Skip to main content

Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO)

PALESTINE LIBERATION ORGANIZATION (PLO)

the institutional structure of the palestinian national movement and the political representative of about nine million palestinians.

The Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO; Arabic, Munazzamat al-Tahrir al-Filastiniyya ) was created at the Arab summit in January 1964 to contain and channel Palestinian nationalism and prevent Palestinian guerrilla groups from taking independent actions to liberate Palestine, from which Palestinians had fled or had been expelled by the Israel Defense Force (IDF) in 1948. The Palestine National Council (PNC), the PLO's parliament, convened with 422 members in Jerusalem in May 1964 and elected a fifteen-member Executive Committee, which chose as its chairman a lawyer, Ahmad Shuqayri. The PNC adopted a national covenant or charter (al-mithaq al-watani), which was revised in 1968, calling for the elimination of Israel and the restoration of Palestine to the Palestinians.

When Israel defeated Egypt, Syria, and Jordan in 1967 and occupied the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, both Arab and Palestinian leaders were discredited. Shuqayri was replaced by another lawyer, Yahya Hammuda. The guerrilla groups, the most significant of which was Al-Fatah, expeditiously moved to fill the political vacuum by increasing their attacks on Israel. On 21 March 1968, Israel massively retaliated at Karama, Jordan. The guerrillas' stiff resistance resulted in the deaths of at least 21 Israelis, about 100 Palestinians, and 40 Jordanian soldiers who aided the Palestinians. The guerrillas embellished their own accomplishment, inflated Israel's casualties, and gave little credit to the Jordanians. Karama became a symbol of struggle against Israel, which many had considered invincible. AlFatah gained thousands of recruits, Arab admiration, and financial support, primarily from the Gulf Arab states. More important, the guerrilla groups won control over the PLO. They amended the national charter in July 1968 to underscore the rejection of Arab interference in Palestinian affairs, the total liberation of Palestine by Palestinians through armed struggle, and establishment of a democratic secular state of Arabs and Jews.


Groups within the PLO

The battle at Karama propelled Yasir Arafat, head of al-Fatah, into the leadership position. An engineer educated at Cairo University, he was elected at the fourth PNC (February 1969) to replace Hammuda as chair of the Executive Committee. The PLO was transformed from an Arab-controlled organization to an umbrella of disparate military and political groups. Although these groups had a common goal, the liberation of Palestine, they differed considerably on ideology and tactics. The dominant group was al-Fatah, established in Kuwait by Salah Khalaf (Abu Iyad), Khalil al-Wazir (Abu Jihad), and Arafat (Abu Ammar), who became its spokesperson. It owed its broad appeal to Arafat's charismatic personality and to its pragmatic politics, which eschewed ideology for action toward a simple national goal: the liberation of Palestine. Al-Fatah's chief rival in the PLO was the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), headed by George Habash, a Christian physician educated at the American University of Beirut. The PFLP is a Marxist group dedicated to the overthrow of conservative Arab governments. Its contempt for the government of Jordan led it to challenge Jordan's sovereignty, triggering the 19701971 civil war that resulted in the PLO's defeat and its relocation to Lebanon. An offshoot to the left of the PFLP that espouses Marxism-Leninism is the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP), led by a Jordanian Christian, Nayif Hawatma. Another offshoot is the Popular Front for the Liberation of PalestineGeneral Command (PFLP-GC), led by Ahmad Jibril. Others include al-Saʿiqa, controlled by Syria, and the Arab Liberation Front (ALF), controlled by Iraq.

The influence of these groups has been disproportional to their numbers, but some see them as a necessary alternative to the centrist al-Fatah. They have stimulated political debates. They have charged that the lack of a coherent ideology within al-Fatah has led to an absence of vision regarding politics and society in the diaspora and the future state of Palestine; that many of its functionaries are inept and corrupt bureaucrats tolerated by Arafat; that the PLO drifts from crisis to crisis; that Arafat manipulates Palestinian institutions such as the PNC and the Executive Council and has autocratic powers that undermine Palestinian democracy; and that Arafat flirts with almost any nationJordan, Egypt, the United Stateswithout a clear policy.

