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The Palestine Liberation Organization Essay

933 words - 4 pages

The Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) is a complex movement, which stumbles from one setback to another. The PLO was riven with factionalism; it pursued revolution and diplomacy as if there were no contradiction between the terms. Then, at the moment of winning recognition from Israel, it seemed poised to lose its most precious asset - the support of the Palestinian people, whom it sought to serve. Barry Rubin wrote a history of the PLO in which he investigates and interprets its political circumstances, strategies, and doctrines from their inception in the late 1950s to the events of 1993 culminating in the Rabin-Arafat handshake on the White House lawn. His book aims to offer a ...view middle of the document...

The Fatah began their training in Algeria, moved to Damascus, and then in the period after the 1967 war, they took over the humiliated PLO. The Fatah leaders revised the PLO’s charter and organized a program of terror that would be the organization's hallmark for the next quarter century.
Rubin then goes on to discuss events happening in the 1970s, specifically in 1974 when the PLO deemphasized international terrorism (such as hijacking and assassinations) in favor of cross-border incursions into Israel and in 1976 with the PLO’s defeat by Syria in the Lebanese civil war. Next, he covers the 1980s, including the 1982 war that resulted in the subsequent onslaught against the PLO by Syria and its allied Amal forces and 1985 when there was a restoration of harmony with Jordan. To conclude, Rubin covered the period of 1991-1993, which included the acceleration of the “peace process” with the Madrid Peace Conference and the secret negotiations in Norway under the aegis of the Norwegian foreign minister.
One can tell that a big theme in the book is the length to which the PLO would repeatedly go to conduct its diplomacy on two levels, corresponding roughly to the distinction between words and deeds. Rubin's ending chapters remind the reader of just how deeply rooted the PLO's obsession is with driving Israel out of the Middle East. Rubin concludes by saying that "the PLO failed in achieving total victory, but it succeeded in becoming a key force in deciding the conflict's conclusion" (p. 207).
Above all, this book provides the reader with a vivid portrayal of the seemingly endless ups and downs of the PLO. Although Rubin...

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