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The Palestinian Liberation Organization Essay

1100 words - 4 pages

The Palestinian Liberation Organization, whilst proving to have little effectiveness in accomplishing their aims in the period of 1964-1974, had a significant and enduring effect on the events in the Middle East. Created in 1964 on the initiative of Egyptian president Nasser, the PLO would soon become one of the most influential bodies of the Arab-Israeli conflict. Born out of a desire to liberate the Palestinian homeland in an ‘armed struggle’, it was largely responsibly for the fedayeen raids that contributed to the outbreak of the 1967 war. Following the 1967 war, Palestinian nationalism grew, and a stronger sense of identity emerged. With this, the PLO under Yasser Arafat, became a powerful independent organization, that utilized terrorist activities to accomplish their objectives. However, these acts of terrorism proved to be ineffective in accomplishing the aims of the PLO, and so it turned to peace and diplomacy to achieve its goals. Accordingly, in the period of 1964-1974, the PLO was somewhat ineffective in achieving the aims of its covenant, accelerating the Palestinian cause in name only.

Forming in 1964, the PLO was to initially have somewhat of an effective role in the Arab-Israeli conflict till 1974. The organization set out with an aim of ‘organizing the Palestinian people to enable them to carry out their role in liberating the homeland and determining their destiny’. As Historian Sayigh suggest, the formation of the PLO saw the evolution of Palestinian national identity, providing Palestine with political legitimacy. Importantly however, the PLO itself was created by Nasser as a response to the fedayeen groups that threatened to drag Egypt into another war with Israel. The PLO had been continuing the border raids into Israel that had marked the escalation of previous wars. As such, the PLO’s involvement in border clashes in the early years of its inception, was an underlying cause of the 1967 war. The actions of the PLO in the lead up to the war, gave prominence to their cause, as they began to form foundations of the infrastructure for a Palestinian state. As such, the formation of the PLO, and their early involvements in the 1967 war, proved it to be a fairly influential participant of the conflict in the Middle East.

The aftermath of the 1967 marked a turning point and evolution in the responses of the PLO, which was to have substantial effects on the conflict. The 1967 war resulted in over 40% of Palestinians living under Israeli rule, following the capturing of the West Bank and Gaza. This convinced the Palestinians that the liberation of their land, lay in their own hands. Palestinian historian Khalidi comments that his people were “dealt with as refugees, rather than as a people with national rights.” As a result, raids into Israeli territories under the PLO intensified, as Palestinian nationalism and identity ensued. After 1967, the existing leadership of the PLO and their methods of conventional warfare were...

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