Arafat And Plo Essay Research Paper

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Arafat And Plo Essay, Research Paper “Yasser Arafat and the Official Recognition of the Palestinian Liberation Organization” Background “We must remember that the main enemy of the Palestinian people, now and forever, is Israel. This is a truth that must never leave our minds.” — Palestinian Authority Justice Minister Freih Abu Middein, speaking at Al Azhar University in Gaza. (Al-Nahar, 11 April 1995; The Jerusalem Post, 17 April 1995) As expressed in the above quote, the establishment of the state of Israel in 1948 sparked much resentment from nearby Arab states, which immediately waged war against the new nation. As a result, a severe refugee problem was created among the Palestinians that had been living in and near the territories that were taken over by

Israel. An estimated 726,000 Palestinians were displaced; some were forced to other Arab states in the Middle East, while others were confined to refugee camps in Israel. In the mid-1950s, Arafat and several Palestinian Arab associates formed a movement known as Fatah, dedicated to “reclaiming Palestine for the Palestinians.” It quickly became the largest and most popular Palestinian organization mostly due to the fact that it did not define a distinct ideology, and kept a rather vague and unspecified platform in order to avoid too close an identification with any one particular Arab country. Fatah and other splinter sects eventually operated under an umbrella organization, the Palestine Liberation Organization, formed in 1964. Arafat, as a member of the Husseini family, had

a niche of credibility, an advantage that allowed him to quickly generate a loyal following (Bickerton 147). Running Fatah became Arafat’s full-time occupation, and by 1965 the organization was launching guerrilla raids and terrorist attacks into Israel. The PLO’s Tumultuous Beginning As Israel emerged victorious in the Six-Day War of 1967, and captured the Golan Heights from Syria, the West Bank from Jordan and the Gaza Strip from Egypt, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict took on a heightened tension. Following the war, Arafat moved the headquarters of the PLO to Jordan. Terrorist activity was conducted by fundamentalist splinter groups within the PLO, such as the Liberation for Palestine (PFLP), the Palestine Popular Struggle Front, and the Democratic Front for the Liberation

of Palestine (DFLP), in an attempt to draw attention to the Palestinian cause. In 1968 Arafat and the Fatah got international publicity when they inflicted a significant defeat on Israeli troops who entered Jordan. These PLO’s activities increasingly troubled Jordan’s King Hussein because it prevented him from considering any negotiated settlement with Israel. Thus, in 1971 he expelled the Palestinians fighters from Jordan. They relocated and set up bases in Lebanon and continued its attacks against Israeli targets until 1982. The bleakest period for Arafat and the PLO came in June 1982 when Israel launched an all-out counterattack, destroying the PLO headquarters in Beirut and forcing the humiliated PLO to disperse to various Arab nations outside of Lebanon. Arafat

re-established PLO headquarters in Tunisia and used the depressed state of Palestinians to draw media attention. Soon, world eyes were drawn away from the terrorist-inclined PLO toward the rioting by Palestinians in the West Bank and their plight in the Israeli-occupied territories. The PLO supported the West Bank Palestinians, and the international sympathy they aroused thrust the PLO back into prominence. Recognition of the PLO Under Arafat’s leadership, the PLO received official recognition from many nations. He addressed the United Nations General Assembly in 1974 and the PLO was proclaimed “the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people” (Bickerton 191) by the Arab states at the Rabat Summit. In a speech by Yasser Arafat, he proclaimed, “With the utmost