July 25, 1996 in Nation/World

Arafat Seeks To Reassure Netanyahu

Compiled From Wire Services

Seeking to ease Israel’s doubt over the sincerity of the PLO’s vote to revoke calls for Israel’s destruction, Yasser Arafat sent a letter of assurance Wednesday to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

A top Netanyahu aide, however, said Israel still believes Arafat has not met his commitment.

According to David Bar-Illan, the letter said only that the Palestinian National Council, the PLO’s parliament-in-exile, had voted “to hereby amend” its charter, which called for the destruction of Israel.

“It is not an indication of any kind of specific amendment or cancellation, but a general and vague reference,” Bar-Illan complained.

A Palestinian official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the letter confirmed that the PLO had decided to change all sections of the charter that call for Israel’s destruction and had formed a committee to write a new charter.

The council voted in April to amend its charter, a step that then-Prime Minister Shimon Peres welcomed as “the greatest ideological change of this century.”

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