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Letter from PA Chairman Arafat to Prime Minister Peres on PLO Covenant Amendment

(May 4, 1996)

One of the major bones of contention between Israel and the PLO were certain paragraphs in the 1964 (and later revisions) of the Palestinian National Covenant which in effect called for the destruction of the State of Israel. Arafat committed himself on a number of occasions to amend the covenant. These commitments were contained in the Oslo accords. Now Mr. Arafat sent a letter to the prime minister explaining what the Palestinian National Council has done in this regards. There were, however, many Israelis who were not convinced that the covenant was indeed amended. Text:

Mr. Shimon Peres
Prime Minister of Israel

Dear Mr. Peres,

I convey my best wishes to your excellency and I would like to convey to you the recent historic resolution adopted by the Palestinian National Council at its 21st session held in Gaza city.

As part of our commitment to the peace process and in adhering to the mutual recognition between the Palestinian Liberation Organization and the Government of Israel, the P.N.C. was held in Gaza city between 22-25 of April 1996 and in an extraordinary session decided that the Palestine National Charter is hereby amended by canceling the provisions that are contrary to the letters exchanged between the P.L.O. and the government of Israel on 9/10 Sept. 1993.

Please find enclosed copies of the official Arabic and English texts of the P.N.C.'s resolutions.

We remain committed to the peace process.

Gaza: 4/5/1996

Yasser Arafat
Chairman of the Executive Committee of Palestine Liberation Organization President of the Palestinian National Authority


The Palestinian National Council, at its 21st session held in the city of Gaza,

Emanating from the declaration of independence and the political statement adopted at its 19th session held in Algiers on Nov. 15, 1988, which affirmed the resolution of conflicts by peaceful means and accepted the two states solution,

And based on the introduction of the Declaration of Principles signed in Washington D.C. on 13 September 1993, which included the agreement of both sides to put an end to decades of confrontation and conflict and to live in peaceful coexistence, mutual dignity and security, while recognizing their mutual legitimate and political right,

And reaffirming their desire to achieve a just, lasting and comprehensive peace settlement and historic reconciliation through the agreed political process,

And based on international legitimacy represented by the United Nations Resolutions relevant to the Palestinian question, including those relating to Jerusalem, Refugees and Settlements and the other issues of the permanent status and the implementation of Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338,

And affirming the adherence of the Palestine Liberation Organization to its commitments deriving from the D.O.P. (Oslo 1), the provisional Cairo Agreement, the letter of mutual recognition signed on 9 and 10 September 1993, the Israeli-Palestinian Interim Agreement on the West Bank and the Gaza Strip (Oslo 2) signed in Washington D.C. on 28 September 1995 and reconfirm the resolution of the central Council of the P.L.O. adopted in October 1993, which approved the Oslo Agreement and all its annexes,

And based on the principles which constituted the foundation of the Madrid Peace Conference and the Washington negotiations, decides:

1. The Palestinian National Charter is hereby amended by canceling the articles that are contrary to the letters exchanged between the P.L.O. and the Government of Israel 9-10 September 1993.

2. Assigns its legal committee with the task of redrafting the Palestinian National Charter in order to present it to the first session of the Palestinian central council.

Source: Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs