The neutrality of this article is disputed.

The Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) is an organization of Palestinian Arabs, considered terrorist by many states and groups, dedicated to the establishment of an independent Palestinian state to consist of the area between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea, with an intent to replace Israel. In recent years the official goal has been redefined to consist of only the West Bank and Gaza Strip, although substantial parts of the organization do not abide by the new definition.

See Palestinian state, Palestinian territories.

Founded in 1964, The PLO has a nominal legislative body of 300 members, the Palestine National Council (PNC). Actual political power and decisions are controlled by the PLO Executive Committee, made up of 15 people voted in by the PNC. PLO ideology can be found in its constitution, the Palestinian National Charter, which was created in 1964. This covenant was amended in 1968; this version is made up of 33 articles. The original intention of the PLO was to establish a state of Palestine, which was called for in the Palestinian National Charter. Many articles in the Charter were publically abrogated in 1993, but a new official text has not been produced.

In the 1970s the PLO, was an umbrella group of 8 organizations headquartered in Damascus and Beirut, all devoted to what the United States, Israel and other groups call "terrorism". Its Palestine Liberation Army was 12,000 men strong, led by Yasser Arafat. The PLO included Fatah, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine - General Command (PFLP-GC) and the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP).

The PLO and its leader Yasser Arafat has since become the generally accepted organization of the Palestinian people and its desire to have a nation of its own. The PLO has observer status in the United Nations.

Table of contents
1 Timeline
2 Criticism against the PLO
3 Statements made by PLO
4 See Also
5 External links


The PLO was founded on June 2, 1964. The first executive committee was formed on August 9, with Ahmad Shuqeiri as its leader.

At the Palestinian National Congress in Cairo on February 3, 1969 Arafat was appointed PLO leader.

The United Nations General Assembly granted the PLO observer status on November 22, 1974.

On January 12, 1976 the UN Security Council voted 11-1 with 3 absentions to allow the Palestinian Liberation Organization to participate in a Security Council debate without voting rights, a privilege usually restricted to UN member states.

In 1982, the PLO relocated to Tunis, Tunisia after it was driven out of Lebanon by Israel, during Israel's six-month invasion of southern Lebanon.

In 1988, the Palestine National Council adopted a resolution calling for the implementation of applicable United Nations resolutions, particularly, Resolutions 242 and 338. Some Palestinians recognized Israel's right to exist within pre-1967 borders, with the understanding that they would be allowed to set up their own state led by Yassir Arafat in the West Bank and Gaza. A significant minority within the PLO at this time still held the view that a future Palestinian state would include the territory of Jordan. An area that was part of Palestine administered by Great Britain from 1917 till 1922.

In 1993, the PLO secretly negotiated the Oslo Accords with Israel. The accords were signed on August 20, 1993. There was a subsequent public ceremony in Washington D.C. on September 13, 1993 with Yasser Arafat and Yitzhak Rabin. The Accords granted the Palestinians right to self-government on the Gaza Strip and the West Bank through the creation of the Palestinian Authority. Yasser Arafat was appointed head of the PA and the PLO came to dominate the administration. The headquarters of the PA (and thereby Yasser Arafat and the PLO) were established in Ramallah on the West Bank.

On September 9, 1993, Arafat issued a press release stating that "the PLO recognizes the right of the State of Israel to exist in peace and security". Some factions within the PLO and the PA, who used to seek peaceful coexistence with Israel while creating a Palestinian state within the West Bank and Gaza, have lost popular support due to the reoccupation of PA controlled areas in the West Bank.

In addition to Arafat, the PLO has many other well known leaders. One of them is the Palestinian Christian Hanan Ashrawi. She is a Professor of Literature at a West Bank university who has contributed to the understanding of English literature among the Palestinians and developed and compiled that people's own literature. By doing so, Palestinian identity and development has been furthered, consistent with the basic principles of the PLO.

Numerous leaders within the PLO and the PA, including Yasser Arafat himself, have declared that the State of Israel has a permanent right to exist, and that the peace treaty with Israel is genuine. Some Palestinian officials have stated that the peace treaty must be viewed as a permanent. A significant portion of the Israeli public has recognized the right of the Palestinian Arabs for a state of their own. At the same time, a significant portion of the Israeli public and some potical leaders (including the former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu) express doubt over whether a peaceful, coherent state can be founded by the PLO and call for significant re-organization, including the elimination of all terrorism, before any talk about independence.

Criticism against the PLO

The text of the Palestine National Charter as amended in 1968 contains many clauses calling for the destruction of the state of Israel. In letters exchanged between Arafat and Rabin in conjunction with the 1993 Oslo Accords, Arafat agreed that those clauses would be removed. On 26 April, 1996, the Palestine National Council voted to nullify or amend all such clauses, and called for a new text to be produced. A letter from Arafat to US President Clinton in 1998 listed the clauses concerned, and a meeting of the Palestine Central Committee approved that list. A public meeting of PLO, PNC and PCC members also confirmed the letter in Clinton's presence. Nevertheless, a new text of the Charter has never been produced, and this is the source of a continuing controversy. Critics of the Palestinian organizations claim that failure to produce a new text proves the insincerity of the clause nullifications. One of several Palestinian responses is that the proper replacement of the Charter will be the constitution of the forthcoming state of Palestine. The published draft constitution states that the territory of Palestine "is an indivisible unit based upon its borders on the 4th of June 1967".

During the al-Aqsa Intifada, the PLO leadership has maintained connections with its military wing, the Fatah, parts of which (the Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades in particular) are held responsible for terrorist attacks against Israeli civilians. The Israeli government alleges that the PLO has harbored and sponsored Fatah terrorists. A number of terrorists killing in operations have been PA policemen and other PA employees. For these reasons, from the year 2000 to the present PLO and PA administrative buildings have in total sustained more than numerous Israeli attacks. This has seriously undermined the PA's ability to function properly in the West Bank. The PA infrastructure in the Gaza Strip remains essentially intact.