PLO diversity resulted in the groups working at cross-purposes or in costly blunders. For example, the Arab-controlled Saʿiqa and ALF emphasized Arab unity while others insisted on Palestinian self-reliance. Al-Fatah denounced airplane hijackings in 1969 and 1970 by PFLP and PFLP-GC as counterproductive to the Palestinian cause. While al-Fatah sought Arab support and generally avoided Arab problems, the leftist groups involved the PLO in the civil war in Jordan and contributed to PLO involvement in Lebanon's civil war and in the Gulf crisis. Disagreements have led groups to secede from the PLO or to leave it temporarily. These could have brought violent conflict and disunity had it not been for the dominance of al-Fatah and Arafat's mass appeal and political skills. He often appeased or reflected diverse currents and articulated vague and, at times, contradictory positionswhich, while damaging his credibility abroad and creating diplomatic immobility, enabled him to maintain the coalition. His leadership allowed the PLO to develop political, military, and socioeconomic institutions in Lebanon until 1982.


Institutions

Foremost among these institutions was the PNC, the PLO parliament, whose membership varied. It represented virtually all ideological tendencies and groups, including the commando organizations and their political branches, ten unionsthose, for example, of workers, women, teachers, students, writers, and engineersand Palestinian communities. It developed a large and complex infrastructure for the estimated 360,000 Palestinians in Lebanon. Its well-trained armed forces numbered about 16,000. Its social and economic institutions served almost half a million Palestinians and poor Lebanese. The Palestine Martyrs Works Society (SAMED) operated businesses and light industry grossing $40 million annually. The Red Crescent Society supervised sixty clinics and eleven hospitals, and the Department of Social Welfare provided financial assistance for the blind, day-care centers, the wounded, and families of "martyrs." By the early 1980s the PLO had gone from an umbrella of guerrilla groups to the institutional embodiment of Palestinian nationalism and a state within a state.

The political and economic institutions enhanced the PLO's prestige and legitimacy. The Arab League recognized the PLO as the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people at the Rabat conference (October 1974). A month later, the United Nations invited Arafat to address the General Assembly and awarded the PLO observer status. In 1976 West Bank and Gaza Palestinians voted out pro-Jordan mayors, replacing them with supporters of the PLO. By 1982, over 100 countries had recognized the PLO.

Setbacks

Despite such success, however, the PLO suffered major setbacks. After its expulsion from Jordan, it established a state within a state in Lebanon, thereby undermining Lebanon's sovereignty, incurring Israel's retaliation, and embroiling it in Lebanon's civil war after 1975. In March 1979, at Camp David, Egyptian President Anwar al-Sadat signed a separate peace agreement with Israel that excluded PLO participation and provided for a limited Palestinian autonomy instead of full self-determination. With Egypt neutralized, Israel invaded Lebanon in June 1982 to destroy the PLO but succeeded only in forcing the PLO to move to Tunis; stripped of PLO protection, between 800 and 1,500 Palestinians in the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps were massacred in September by the Israel-allied Pha-lange. The 1982 Reagan peace plan, based on the Camp David autonomy proposal, once again excluded PLO participation. The following year, dissension within al-Fatah caused a revolt by Saʿid Musa Muragha (Abu Musa), with the help of Syria, which had long sought to control the PLO. When Arafat attempted to reestablish PLO power in Lebanon in 1983, Syria unleashed the forces of Abu Musa, who drove him out of Lebanon again. Israel attempted to undermine the PLO leadership by bombing its headquarters in Tunis in October 1985 but failed to kill Arafat.


Moderation and Diplomacy

Unable to strike at Israel, the PLO relied primarily on diplomacy to achieve a compromise settlement. At the twelfth PNC in 1974 and the thirteenth in 1977, the PLO had moderated its goal of liberating all of Palestine to one of establishing a state in the West Bank and Gaza; it supported the 1982 Fahad Plan that implicitly accepted a two-state solution. Empowered by the intifada, the Palestinian uprising that began against Israel's occupation in December 1987, Arafat in November 1988 led an enlarged PNC that included the DFLP to endorse the establishment of an independent Palestine state. It also endorsed the 1947 United Nations General Assembly Resolution 181. In December 1988, Arafat declared the PLO's acceptance of Israel's right to exist, recognition of Security Council Resolution 242, and the renunciation of terrorism. The United States promptly opened a dialogue with the PLO. Israel and its supporters, however, refused to acknowledge the change.


