Presidential Support for U.S. PLO Terror Mission

The PLO Mission to the United States is located in downtown Washington, D.C., less than two miles from the White House.

This is a scary reality, given the terrorist nature of the organization. Indeed, the U.S. government describes the PLO, or Palestine Liberation Organization, as a terrorist group, and the State Department has named important parts of the PLO to its foreign terrorist list. Yet it is this same U.S. government that has kept and continues to keep this mission intact. Who will finally have the common sense and will to shut the mission down?

In December 1987, President Ronald Reagan signed into law the Anti-Terrorism Act of 1987. The act unequivocally called the PLO -- an umbrella group for several violent entities -- a “terrorist organization” and made it “unlawful” for the PLO to “establish or maintain” an office inside the United States. Citing various fanatical actions carried out by the group, including “the murders of dozens of American citizens abroad,” the act stated:

[T]he Congress determines that the PLO and its affiliates are a terrorist organization and a threat to the interests of the United States, its allies, and to international law and should not benefit from operating in the United States.

What the Congress and President Reagan fought to create, future U.S. presidents would seek to undo -- circumventing the act by issuing waivers allowing for the maintaining of a PLO mission in the United States and for the American funding of the PLO. Every six months, beginning in 1994, U.S. Presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama issued such waivers, using the excuse that they were “important to the national security interests of the United States.”

In reality, the waivers had nothing to do with “national security.” They were instead seen as necessities in sustaining the last three presidential administrations’ obsession with the creation of a PLO state -- essentially a terrorist state -- called “Palestine,” to be headed by PLO leader Yasser Arafat followed more recently by the PLO’s Mahmoud Abbas.

In April 2005, U.S. Representative Anthony Weiner (D-NY) introduced a bill (H.R. 2036) that would have forced the “withdrawal or termination” of presidential waivers with regard to an American PLO office. The bill was co-sponsored by Representatives Charlie Norwood (R-GA) and Dan Burton (R-IN). However, the bill was referred to subcommittee the following month and never made it out of there.

While the waivers can put off the closure of the PLO’s mission in D.C., what they cannot do is erase the 40-plus year terror-filled history of the group, which includes such high profile attacks as the 1972 Munich massacre of the Israeli Olympic team and the 1985 Achille Lauro cruise ship hijacking, where 69-year-old wheelchair-bound American tourist Leon Klinghoffer was shot dead and thrown overboard.

The two main organizations which led the PLO in the past during its most violent periods are the groups that lead it today. They are the Palestinian National Liberation Movement, Harakat al-Tahrir al-Watani al-Filastini (Fatah) and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP). Unfortunately for both, and contradictory to some in the White House who have labeled the PLO “moderate,” the violence never stopped.