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Home > Background > Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO)

Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO)

Now the Palestinian Authority, it was established in May 1964, following an Arab league decision, under the chairmanship of Ahmad Shuqeiri. A meeting was held in Jerusalem between the 400+ Palestinian members who founded the Palestine Liberation Organization and laid down the structure of the Palestine National Council, the PLO Executive Committee, the Palestine Central Council, the National Fund and the Palestine Liberation Army as well as approving a Palestinian national covenant and basic law; since then the PLO has been an umbrella organization for various Palestinian factions and resistance groups. The organization became independent when taken over by the "Fatah" group with Yasser Arafat as chairman in 1969, which then acquired a more central role in mobilizing Palestinians, as well as gaining international support; the PLO created a number of organizations to provide education, healthcare, and to relieve the living conditions of the Palestinian people. It formed a quasi-governmental structure performing tasks in the areas of internal security, military operations, finances, information, foreign relations etc..

Early ideology of the PLO followed-pan-Arabism; the highest executive body is the Executive Committee, consisting of 12 members elected by the PNC and which has full operational authority over all member Palestinian-organizations. Gaining a more independent identity under Arafat's guidance, the focus was on primacy of Palestinian interests and the role of the "national" (rather than the united) struggle, which is considered a root of Palestinian nationalism. The PLO was granted access to the security council in 1965, and was recognized by the UN General Assembly as the representative of the Palestinian people (Resolution 3210) on October 14th 1974, and hence, given the status of observer ship.

The PLO declared Palestinian independence on November 15th 1988; and as a pre condition for representation in the USA for planned peace negotiations with Israel, it announced it's recognition of Israel's right to exist, and renunciation of all forms of terrorism. The PLO's headquarters was in Lebanon Until it was evacuated in the aftermath of the Israeli invasion in 1982; reestablished its headquarters in Tunis where it stayed until it moved to the Palestinian autonomous areas (Gaza and Jericho) in July 1994, following the Declaration of Principles of September 13th 1993 and the Cairo Agreements of May 4th 1994.

Palestinian National Council:

Legislative body of the PLO; ultimate decision-making authority of the Palestinians; formulates policies, issues guidelines to the executive Committee, and nominates its members; in effect the Palestinian parliament in-exile with representatives of al sections of the Palestinian community such as resistance groups, trade unions and professional organizations; declared Palestinian independence on November 15th 1988; Current membership is 483, selected either by appointment or election, depending on local conditions in the countries where Palestinians live; 84 seats for representatives from the OPT are left vacant.

PLO Executive Committee:

Highest executive body; consisting of 18 members elected by the PNC; full operational authority over all PLO organizations and budget; directs the activities of the PLO in accordance with the Covenant and the Basic Law; members have ministerial positions in the various PLO departments responsible for foreign affairs, higher education, military, the OPT, national relations (with Arab states), popular organizations, information and culture, administration, social affairs, economics, planning, health and finance.

Palestine Central Council:

Established in 1973 as consultative body to the Executive Committee; became a consultative and legislative body at the 20th PNC meeting in 1991; membership is now elected from among members of the PNC; meets regularly every six months and plays the role of the PNC when PNC is not in session.

Palestinian Liberation Army:

Formed in 1964 as military component of the PLO; until 1967 centered in Gaza with links to Egypt; under Arafat's early PLO leadership followed the strategy of guerilla warfare; most of the forces were deployed in Syria and Lebanon with headquarters in Damascus; some units deployed in the OPT following the DOP of 13 September 1993 and Cairo Agreement of 4 May 1994.

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Added: May 2011
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