Israel's failure to reciprocate largely convinced Arafat to support Saddam Hussein in the 19901991 Gulf Crisis. This was a blunder that resulted in loss of financial support from the Gulf states. Without the support of the Soviet Union, short on funds, and fearing irrelevance, the PLO accepted the U.S. peace initiative that led to the 1991 Madrid peace conference between Israel and the Arab states and the Palestinians. However, twenty-two months and ten rounds of negotiations proved fruitless. The PLO regarded the framework for the talks as unfair and did not consider middle-level U.S. officials, especially those associated with pro-Israel lobbies, as "honest brokers." Norway established a secret channel in Oslo through which the PLO and Israel agreed to recognize each other. On 13 September 1993, at the White House, they signed a Declaration of Principles for a five-year Palestinian limited autonomy in the West Bank and Gaza, starting with the Gaza Strip and the town of Jericho, followed by elections for an interim council, Israel's withdrawal from other parts of the West Bank, and transfer of power. Unresolved final status issuesJerusalem, Jewish settlements, refugees of 1948, and borderswere deferred.


Toward Establishing a State

In May 1994, the IDF withdrew from Jericho and most of the Gaza Strip, and Palestinian police and a civil administration took over. Arafat moved to Jericho in June. Despite a decline in support for the peace process due to the violence and the slow pace of the negotiations, the PLO and Israel reached a number of agreements regarding the interim period, especially Oslo II, signed on 28 September 1995, which set the stage for Israel's further withdrawal from of the West Bank and the establishment of Palestinian Authority (PA) control over this area. The PLO held two PNC meetings in April 1996 and December 1998 to rescind articles in the National Charter that called for the destruction of Israel; the latter vote took place in the presence of U.S. president Bill Clinton. Clinton invited PLO chair Arafat and Israeli prime minister Ehud Barak to Camp David to negotiate final status issues of the West Bank and Gaza Strip. The negotiations took place in July 2000, but failed and were followed by the second Palestinian uprising (Aqsa Intifada) against Israeli occupation. Even though the PLO resumed the negotiations with Israel, especially at Taba in January 2001, the negotiators ran out of time when Clinton left office in January and Prime Minister Ehud Barak was replaced by Ariel Sharon in February 2001. Sharon refused to resume negotiations with the PLO until the Palestinians stopped their violence. He reoccupied Palestinian cities, including Ramallah, where the IDF attacked Arafat's headquarters and placed Arafat under virtual house arrest.

Arafat and many of the leading members of the PLO are also leaders in the PA. Arafat is both the chair of the PLO and the president of the PA. Mahmud Abbas, who was Arafat's deputy in the PLO, became the first prime minister of the PA in 2003. Ahmad Qurai, deputy director of the PLO's department of economic affairs, became the second prime minister of the PA in 2003 and 2004. The PLO still has a primary role: to negotiate with Israel over the future of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Yet, with the establishment of the PA, the PLO was increasingly eclipsed by an elected Legislative Council and the many "state" institutions. If a state is established, the organization is likely to decline further, because its goal of establishing a state would have been fulfilled, and its institutions would be replaced by state institutions.

see also abbas, mahmud; arafat, yasir; fatah, al-; gaza strip; habash, george; palestinian authority; qurai, ahmad sulayman; ramallah; west bank.


Bibliography


Cobban, Helena. The Palestinian Liberation Organization. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1985.

Gresh, Alain. The PLO, the Struggle Within: Towards an Independent Palestinian State. London: Zed, 1986.

Lesch, Ann M. "Palestine Liberation Organization." In Oxford Companion of Politics of the World, edited by Joel Krieger. New York: Oxford University Press, 1993.

Miller, Aaron David. The PLO and the Politics of Survival. New York: Praeger, 1983.

Nassar, Jamal R. The Palestine Liberation Organization: From Armed Struggle to the Declaration of Independence. New York: Praeger, 1991.

Rubin, Barry. Revolution until Victory? The Politics and History of the PLO. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1994.

Sayigh, Yezid. Armed Struggle and the Search for State: The Palestinian National Movement, 19491993. Oxford: Clarendon, 1997.

philip mattar

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO)." Encyclopedia of the Modern Middle East and North Africa. . Encyclopedia.com. 24 Apr. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO)." Encyclopedia of the Modern Middle East and North Africa. . Encyclopedia.com. (April 24, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/palestine-liberation-organization-plo

"Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO)." Encyclopedia of the Modern Middle East and North Africa. . Retrieved April 24, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/palestine-liberation-organization-plo

Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO)

Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO)

