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Washington (JTA) — Members
of Congress and American Jew-
ish leaders have criticized the
State Department for a recent re-
port concluding that the Pales-
tine Liberation Organization is
abiding by its commitments to Is-
The report, released June 1,
also states that in light of the
PLO's compliance, the State De-
partment has decided to allow the
group to establish a diplomatic
The 14-page PLO Commit-
ments Compliance Report out-
lines more than a dozen incidents
since January when Palestinian
leaders failed to condemn terror-
ism against Israel.
It also recounts statements by
Mr. Arafat and his supporters ad-
vocating violence, including a
May 10 speech at a Johannes-
burg mosque where PLO Chair-
man Arafat called for a "jihad" for
And yet despite saying in the
report that "the PLO should do
more to condemn violence in a
timely, authoritative and unam-
biguous fashion," the State De-
partment concluded that "the
PLO is abiding by its commit-
The report drew widespread
criticism from Jewish groups and
their allies on Capitol Hill.
"Unfortunately, the report too
often excuses the PLO's failure
to respond to terrorism and seeks
to limit the PLO's responsibility
to condemn all acts of terrorism,"
said Neal Sher, executive dime-
tor of the American Israel Public
Mr. Arafat pledged in a Sep-
tember 1993 letter to Israeli
Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin to
renounce the use of terrorism and
violence and to assume respon-
sibility for all PLO elements and
personnel. The letter also con-
firmed Arafat's commitment to
recognize Israel's right to exist.
Despite the criticism of the
State Department report, AIPAC
officials confirmed their support
for the peace process and praised
the efforts of the Clinton admin-
istration in that regard.
Israeli officials here refused to
comment directly on the report,
saying it is an American docu-
ment between government agen-
In light of the State Depart-
ment's decision that the PLO is
in compliance with its end of the
declaration of principles with Is-
rael, officials plan to designate
a foreign mission for the PLO in
the United States.
The office will differ from an
embassy, in that its personnel
will have no diplomatic status,
privileges or immunity.