The Plo Essay Research Paper Introduction

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The Plo Essay, Research Paper Introduction —-This paper will provide an overview of the Palestinian Liberation Organization, including its early history and its rise to prominence during the Intifada that began in 1987. It will also include a description of Yasser Arafat’s ascendency to the leadership of the PLO, a position that earned him the right to speak for all Palestinians by virtue of the peace framework signed by him and the former Israeli Prime Minister Yitsak Rabin in 1993. Early History —-Growing Palestinian activism in the early part of the 1960’s provided the impetus for the convening of the first summit conference of Arab leaders in 1964 — to plan a unified response to Israeli plans to divert some of the waters of the Jordan River. This activism

influenced the decision, made at that conference, to create the PLO. It also precipitated the slide of the Arab states into the June 1967 war with Israel. In the mid-1960’s the Arab regimes were again haunted by a force they had not had to deal with since 1948: a Palestinian nationalist movement that, in spite of being divided into several underground groups, could exert great pressure on them by playing on public opinion and inter-Arab pressures. —-During the early and middle 1960’s dissatisfaction with the Arab status quo fueled the growth of Palestinian nationalist groups. Most successful was Fatah, headed by Yasser Arafat (discussed below) which began military operations against Israel on Jan. 1, 1965, with an attack on the Israeli national water carrier project to

transfer water from the Jordan River to the south of Israel. Although little more than pinpricks to the Israelis, these attacks were effective armed propaganda in the Palestinians’ political offensive to force the Arab regimes, partiuclarly Egypt under Gamal Abd al-Nasser, to practice what they preached regarding Palestine. The first target chosen by Fatah was especially symbolic, since none of the Arab summit meetings called to deal with Israel’s Jordan River water diversion had resulted in any concrete action. This pattern of armed propaganda continued to characterize Palestinian armed attacks. It was aimed at winning Palestinian opinion over to Fatah and at convincing Arab public opinion of the feasibility of direct action against Israel. —-The June 1967 war, in which

several Arab nations were soundly defeated by Israel, was nonetheless a watershed that led to the rebirth of a Palestinian national movement with a strong separate identity. The rebirth occurred in several stages. The first was winning a crucial victory in the battle of Karameh in the Jordan river valley in March 1968, where outnumbered Palestinian guerrillas, backed by Jordanian artillery, stood up to Israeli armored forces. The importance of this battle was not in the relatively limited Israeli losses, but in the fact that the Israelis appeared to have been driven back by Palestinian irregulars only nine months after the rout of three Arab regular armies in 1967. During the next stage, also in 1968, the Palestinian guerrilla groups, who called themselves fida’iyeen

(fedayeen), or self-sacrificers, seized control of the PLO from the leadership that had been installed by Egyptian President Gamal Abd al-Nasser in 1964. Arafat’s Rise —-Arafat was born in Jerusalem in 1929 and brought up in Gaza. He studied civil engineering at Cairo University, where he headed the League of Palestine Students (1952-1956), and fought in the Suez war of 1956. In the late 1950’s he lived in Kuwait and helped to establish Fatah, which began terrorist operations against Israel in the early 1960’s. From about 1965, and particularly after Israel’s victory in the 1967 Arab-Israeli war, a power struggle develooped within the Palestinian resistance movement, mainly between advocates of Arab state sponsorship and those, like Arafat, supporting an independent