himself, by the Likud.
Q: Do you plan to formulate this in a specific proposal for the next Arab summit meeting?
A: Yes, it will be discussed. One of the main items [on the summit agenda] will be how we will face, as an Arab nation, the future developments on the international level, especially the international conference. [The international conference proposal] was accepted at the Casablanca Arab summit conference in 1985 for the first time. In the Fez summit of 1982, we accepted King Fahd’s peace proposal, which is now called the Fez peace plan. In Casablanca, we gave it a new mechanism when we said this [peace plan] has to be achieved through an international conference, with the participation of the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council and the participation of all the parties concerned in the Middle East conflict, including the PLO, on equal footing.
Q: Is there any prospect of reviving the idea of a joint Jordanian-Palestinian delegation to attend a peace conference?
A: It is very difficult now. I am accepting it, but the bride is not accepting me. I am dealing with realities and facts. It is the Jordanians who are refusing to deal with the PLO. In spite of their refusal to deal with us, and they continue to reject dealing with the PLO, we approved at the PNC this very important resolution in which we confirmed the previous PNC resolutions calling for special relations [between Jordanians and Palestinians].
Q: Who specifically would represent the Palestinian people at a peace conference?
A: It is not a main item. Anyone who would be appointed by the Executive Committee, and by me as chairman of the PLO, will represent the PLO. Anyone. Even if I give the guard of this building the official document, he will represent the Palestinian people. So don’t play with it. I am not addressing this to you personally. I am addressing this for those who are speaking about the individuals. I will give you an example. Mrs. Thatcher refused to meet anyone from the [PLO] Executive Committee [when the Fez summit “follow-up committee” visited London in 1983]. So I appointed Dr. Walid Khalidi 1 to represent the PLO. He was the main member in the delegation. Any Palestinian anywhere is a member of the PLO. Any Palestinian. Any of these Palestinians who will be appointed by the Executive Committee, and signed off by me as the chairman of the PLO, will represent the Palestinians.
Q: Can you envision appointing Palestinians who are not members of the leadership of the PLO?
A: As I told you, it is not a main item. As an example, in 1977 I appointed some Palestinians living and working in the USA to be members of the joint Arab delegation which was proposed to go to Geneva.
Q: You would prefer, I think, to have the PLO attending a peace conference as an independent delegation.
A: Yes, we would prefer it. We would prefer it. You see, we are trying to facilitate the whole issue [of Palestinian representation]. For this, I said I agree to be a part of a joint Arab delegation. I am giving solutions to facilitate the whole issue.
Q: When you were negotiating with King Hussein at the beginning of 1986 over the fate of the Amman Agreement the Americans came up with what seemed to be a new proposal or formula. They said that if the PLO accepts Resolution 242, which implies Israel’s right to exist, and renounces violence and indicates it is ready to negotiate with Israel, the United States would accept the fact that the PLO will be invited to an international conference.
A: I am sorry to say that the United States administration is not faithful to what they say. I gave a written and signed document to [Representative Paul] McCloskey in 1982 saying I accept all United Nations resolutions—all United Nations resolutions—relevant to the Palestinian question. Later our PNC in Algiers in 1983 accepted all United Nations resolutions. All. What does this mean? And later I gave my very famous declaration [on terrorism] in Cairo in 1985.
For your information, although I made the Cairo Declaration, I am sorry to say that the Israelis are continuing to attack us outside [the Middle East]. Last year they killed two of our senior officers: Brigadier Khaled Nazzal from the Democratic Front [for the Liberation of Palestine], and General Munzer Abu Ghazala from Fatah, who was assassinated in Athens. Not only that, they exploded two civilian ships in Messina in Italy. And they are continuing to attack other targets outside. They hijacked the Libyan airplane, and gave the very rude excuse when they said that they thought Dr. [George] Habash [of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine] was inside it. It is state terrorism. I said to them, through the Egyptians: “Don’t depend on our patience.” The Egyptians remember that it was the Cairo Declaration.
