Palestine Liberation Army
PALESTINE LIBERATION ARMY
At the time of its first meeting in 1964, the Palestine National Council (PNC) decided that the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) must equip itself with a regular military force, called the Palestine Liberation Army (PLA). This resolution was modified at the fourth session of the PNC (held in Cairo in July 1968), where the influence of al-Fatah came to the fore. Thereafter the PLA came under the authority of the executive committee of the PLO, led by Yasir Arafat, whose duty it would be to "encourage the enrolment of Palestinians in Arab military academies and institutions, so as to acquire military training; to mobilize all the Palestinian forces and energies in preparation for the fight for liberty." Officially the PLA was comprised of four contingents or brigades based in different Arab countries: "Ain Jalut" in Egypt, "Qadisiya" in Iraq, "al-Badr" in Jordan, and "Hattin" in Syria. On 19 February 1969, the executive committee of the PLO created the Palestinian Armed Struggle Command (PASC) for the purpose of coordinating the actions of the PLA with those of other Palestinian armed forces. During the Arab-Israel War (1973), some of its units participated in combat against the Israel Defense Force. In 1983, during the sixteenth meeting of the PNC in Algiers, the organization's name was changed to the Palestinian National Liberation Army (PNLA). This change reflected the desire of Arafat to tighten the ranks among combatants in each of the different movements, after some Palestinian forces based in Lebanon, commanded by Tariq al-Khudra, had rallied to Syria. The elements that had remained loyal to Arafat were integrated into the PNLA, under the command of General Ahmed Afanah. In 1994, following the establishment of the Palestinian Authority, some of the PNLA members joined the ranks of the new Palestinian Police, while others decided to remain in the army of their host country.