BIBLIOGRAPHY

The Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) is an umbrella political organization founded in 1964 to deal with the problems of the Palestinian Arab refugees. The 1947 United Nations Partition Plan for Palestine (UN General Assembly Resolution 181 of November 29, 1947) had divided the ex-British mandate territory of Palestine into a Jewish state and an Arab-Palestinian state, with the Greater Jerusalem area, including Bethlehem, placed under international administration. But the first Arab-Israeli war (19481949) led to a three-way partition of Palestine and the problem of the so-called occupied Palestinian territories. Egypt took the Gaza Strip, the kingdom of Transjordan (later Jordan) took the West Bank (of the River Jordan), and the rest of Palestine was incorporated into the newly formed State of Israel, prompting the exodus of hundreds of thousands of Palestinian Arabs who were dispersed to refugee camps all over the Arab world. The PLO emerged from the angry despair of the homeless and impoverished Palestinian refugees and their desire to establish an independent Palestinian state in the occupied territories.

The PLO is governed by a legislative body called the Palestinian National Council (PNC), which elects an executive committee to assume leadership of the organization between its sessions. The PNC meets every two years and passes resolutions by a simple majority with a two-thirds quorum. The first PNC, composed of 389 nominated representatives from Palestinian diaspora communities in Jordan, Gaza, Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, Kuwait, Iraq, Qatar, Libya, and Algeria, met in East Jerusalem, Jordan, on May 29, 1964, and adopted the Palestinian National Covenant (Palestines constitutional charter). It established the PLO as the political voice of the Palestinian people and elected Ahmad Al-Shuqeiry (19081980) as the first chairman of the PLO Executive Committee.

Fatah, an Egyptian-backed guerrilla movement led by Yasser Arafat (19292004), joined the PLO in 1968. It was followed by other Palestinian guerrilla groups (fedayeen ) such as the pro-Syrian As Saiqa, the Marxist-oriented Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), and the leftist Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP), among others. The PLOs military wing, the Palestine Liberation Army (PLA), began staging acts of guerrilla warfare against military and civilian targets inside Israel, as well as Jewish targets in third countries; the Israeli government has branded these acts terrorism. Arafat became PLO leader in 1969 and declared himself the only legitimate spokesman for the Palestinian people. For much of its history, the PLO regarded Israel as an illegitimate foreign presence in Palestine, because neither the local Palestinian Arabs nor any neighboring Arab country have ever agreed to the creation of a Jewish state in their midst. The PLO leadership has accused Israel of illegally occupying the Arab lands in Palestine, especially the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, which were captured by Israel during the Six-Day War of June 1967. The PLO has also insisted on the right to return to their ancestral homes for hundreds of thousands of Palestinian refugees (and their descendants) who were forced into exile in 1948.

The PLO was expelled from its guerrilla bases in Jordan after a bloody confrontation with the army of Jordanian King Hussein I (19351999) in September 1970 (which became known as Black September because as many as 3,400 Palestinians were killed in the conflict). The defeated PLO relocated most of its fighting force to refugee camps in Lebanon and Syria. In 1974 the Arab League proclaimed the PLO the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinians, with Jordan and Egypt giving up their claims to the West Bank and Gaza, respectively. In the same year, Arafat called for a democratic, secular Palestinian state, and the United Nations recognized the PLO as the government-in-exile responsible for all Palestinian affairs, according it the status of a permanent observer to the UN. Since then, more than 100 non-Arab states have also extended diplomatic recognition to the PLO as the legitimate representative of the Palestinian people. The PLO was granted full membership in the Arab League in 1976.

The PLO became embroiled in the first phase of the bloody Lebanese Civil War (19751977), but suffered defeat at the hands of the Syrian army, which in 1976 invaded Lebanon in support of the Christian-dominated government in Beirut. Arafat rejected the Camp David Accords of 1977 and accused Egyptian president Anwar Al Sadat (19181981) of betraying the Palestinian people and all other Arab nations, but at the same time called for diplomacy to resolve the Palestinian problem. The PLO suffered another setback in 1982 when the Israeli invasion of Lebanon forced some 8,500 of its fighters to leave their stronghold in West Beirut and resettle in other Arab countries, such as Tunisia and Syria. In 1985 the Israeli air force bombed the PLO headquarters in Tunisia, inflicting significant losses of life, but missing Arafat. The PLO was caught by surprise by the first Palestinian intifada (19871993), and while it was trying to help and direct the anti-Israeli uprising from abroad, the local radical Islamic groups Hamas and Islamic Jihad challenged its leadership position within the occupied territories. The PLO also lost financial support from wealthy Arab Gulf states for backing Iraq during the First Gulf War (19901991).