So in spite of that, the American administration refused to deal with us. They are saying, “If you are ready to negotiate—“ I am saying—not only me—the PNC is saying: “We are ready to negotiate under the umbrella of the United Nations conference with the participation of the five permanent members [of the United Nations Security Council].”
Q: Why did the Amman talks break down? Why didn’t you repeat your statement on Resolution 242?
A: I repeated it. It is very important for everybody to understand this. There was a deadlock during the discussions [with King Hussein]. They were saying that we had to mention 242 clearly and obviously. Then I had special talks with His Majesty. A tête-à-tête. At the end, I told him: “What if I make a confirmation to your statement which was declared on May 29, 1985, in the Rose Garden?”2 He said, “Can you do it?” I said, “Yes, Your Majesty, I promise I will do my best to get the approval of my colleagues.” I left him and held some meetings, and they accepted it. And I repeated it.
What was the formula which I had offered? It was exactly the same formula which had been mentioned by King Hussein in the Rose Garden in 1985. I repeated it in 1986, in Amman. I offered it, written, to Mr. [Wat] Cluverius [a US State Department official concerned with the Middle East peace negotiations]. I gave him one copy through our representatives, through Fayez Abu Rahme and through Hanna Siniora.3 I gave three copies to King Hussein. Then I gave copies to President Mubarak, to President Evren, to President Saddam, to King Fahd, to King Hassan, to the chairman of the Non-Aligned Movement, to the Italians—during that period they had the chairmanship of the EEC—to the Soviet Union, to the French, and to the Chinese government. But no response [from the United States]. It was rejected. Members of Congress later asked [Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs Richard] Murphy: “Why didn’t you accept one of these formulas?” He said: “It arrived to us dead because King Hussein didn’t accept it.”
Q: Why didn’t King Hussein accept it?
A: You know, actually, it wasn’t King Hussein. When Murphy was backed into a corner, he said, “Oh, it was King Hussein [who did not accept it].” It was the same scenario when Thatcher was put in the corner in the Parliament. She said, “It is King Hussein.” And King Hussein covered [for] them, both of them. But actually, it was not King Hussein. To speak frankly, it was the American administration which is refusing to deal with the PLO.
Q: Well, what can you say now? Can you give, in this interview, a clear and obvious declaration of support for—
A: I gave it already.
Q:—for Resolution 242?
A: It is officially offered. It had been officially offered in 1986.
Q: And repeated now?
A: I am saying it now, in this interview. Will they accept it?
Q: Well, we will publish it.
A: It has been published. We delivered this unofficially to Cluverius. But officially we passed it through many friendly leaders…. I have the right to ask American public opinion: How do they refuse self-determination for the Palestinian people, for five million Palestinians, while they accept self-determination for the Falkland Island population of 1,800? There was a big war between Britain and Argentina, and the USA stood beside Britain under this banner of self-determination. Self-determination for 1,800, and no self-determination for five million Palestinians?
Q: How should we interpret the results of the Palestine National Council meeting in Algiers when the PLO reunified?
A: It means that the Palestinian people have decided to face all their challenges on a strong platform of unity. There are some rumors about this unity. They are saying it is between extremists and moderates, which is not true. Because actually our political program is clear…especially on how we will deal with this very important point concerning the international conference. This was the central issue of our meeting in Algiers. Our representatives accepted [the proposal] unanimously for the first time. In the previous meetings of the PNC, there were some reservations. But now none. They accepted it. It is a very important signal. Through this unity, we are looking to deal with all the options in the international field. It is important that we have succeeded in unifying our forces for peace, while in Israel there are many splits against peace.
Q: Was it significant that Dr. Habash voted in favor of the international conference? In previous years, when you were negotiating with King Hussein, he issued statements to the effect that he opposed any dealings with Israel.
A: No, it is not an accurate quotation.
Q: Well, if you like, I’ll get the exact quotation that I’m referring to.
A: Maybe he is saying [he opposes] any direct negotiations. I am against any direct negotiations. I am saying we have to go under the United Nations auspices to the international conference…. You have to remember, in 1974 he had accepted our main political program of ten points [adopted at the tenth PNC meeting in Cairo]. It had been accepted by all the Palestinian leaders including Dr. Habash…. In 1974, he had accepted the idea of participation in the Geneva conference.
