NEW YORK- Yasir Arafats foreign minister, Farouk Kaddoumi, has publicly acknowledged that the PLO Covenant was never changed, contrary to the Clinton administrations claims that it was changed in 1998.
Kaddoumi told the Jordanian newspaper Al Arab: The Palestinian national charter has not been amended until now, he explained. It was said that some articles are no longer effective, but they were not changed. Im one of those who didnt agree to any changes. (Jerusalem Post, April 22, 2004)
The Zionist Organization of America was the only major Jewish organization which, throughout the years, pointed out that the Covenant was never changed and the PLO and PA remained officially committed to the 30 or 33 Covenant clauses that call for Israels destruction or violence against Israel.
ZOA National President Morton A. Klein: The Bush administration acknowledge that Arafat is a terrorist and refuses to deal with him. We urge the Bush administration to likewise formally acknowledge that Arafat lied about changing the Covenant. The U.S. should make all future U.S. aid to the Palestinian Arabs conditional on a genuine changing of the Covenant.
As part of its effort to prove that Arafat, the PLO, and the Palestinian Authority had sincerely transformed from terrorists to peace-makers, the Clinton administration engineered two public events to give the impression that the Covenant had been changed:
- In 1996, the PLOs Palestine National Council, which is the only body legally empowered to change the Covenant passed a resolution appointing a legal committee to consider the changes. The event received international media coverage and effusive praise from the Clinton administration. But the mass media and the administration never reported that, in fact, the legal committee never met, and the changes were never made.
- On December 14, 1998, President Clinton himself flew to Gaza and personally presided over a meeting in Gaza of Palestinian Arabs, who raised their hands to signal approval of a statement by Arafat claiming that the Covenant had already been changed in 1996. U.S. officials and the mass media reported the event as proof that the Covenant had been changed, but the meeting was not a PNC session and had no authority to change the Covenant.
In recent years, there have been numerous admissions by PLO or PA officials that the Covenant was not changed, but these admissions have not been widely reported. For example, Zuhair Sanduka, who is Director of International Parliamentary Affairs for the PLOs National Council, told the Israeli news agency IMRA on January 23, 2002: No other Charter [Covenant] has indeed been written since [the 1998 meeting] There are publications that refer to the  decision to make the amendments. But there are no other texts no other paragraphs or articles in place of the articles that had to be canceled or amended. But there is the reference that there are articles that should be either canceled, modified, or amended.