With U.S. support, Israel refused to negotiate with the PLO, insisting that it would only talk to Palestinian representatives from the occupied territories, which complicated and delayed the peace process. In reaction to the intifada, the PLO unilaterally declared an independent Arab state of Palestine at the nineteenth PNC session held in Algiers in 1988. Arafat expressed support for a UN Security Council resolution calling for a two-state settlement on the pre-1967 borders (which had been vetoed by the United States in January 1976), with Israel and Palestine living side by side, provided that East Jerusalem became the capital of the Palestinian state and Palestinian refugees were given the right to return to their pre-1948 homes in Israel. On September 13, 1993, after months of U.S.-brokered back-channel negotiations, Arafat signed an historic peace agreement with Israel in Oslo, Norway, even though such an accommodation was vehemently opposed by radicals within the PLOs own ranks and by irreconcilable Palestinian groups such as Hamas and Islamic Jihad. The agreement, known as the Oslo Accords, involved mutual recognition, with security guarantees to and from Israel, and the gradual introduction of Palestinian self-government and autonomy in Gaza and parts of the West Bank until a final peace settlement was signed. A year later, Arafat appointed a provisional government, the nineteen-member Palestinian Authority, to administer the areas of Palestinian self-rule. He was elected president of the Palestinian-controlled territories in 1996. The PLO convened a PNC session in Gaza in April 1996, which voted with 504 votes in favor and 54 against to recognize Israels right to exist.

Mahmoud Abbas (b. 1935), a moderate Fatah politician, was appointed Palestinian prime minister in 2003 in the midst of the second intifada (20002006). In the same year, Palestinians and Israelis agreed to new negotiations based on the U.S.-proposed roadmap to peace, although this failed to stop the daily violent attacks and reprisals. However, Abbas soon resigned after clashing with Arafat over control of the PLOs security forces. Following Arafats death in November 2004, Abbas succeeded him as PLO leader and was elected Palestinian Authority president in January 2005.

In an unexpected blow to Abbas, Hamas swept the Palestinian parliamentary elections in January 2006 and formed a Hamas-led Palestinian Authority cabinet that promised to rid Palestinians of the rampant corruption, mismanagement of foreign aid, and endemic abuses of power under Fatahs rule. The result was an escalating conflict between President Abbas and Palestinian prime minister Ismail Haniyeh (b. 1963) of Hamas over many issues, including Hamass retaliatory missile attacks on Israeli territory and Abbass plan to hold a referendum to force Hamas to recognize Israel. To end sporadic armed clashes between Hamas members and the Fatah-controlled security forces, a Hamas-led coalition government with the participation of several Fatah-supported ministers was formed in March 2007. But the Hamas-Fatah coalition collapsed in June 2007 when a military confrontation between the two rival groups led to Hamass victory and takeover of Gaza. Without the consent of the Hamasdominated Palestinian parliament, Abbas dissolved the coalition government and appointed an emergency cabinet led by pro-Fatah prime minister Salam Fayyad (b. 1952) on June 17, 2007, signaling a newly divided Palestine ruled by the Iranian-backed Hamas in Gaza and the American-backed Fatah in the West Bank.

SEE ALSO Arab-Israeli War of 1967; Arafat, Yasir; Intifada, The; Palestinian Authority; Palestinian Diaspora; Palestinians; Peace Process

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Khalidi, Rashid. 2006. The Iron Cage: The Story of the Palestinian Struggle for Statehood. Boston: Beacon.

Mussalam, Sami. 1988. The Palestine Liberation Organization: Its Function and Structure. Brattleboro, VT: Amana.

Nassar, Jamal R. 1991. The Palestine Liberation Organization: From Armed Struggle to the Declaration of Independence. New York: Praeger.

Reische, Diana L. 1991. Arafat and the Palestine Liberation Organization. New York: F. Watts.

Sela, Avraham, and Moshe Maoz, eds. 1997. The PLO and Israel: From Armed Conflict to Political Solution, 19641994. New York: St. Martins Press.

Smith, Charles D. 1996. Palestine and the Arab-Israeli Conflict. New York: St. Martins Press.