Q: I have found what I was referring to. During your talks in Amman [with King Hussein] in October 1982, five PLO groups issued a statement from Tripoli, in Libya, and George Habash’s group was one of them, saying, “We reject all forms of recognition, negotiation, and making peace with the expansionist Zionist state.”
A: It is a very clever quotation. You said “expansionist, Zionist state.” You see? They didn’t say Israel. They said “expansionist Zionist state.”
Q: Are we not supposed to take it seriously? It’s Israel he is talking about.
A: They are handling it very cleverly. They knew that they had accepted the Geneva conference before. So they used this expression.
Q: Many observers do regard the reunified PLO as a more hard-line or radical organization.
A: How is it more hard-line when we had accepted the international conference?
Q: But the PNC meeting did not deal solely with the question of the international conference. It dealt with, for example, the question of the PLO’s relations with Egypt. President Mubarak has reacted angrily.
A: Actually, he had been misinformed about the results, about the discussions which were taking place in Algiers. You remember that he didn’t wait. He gave the order for the official Egyptian delegation [to walk out] before the end. Because he had been informed that the discussion was against Egypt. It didn’t happen at all! It was an open discussion and no one mentioned anything concerning Egypt. At all. We consider that this is a summer cloud that will pass over. There is mediation now, Arab mediation, to solve this problem. Now he has been informed, not only by the Palestinians, but by all the Arabs who participated with us, like the Kuwaitis, the Iraqis, the Algerians, the Yemenis, the Emirates.
Q: It seems he is not convinced. The PLO offices are still closed in Cairo.
A: This happened. It needs a certain short period of time to bypass it. It is not a problem, in my opinion. I have full confidence in President Mubarak. Don’t forget, he is a fighter.
Q: Then would you explain clearly what is the PLO’s policy toward Egypt, concerning relations and coordination with Egypt?
A: It will be discussed. Because the PNC said this had to be discussed by the PLO Executive Committee in detail.
Q: So, in other words, the policy has not been made final. You are still discussing your relations with Egypt.
A: You can say that it is not finished. But you have to mention on what basis [the Executive Committee] will discuss it. We said we appreciate the role of Egypt in the Arab nation and the sacrifices of the people of Egypt, the brotherly people of Egypt, and the sacrifices of the Egyptian army for Palestine and for the Palestinian people and for the whole Arab nation. And we are looking for the return of Egypt to take its role, its natural guiding role, in the Arab world.
Q: And should that be based on the abrogation of the Camp David treaty?
A: No. No. Of the policy of Camp David.
Q: The abrogation of the policy of Camp David?
Q: What does that mean?
A: I’ll give you an example. When President Mubarak came to power, we sent him a Palestinian-Syrian message requesting from him not to deal with the second phase of the Camp David agreements. Which means the Palestinian phase, the Palestinian issue in the Camp David agreements. He accepted this. Not only that, he accepted that the PLO is the sole representative of the Palestinian people, and [he accepted] self-determination for the Palestinian people. Not only that, he accepted all the Islamic conference resolutions and all the Non-Aligned Movement’s resolutions concerning the Palestinian problem, and all the United Nations resolutions. We appreciate very much this policy of President Mubarak toward the Palestinian question in spite of the Camp David treaty.
Q: What is your assessment of King Hussein’s plans? We have seen the reports that the king and Shimon Peres had reached an understanding about the nature of an international peace conference.
A: This is a very important issue. If this has happened, it is a very serious point. But until now, the official statements declared by the Jordanians say they will not participate in the international conference without the full participation of the PLO. This is the official stand until now. In my last tour in the Arab countries, this was one of the main items of my discussions with all the leaders. The international conference, the rumors from the Israeli side concerning this point. Because all of us are committed to what was agreed at the Arab summit conferences, including Jordan.4
Q: You sound doubtful of the king’s intentions, as if you are not confident he will adhere to these Arab summit resolutions.
