What led to the founding of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) in 1964?
PLO was founded in 1964 as a result of the Palestinian nationalist movement with the aim to establish an independent state for the Palestinians. It was formed because Palestinians did not trust their protection with other Arab nations and wanted to fight independently for their rights and for a homeland that Israel had taken away from them. The meeting was held in Jerusalem after the Arab-Israeli war with its first leader being Ahmed Shukairy. The footing for establishing such an organization was laid down in 1964 in Cairo at an Arab League meeting where some parties believe that the reason for its establishment was Arab nations’ duplicity.
At another Arab League meeting, PLO was officially recognized as the representative of Palestine for the first time. This meeting was held in Rabat, Morocco. PLO got the title of ‘the sole representative of Palestine’ by the over 100 nations that it enjoys diplomatic relations with and by the United Nations as well. The organization is composed of a number of guerilla groups and separate political factions; however, Al Fatah remains the most dominant group. These other groups include such as Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), a Marxist oriented group and As-Saiqa, based in Syria. The Palestinian National Army launched several attacks against Israel but it was never a major resistance operation. The PLO began building a more militant standing, establishing Yasser Arafat as the leader and working through his Fatah organization, when Israel brought destruction to the armed forces of Jordan, Egypt and Syria and took over the Gaza Strip, the West Bank and the Golan Heights after the Six Day War. One of the earliest strategies that Arafat adopted was to put a stop to Arab involvement in PLO’s business. He also made amendments in the Palestine’s National Council Charter. Arafat combined the goals of liberating Palestine and establishing a democratic state for both Arabs and Jews. He was made the chairman of the Executive Committee of the PLO, a position he held till his death. The start of 1980’s saw PLO dividing into several organizations but the ideology remained the same for everyone. Since its establishment, the PLO has launched a number of attacks against Israeli civilians and military. However, it has denied its involvement in some major attacks with Arafat’s public renouncement of terrorism. In 1993, a peace agreement was signed between the PLO and Israel with the terms stating a mutual recognition of the authority and allowing self-rule in Gaza Strip and West Bank. To administer the affairs of this newly formed self-rule, Arafat established Palestinian Authority comprising of 19 members which became independent of the PLO. Mahmoud Abbas succeeded Arafat as a Chairman of PLO and as Palestinian president.