Rossen Vassilev

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO)." International Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences. . Encyclopedia.com. 24 Apr. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO)." International Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences. . Encyclopedia.com. (April 24, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/social-sciences/applied-and-social-sciences-magazines/palestine-liberation-organization-plo

"Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO)." International Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences. . Retrieved April 24, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/social-sciences/applied-and-social-sciences-magazines/palestine-liberation-organization-plo

Palestine Liberation Organization

Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), coordinating council for Palestinian organizations, founded (1964) by Egypt and the Arab League and initially controlled by Egypt. Composed of various guerrilla groups and political factions, the PLO is dominated by Al Fatah, the largest group, whose leader, Yasir Arafat, was chairman of the PLO from 1969 to 2004 and established Palestinian control over the organization. Other groups in the PLO include the Syrian-backed As Saiqa and the Marxist-oriented Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP).

The PLO was initially committed to the dissolution of Israel, mainly through the use of armed force. Since its founding, the organization has sponsored innumerable guerrilla raids on Israeli civilian and military targets. although it has disclaimed responsibility for many of the Palestinian movement's more spectacular acts of terror. In 1974 the PLO received UN recognition, and a government in exile was recognized by Arab nations as a basis for a future Palestinian state, to be formed from land regained from Israel along the west bank of the Jordan River. In 1976 the PLO was granted full membership in the Arab League.

In 1982 the PLO was weakened when, after the Israeli siege of Beirut, Lebanon (see Arab-Israeli Wars), PLO guerrillas in West Beirut were dispersed to other Arab countries. In 1988 the PLO responded to the Palestinian uprising, or Intifada, in the West Bank and Gaza Strip by proclaiming the establishment of an independent Palestinian state. The PLO also equivocally recognized Israel's right to exist and renounced terrorism.

In 1991 the Lebanese army, with Syrian backing, forced the PLO out of its strongholds in S Lebanon, and PLO relations with the West deteriorated because of PLO support of Iraq in the Persian Gulf War. In 1993, a peace agreement between the PLO and Israel was reached providing for mutual recognition and a transition to a degree of Palestinian self-rule in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. In 1994, Arafat appointed an interim 19-member Palestinian Authority (PA), under his direction, to administer Palestinian affairs in the areas of self-rule; the Palestinian Authority has since become independent of the PLO. Under a 1995 accord, self-rule was extended over a two-year period to all major Arab cities and villages in the West Bank, except East Jerusalem.

Arafat was elected president of the Palestinian-controlled territory in 1996. In the same year the PLO formally revoked all clauses in its founding charter that called for the dissolution of Israel, and Arafat pledged to fight terrorism. Agreements in the late 1990s gradually increased the area of the West Bank under Palestinian control, but violence resumed in 2000 after further negotiations with Israel stalled. Following Arafat's death in 2004, Mahmoud Abbas succeeded him as PLO chairman and in 2005 as Palestinian president. In the Palestinian legislative council elections in 2006, Hamas won a majority of the seats in a victory that in part was a rejection of the corruption and failures associated with the PLO. Subsequently there was fighting between Al Fatah and Hamas forces in 2006 and 2007, and when Hamas seized control in Gaza in June, 2007, Abbas dismissed the Hamas-led government, accusing it of an attempted coup. Attempts since then to establish a national unity government including both Al Fatah and Hamas failed until 2014, but tensions between the two continued .

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Palestine Liberation Organization." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. 24 Apr. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Palestine Liberation Organization." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. (April 24, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/palestine-liberation-organization

"Palestine Liberation Organization." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Retrieved April 24, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/palestine-liberation-organization

Palestine Liberation Organization

Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) Organization of Palestinian parties and groups, widely recognized as the main representative of the Palestinian people. Founded in 1964, with the aim of dissolving the state of Israel and establishing a Palestinian state to enable Palestinian refugees to return to their ancestral land, many of its component guerrilla groups engaged in political violence against Israel. In the 1970s, these guerrilla activities escalated into acts of international terrorism. Dominated by the al-Fatah group led by Yasir Arafat, in 1974 the United Nations and the Arab League recognized the PLO as a government-in-exile. In the early 1990s, PLO representatives conducted secret negotiations with Israel, culminating in the Israeli-Palestinian Accord (1993). See also Gaza Strip; Palestine; West Bank

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Palestine Liberation Organization." World Encyclopedia. . Encyclopedia.com. 24 Apr. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Palestine Liberation Organization." World Encyclopedia. . Encyclopedia.com. (April 24, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/environment/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/palestine-liberation-organization

"Palestine Liberation Organization." World Encyclopedia. . Retrieved April 24, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/environment/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/palestine-liberation-organization