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The PLO and the Question of Popular Representation

The Future State of Palestine

by FRANCIS A. BOYLE

In the 15 November 1988 Palestinian Declaration of Independence that was approved by the PNC representing all Palestinians all over the world,  the Executive Committee of the PLO was set up as the Provisional Government for the State of Palestine—pursuant to my advice.

In addition, the Declaration of Independence also provides that all Palestinians living around the world automatically become citizens of the State of Palestine—pursuant to my advice. So the Executive Committee of the PLO in its capacity as the Provisional Government for the State of Palestine will continue to represent the interests of all Palestinians around the world when Palestine becomes a UN Member State.

Hence all  rights will be preserved: for all Palestinians and for the PLO. No one will be disenfranchised. The PLO will not lose its status. This legal arrangement  does not violate the Palestinian Charter, but was approved already by the PNC.

Unfortunately, an Oxford professor calleed Guy Goodwill-Gill has circulated a memo full of distortions. The memo is based on many erroneous assumption. This professor is not aware of all the legal and constitutional technicalities that were originally built into the Palestinian Declaration  of Independence to make sure that his doomsday scenario does not materialize–at my advice.

All  rights have been protected and will be protected by Palestine becoming a Member State  of the United Nations, including the Right of Return. Indeed, in the Memo I originally did for President Arafat and the PLO back in 1988, I explained how we  could obtain UN Membership.

All of the advice that I gave to President Arafat and the PLO in 1987 to 1989 was originally premised on the assumption that someday we would apply for UN Membership. That day has come. Please move forward. I have been working for this Day since I first proposed UN Membership for Palestine  along the lines of Namibia  at the United Nations Headquarters in New York in June of 1987.  Palestine’s Application for UN Membership was my idea.

When my Client and Dear  Friend the late, great Dr. Haidar Abdul Shaffi  Chair of the Palestinian Delegation to  the Middle East Negotiations instructed me to draft the Palestinian counter-offer to the now defunct Oslo Agreement, he most solemnly told me: “Professor Boyle, we have decided to ask you to draft this Interim Peace Agreement for us. Do whatever you want! But do not sell out our right to our State!”

And I responded to Dr. Haidar: “Do not worry, Dr. Abdul Shaffi. As you know, I was the one who first called for the creation of the Palestinian State back at United Nations Headquarters in June of 1987, and then served as the Legal Adviser to the PLO on its creation. I will do nothing to harm it!”

As I promised Dr. Haidar, I would do nothing to harm Palestine and the Palestinians.

Francis A. Boyle is a professor of international law at the University of Illinois College of Law.