Palestine Liberation Organization

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, 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.

Arabic Munazsubdotzsubdotamat al-Tahsubdotrīr al-Filastsubdotīniyyah

Umbrella political organization representing the Palestinian people in their drive for a Palestinian state. It was formed in 1964 to centralize the leadership of various groups. After the Six-Day War of 1967, the PLO promoted a distinctively Palestinian agenda. In 1969 Yāsir aynArafāt, leader of Fatah, the PLO's largest faction, became its chairman. From the late 1960s the PLO engaged in guerrilla attacks on Israel from bases in Jordan, from which it was expelled in 1971. PLO headquarters moved to Lebanon. In 1974 aynArafāt advocated limiting PLO activity to direct attacks against Israel, and the Arab community recognized the PLO as the sole legitimate representative of all Palestinians. It was admitted to the Arab League in 1976. In 1982 Israel invaded Lebanon and expelled PLO forces based there. In 1988 the PLO leadership, then based in Tunis, declared a Palestinian state and the following year elected aynArafāt its president. It also recognized Israel's right to exist, though several militant factions dissented. In 1993 Israel recognized the PLO by signing an agreement with it granting Palestinian self-rule in parts of the West Bank and Gaza Strip. The PLO became an integral part of the Palestinian National Authority. Seealso Palestine; Lebanese civil war; Hsubdotamās; intifādsubdotah.

Learn more about Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) with a free trial on Britannica.com.

Until the January 2006 legislative election the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) was the main Palestinian organization. It has maintained conflictual ties with the Hamas over the years, which culminated with the election of the latter party. However, before the transfer of power, the Fatah-dominated Palestinian Authority (PA) assembly voted the automatic membership of the PLO to all Palestinian deputies. Hamas deputies are therefore members of the PLO, which has officially recognized Israel.

The rhetoric, methodology, and end-goals of these two parties have vastly differed at times, leading to ideological and political rifts between them. Hamas has described itself as posing a challenge to the PLO's authority, and charges that many of its leaders have been arrested by the PA.

Under the Oslo Accords, the PLO was obliged to refrain from incitement to terrorism and to act against terrorism. Critics charge that the PLO has violated this agreement by supporting Hamas.

In 1996, following 1996 Hamas's wave of suicide bombings which removed dovish Shimon Peres from office, the PA had a major crackdown on Hamas cells, but all the activists were released in 2000 and 2001. Israel claimed that the PA was following a "revolving door" policy in which activists were arrested following international pressure, and released quietly shortly afterwards.

See also

Search another word or see Palestine Liberation Organizationon Dictionary | Thesaurus |Spanish
Copyright © 2014 Dictionary.com, LLC. All rights reserved.
  • Please Login or Sign Up to use the Recent Searches feature
FAVORITES
RECENT

;