A: No, I am not [doubtful]. But what has been declared from the Israeli side must be discussed at a high level with the Jordanian authorities.
Q: A new move in the past year has been King Hussein’s $1.3 billion redevelopment plan for the West Bank. Can you explain why the PLO has opposed this?
A: Do you think, to speak frankly, that he will be able to achieve $1.3 billion? Who will pay it for him? It is only propaganda, and our people know that all he has achieved is some peanuts, $40 million. Israel will accept a development plan? Do you think Israel will agree to let King Hussein make a development plan costing $1.3 billion? We have an Arab proverb: “If the one who is talking is crazy, don’t take him seriously.”
Q: Do you feel there is any prospect for a Jordanian-Israeli condominium covering the West Bank?
A: Would you accept it, if you were in my place? I am asking you, would you accept it? Another Bantustan. Could you imagine that I would betray my people to accept another Bantustan in the West Bank and Gaza? I will fight against it! In South Africa, they are fighting against Bantustans. I will not accept new Bantustans. I know my people very well.
Q: Do you know King Hussein?
A: You have to know who are the Palestinians. We are resisting. Our people ate dogs and rats rather than yield in the refugee camps [of Beirut, where Palestinians have been besieged by Lebanese Shi’ite militiamen]. You have to understand who are the Palestinians. I have full confidence in my people.
Q: What about King Hussein?
A: He knows that. He knows that very well. Don’t forget, he ruled the West Bank for more than seventeen years, so he knows that.
Q: Do you think he wants to do it again?
A: He told me “no.” When we had a tête-à-tête, he said: “No, I know that after this period of time, there must be something completely different.” And for this, he accepted the agreement between me and him that referred to the proposed Arab confederated states—states—of Jordan and Palestine. And I have it signed, in his handwriting, in English. It was written by him in English…during the signing of the Amman accord.
Q: Has the reunification of the PLO prepared the way for you to return to Damascus for a rapprochement with President Assad?
A: We have a [PNC] resolution, a clear and obvious one, to build new Palestinian-Syrian relations. For this, Dr. Habash was authorized to go in the name of the PLO to discuss this matter with President Assad. He did it.
Q: What are the results?
A: There are some positive signals. But it needs more talks and discussions.
Q: The Syrians expelled you from their country in 1983; they encouraged the rebellion against you inside the PLO. Can this past be overcome?
A: You see our Arab mentality. There was a break in Algerian and Moroccan relations. They recovered…during the meeting the two leaders had on their border. There was a very difficult conflict between the Syrians and King Hussein. Then in one meeting it vanished, this conflict between the Syrians and Jordanians. And so, this is our modus operandi. We know how to deal.
Q: Is there bad blood between you and President Assad?
A: It is not a personal question. It happened between me and King Hussein in 1970. In spite of that, we had this Jordanian-Palestinian accord.
Q: Do you think that Assad really wants to have a peace conference?
A: The last official declaration from Syria was the one from Comrade Gorbachev and Assad. Their joint communiqué said the two parties accept the international conference to achieve peace in the Middle East conflict. They gave the full details and conditions of this conference.
Q: Should we expect now to see you going to Moscow for an official visit?
A: It is not necessary for me to go. But I had this very important meeting with Comrade Gorbachev in Berlin last year. You know that our way is open to Moscow.
Q: It was reported that the Soviet Union had an important part in ending the conflict within the PLO and bringing about the unity of your organization.
A: Not only the Soviet Union. The Yemenis, the Algerians, the Libyans. Actually what was done in Algiers was the reflection of the unity of our people inside the occupied territories and the refugee camps.
Q: Do you ascribe any particular importance to the Soviet help in Algiers?
A: They were one of those who helped us.
Q: How do you assess the Soviet Union under Gorbachev? Does this signal anything new for Soviet policy in the Middle East?
A: No doubt. It has become obvious and clear there is a new policy, but on the same previous basis: to achieve peace, real peace, in the Middle East…. I will tell you one story. Nobody can neglect one of the two superpowers in any international conflict. The Americans tried to do it in Lebanon, and they failed. This is very important proof.
