Mercurial Essays

Free Essays & Assignment Examples

Palestinian Liberation Organization

1.Can the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) justifiably claim
to be ‘the sole, legitimate representative of the Palestinian people.’?
The PLO was set up in 1964 by an Arab League decision in response
to growing signs of Palestinian unrest. The Palestinians desired to reclaim
the lands occupied by Israel, which they felt belonged to them, as said in
the Bible. In 1964 the Arab states created the Palestine Liberation
Organization (PLO). While it was supposed to represent the Palestinians,
in reality it represented the views of President Nasser of Egypt, who
guided the formation of the PLO. Its first leader made wild and
irresponsible threats to drive Israelis into the sea, and had little
support among Palestinians for he was seen as a puppet of the Egyptians. In
the 1960s Palestinian students began to form their own organizations
independent of control by Arab governments (although the Syrians, Libyans,
and Iraqis continued to fund and control particular groups). Yasser Arafat
founded an independent Palestinian-run party called Fatah. He is said to
have the backing, for most of the recent past, of about 80% of the
Palestinian people. The position of the Arab governments was that a PLO
under Arab League supervision would be the best way of satisfying the
demands made by an emerging Palestinian national consciousness. Also, it
was felt that through such an organization Arab governments could control
Palestinian political activities.

Ten years after its founding, the PLO was raised to the status of
government. And in 1988, the PLO’s status was to be raised again, this
time to a state in exile. After several negotiations, Arafat became a
Terrorist leader and administrator of self-rule in the West Bank and the
Gaza Strip.

We Will Write a Custom Essay Specifically
For You For Only $13.90/page!

order now

In the 1967 Six Day War, the Arab armies did very badly against
Israel, losing 67,000 square kilometres of land. Palestinians came to
believe that if they were ever to have their land, they would have to do it
themselves. After the 1967 war, the situation changed drastically. The
resistance activities of various guerrilla organizations, in particular the
Al-Fatah and the PFLP, gained the increasing support of the Palestinians.

With Arafat at the helm from 1969 and a resistance-oriented leadership, the
PLO was more effective and played a central role in mobilizing the
Palestinians and in expanding its basis of support both at the local and
international level. The PLO became an umbrella organization for the
various guerrilla groups.

This increase in support was made possible because of the
Al-Fatah’s ability to access to the growing numbers of volunteers from
refugee camps which were freshly swollen due to the 1967 war. Most of these
refugees suffered the frustration of having been displaced twice in a
lifetime. This generated, especially among the young, a mood of defiance,
as they were ready to question the credibility of the idea of relying on
Arab governments to liberate Palestine. Furthermore, as a consequence of
the war a large proportion of the Palestinian community became
territorially united. This brought the possibility of direct interaction
between the various sections of the Palestinian community that had
previously remained isolated from each other. On the other hand, the
inability of the PLO’s conservative leadership to promote any effective
resistance operations culminated in the eventual transfer of power to the
armed-struggle orientated guerrilla organizations.Thus initially, the
PLO had a broad base of support and represented the desires of the majority
of the Palestinian people.

The origins of the Al-Fatah can be traced back to the mid-1950s to
a group of Palestinians that had neither relinquished their national
identity nor their belief in the necessity of liberating Palestine via
Palestinian means, rather than relying on other Arab states. Yet,
throughout the 1950s the attitude of the Palestinians remained largely
skeptical if not uncommitted to Al-Faith’s ideology. It was in the 1960s
that the situation began to change, enabling Al-Fatah to expand its
organizational structure and base. Under the leadership of Arafat,
Al-Fatah pursued an ideology which simply stresses the nationalist struggle
to liberate Palestine without dwelling too deeply on any theoretical
speculations about the nature and form of the future Palestinian society.

This tactic was essential in gaining support against other movements, and


I'm Belinda!

Would you like to get a custom essay? How about receiving a customized one?

Check it out