Statements made by PLO

''The PLO has a wide diversity of opinions within it, some more peaceful than others. The opinions expressed by some PLO members do not necessarily reflect the organization as a whole.

On accepting Israel:

*"Consequently, the PLO undertakes to submit to the Palestinian National Council for formal approval the necessary changes in regard to the Palestinian covenant." --Yasser Arafat, Chairman of the PLO (in the exchange of letters with Israel on 9 September 1993)

"Israel must not demand that the PLO alter its covenant, just as the PLO does not demand that the Jewish nation cancel the Bible." --Ziad Abu Ziad, senior PLO official (in a speech to the American Jewish Federation, 23 October 1993)

* "Palestinians are no strangers to compromise. In the 1993 Oslo Accords, we agreed to recognize Israeli sovereignty over 78 percent of historic Palestine and to establish a Palestinian state on only 22 percent." -- Saeb Erakat, Chief Palestinian negotiator, August 5, 2000

On the goals of the Peace Process:

"When we are asking all the Palestinian forces and factions to look at the Oslo Agreement and at other agreements as "temporary" procedures, or phased goals, this means that we are ambushing the Israelis and cheating them. However, the truth is that we are doing exactly what they are doing. The proof for that is that they are aware of, and are not trying to hide, the fact that there is nothing that unites them more around the territory which extends from the Nile to the Euphrates, than their slogan, which was taken from the Torah, and reads: 'These are the borders of the greater land of Israel.'...

"We are [acting] exactly like [the Israelis]. In 1947, in accordance with [the UN] Partition Plan, they decided to declare statehood on 55% of the land of Palestine, which they later increased to 78% during the War of 1948, and then again [increased it] to 100% during the War of 1967. Despite all that, they never attempted to make secret of their long-term goal, which is "Greater Israel" from the Nile to the Euphrates. Similarly, if we agree to declare our state over what is now only 22% of Palestine, meaning the West Bank and Gaza our ultimate goal is [still] the liberation of all historical Palestine from the [Jordan] River to the [Mediterranean] Sea, even if this means that the conflict will last for another thousand years or for many generations...

"If you are asking me, as a man who belongs to the Islamic faith, my answer is also "From the river to the sea," the entire land is an Islamic Waqf which can not be bought or sold, and it is impossible to remain silent while someone is stealing it " -- Faisal Husseini (1940-2001), Fatah leader and PA Minister for Jerusalem, 'Al-Arabi' (Egypt), June 24, 2001. [1]. Similar statements made in the newspaper 'As-Safir' on March 3, 2001 page 23 of the report [1]

On whether the PLO police force will work with Israel against terrorism:

"The Joint Security Coordination and Cooperation Committee set up under Article II hereunder shall develop a plan to ensure full coordination between the Israeli military forces and the Palestinian police..." -- from the agreement signed by Israel and the PLO in Cairo on 4 May 1994 (paragraph 2a of Annex I to the agreement)

"Anyone who thinks the Palestinian police will try to prevent attacks outside the borders of the autonomous area is making a bitter mistake." --- Sufian Abu Zaida, a leader of Yasser Arafat's Fatah faction in Gaza (Maariv, 25 April 1994)

"If there are those who oppose the agreement with Israel, the gates are open to them to intensify the armed struggle." -- Jibril Rajoub, PLO security chief for the West Bank, during a lecture at Bethlehem University (Yediot Aharonot, 27 May 1994)

On the right of return of Palestinian refugees:

"I recently read an interview with an elderly Palestinian woman living in the Ein el Hilwa camp in Lebanon. Tightly gripping the rusted key to her family's farm near Jaffa, she asked her interviewer how she should explain to her grandchildren, who had known only the stench of the camp's open sewers, what it was like to wake up to the scent of fresh lemons." -- Elia Zureik, a Professor of Sociology at Queen's University, Kingston, Canada, Advises the Palestine Liberation Organization on Refugee Issues

"800,000 Palestinians among those who left after 1967 will come back in the transitional period, which is five years. Those who left in 1948 will come back after the declaration of the Palestinian independent state." -- Nabil Sha'ath, head of the PLO delegation to the talks with Israel in Taba (Al-Hayat, 28 September 1993)

"In my opinion, the refugees problem is more important than a Palestinian state" -- Faruk Kadumi, general secretery of the Fatah council (Kul Al-Arab, 3 Jannuar 2003)

On why the PLO signed the Cairo agreement with Israel:

"The money is the carrot for signing the peace agreement with Israel. We have signed." -- Hassan Abu Libdah, deputy chairman of the PLO's Palestinian Economic Council for Development and Reconstruction (The New York Times, 10 June 1994)

On Palestinian statehood:
"Palestinians believe that Jerusalem should be a shared, open city; two capitals for two states." -- Faisal Husseni, senior PLO representative in Israel, July 3, 2000

"Gradually, stage by stage, we will reach an independent Palestinian state with Jerusalem as the capital." -- Feisal Husseini, senior PLO representative in Israel (Beirut Times, 16 September 1993)

The Palestinian flag "will fly over the walls of [Eastern] Jerusalem, the churches of Jerusalem and the mosques of Jerusalem." -- Yasser Arafat, Chairman of the PLO (Jordanian TV, 13 September 1993)

On the Hamas and the Islamic Jihad:

"We never been different from Hamas. More, Hamas is a national movement and a part of the national movement. In the strategic sense, we are no different from Hamas." -- Faruk Kadumi, general secretery of the Fatah council (Kul Al-Arab, 3 January 2003)

See Also

External links

History and Overview