Q: What is new in Gorbachev that we did not see in Chernenko and Andropov and Brezhnev?
A: He is working hard. His main policy is to solve all the hot spots all over the world. He is a man of peace and he wants to reduce the tension, which is costing not only the Soviet Union but even the American administration a very large amount of money at the expense of social development.
Q: The PNC dealt with the question of “collective leadership” following criticism of your role by some of your colleagues. Do you feel that you have the necessary flexibility, after this PNC, to pursue Palestinian goals?
A: You know, before [the PLO reunification] many of my colleagues, in the Executive Committee and even inside Fatah, were against the Amman accords. Even inside Fatah. But in the end, all of them accepted [the Amman Agreement] because it was approved by the majority.
Q: In 1983, you went to Cairo to reopen a dialogue with Egypt and the Fatah leadership voted 10-1 against you.
A: There was a [Fatah] communiqué against the visit. That is all. They said that they had not been consulted. But later when it was discussed in the Revolutionary Council, it was accepted.
Q: The EEC, in the Venice Declaration of 1980, suggested the Palestinians call a truce as a way of creating a climate of confidence for peace negotiations to get underway. Now that you might be getting closer to an international conference on the Middle East, have you considered accepting a truce?
A: There is a difference between violence and resistance. I am against violence. But you can’t ask those who are under occupation to stop their resistance. I agree to stop any violence. But, at the same time, you have to ask the occupiers, the invaders, to stop their terrorism, their oppression, their occupation.
Q: A problem with violence is that it creates a cycle and countercycle of violence that can be counterproductive…. For example, when you were trying to get international support for your Amman Agreement with King Hussein, the Achille Lauro incident occurred.
A: You are speaking about Achille Lauro? First of all, the PLO had nothing to do with the Achille Lauro.
Q: What was behind the Achille Lauro? You were going to investigate it.
A: You have to remember that because of my involvement in [mediating] this problem, in response to an official request from the Italian government—there was an official Italian-Egyptian-Palestinian working group—we succeeded in safeguarding the lives of more than four hundred crew and passengers and to save the ship. I received an official thanks from the prime minister and the minister of foreign affairs of Italy.
Q: What happened to your investigation of the Achille Lauro incident? Wasn’t [the PLO official] Abul Abbas responsible for this hijacking, or did you find differently?
A: Because of this, the PNC reelected Abul Abbas to the Executive Committee for [only] a temporary period. We are waiting for the final investigation [of Abul Abbas]. It is not finished yet.
Q: There were reports that Abu Nidal was involved in discussions with Fatah recently to rejoin the PLO. What future does Abu Nidal have in the Palestinian movement?
A: You know, we didn’t accept his participation in the PLO. It is obvious for us. He came [to Algiers] with a group from Tripoli. But for us it was clear and obvious: no participation for him in the PLO.
June 25, 1987
At the time, Dr. Khalidi was a visiting professor of government at Harvard and a professor of political studies at the American University in Beirut. He states that he has never been a member of the PLO. ↩
After talks on the Middle East with President Reagan at the White House, King Hussein issued a statement in the Rose Garden which said, in part: “I have also assured the President that on the basis of the Jordan-PLO accord of February 11 , and as a result of my recent talks with the PLO, we are willing to negotiate, within the context of an international conference, a peaceful settlement on the basis of pertinent United Nations resolutions, including Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338.” The PLO, at the time, did not publicly confirm Hussein’s statement that it accepted Resolution 242. ↩
Fayez Abu Rahme, chairman of the Gaza Chamber of Advocates, and Hanna Siniora, editor of the Jerusalem Arabic daily newspsper Al Fajr, were among seven Palestinians proposed by Jordan and the PLO in July 1985 to be part of a joint Jordanian-Palestinian delegation. ↩
Arafat is apparently referring to the 1974 Arab summit conference in Rabat, Morocco, which adopted a resolution saying that the PLO was the “sole legitimate representative” of the Palestinians. ↩