Monday, October 14, 2019

The Palestine Liberation Organization Essay Example for Free

The Palestine Liberation Organization Essay Palestine is a historic region in the Middle East comprising of Israel and the Israeli occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip. The Palestine Liberation Organization, a political entity, had been attempting to establish a separate state for the Palestinian Arabs. In the year 1948, Israel was created in that region. This emergence of the Israeli state and subsequent wars between it and several Arab countries, served to displace a large number of Palestinians. In the year 1964, the Palestine Liberation Organization or PLO was founded, in order to represent the demands of Palestinians for the creation of a separate state for them. At that point in time, Arab military forces were singularly unsuccessful in defeating Israel, in the Six Day War of 1967. Under those circumstances, the PLO emerged as an alternative power, and gained regional and international importance (Stein, 2007). A deep rooted hatred has existed between the PLO and Israel, and this lasted for several years. However, between 1993 and 1998, both the PLO and Israel entered into several agreements, which transferred all Palestinian towns and cities that were under the control of Israel to the Palestinian administration. Moreover, the Israelis transferred Arab dominant regions in the West Bank and Gaza Strip to Palestine. In accordance with these agreements, the Palestinian National Authority or PNA was formed to govern these transferred Palestinian areas. In the year 1994 the PNA took complete control over the administrative and negotiating roles of the PLO, with respect to these newly transferred territories. As such, the PLO remained a protector of Palestinian interests in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. It also represents Palestinian interests in international agreements and treaties. The PLO and Israel have continued to remain adversaries, despite diplomatic negotiations between them (Stein, 2007). The fundamental objective of the PLO was the destruction of Israel. In the year 1969, Yasser Arafat became the chairman of the PLO. In the year 1970, Jordan expelled the PLO from its territory, and the PLO relocated itself in Lebanon and established its base of operations there and started to attack Israel. It attacked Israel in 1978 and in 1982. In 1982, it withdrew from Beirut and moved to Tunisia. Yasser Arafat’s leadership of the PLO was challenged several times before, during and after the Intifada. However, he remained the supreme leader of PLO. In 1988, Arafat gave up terrorism and discontinued terrorist attacks against Israel. Subsequently, the PLO was recognized as the umbrella group that represented Palestinian interests and the Palestinian state. Arafat became the leader of the Palestine National Authority in 1996 (Palestine Liberation Organization, 2001). The PLO comprises of three important branches; and these are the fifteen member Executive Committee, which includes representatives from the fedayeen; the Central Committee comprising of sixty members; and the Palestine National Council, which has five hundred and ninety – nine members. The PLO has several departments and agencies, which provide military services, health services, information to the public, finance, social welfare, education, and other administrative services. After the creation of the Palestine National Authority in 1994, it has taken over the duties and responsibilities of the Palestinian people, in the West Bank and Gaza Strip (Stein, 2007). The PLO was formed, in order to fight against Israel and to compel it to withdraw from Palestine. However, it was unable to unite all the Palestinian groups at that time. The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, which was under the leadership of George Habash, remained an independent group, and Yasser Arafat of al-Fatah became the supreme leader of the PLO, which launched several terrorist operations against Israel. It killed eleven Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympics in 1972. In the year 1982, Lebanon expelled PLO from its country. In Tunisia, in 1988, the PLO established a parliament in exile for the newly declared state of Palestine. In 1988, Arafat launched peace and diplomacy initiatives, as a prelude to negotiations with Israel. The United States supported the PLO in these efforts, and in 1993, Arafat and Yitzhak Rabin signed an agreement, after secret negotiations. Thereafter, the PLO relinquished terrorism and honored the right of Israel to exist as a separate state, subsequent to Israel’s withdrawal of its forces from the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. In 1995, the Palestinians achieved independence and autonomy. The peace process suffered a setback, because the Hamas continued to attack Israel and the latter failed to withdraw its troops. In 1998, the PLO and Israel had signed a land – for – security pact. In 2000, US peace efforts ended in failure, and there was unending violence on both sides (Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), 2003). The PLO is composed of several groups, and each of these has its own founders and organizational framework. The leaders of some of these groups had challenged the leadership of Arafat. Some groups had been branded as rejectionist groups as they refused to recognize the September 13, 1993 PLO – Israel accord. They also opposed interim agreements entered into by the PLO and Israel. These rejectionist groups include the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine or PFLP, led by George Habash, which is a Marxist group. Subsequent to the 1993 Israel – Palestinian Declaration of Principles agreement, the PFLP withdrew from the PLO. Another organization was the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine – General Command or the PFLP-GC that had been founded by Ahmad Jibril. It was a Damascus based group, with a pro – Syrian faction, which withdrew from the PLO. Nayif Hawatmeh had founded the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine or DFLP, a partner of the PLO coalition. It was a Marxist organization that had joined the PLO in the year 1999. Moreover, the Palestine Liberation Front or PLF, led by Abu Abbas, continued in the PLO coalition (Katzman, 2002). The PFLP, the PFLP-GC, and the PLF were extremist groups that had indulged in terrorist acts against Israel, subsequent to the 1993 Declaration of Principles. These three extremist groups were termed the Foreign Terrorist Organizations. The Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine, DFLP, was categorized as a Foreign Terrorist Organization by the State Department in its first FTO list published in 1997. However, at the behest of Arafat, and after it had accepted the peace with Israel; it was excluded from the list of FTO’s in 1999. Other coalition groups in the PLO that were not branded as FTOs included the As – Saiqa, the Arab Liberation Front, which was a pro – Iraq faction group, the Popular Struggle Front, the People’s Party, formerly known as the Palestinian Communist Party, and the Democratic Union that was known by its initials FIDA (Katzman, 2002). The timeline of important events in the history of the PLO – Israel relationship has been appended below: December 1968: On the 28th of December 1968, Israeli commandoes attacked the Beirut International Airport. In this operation, more than twelve airplanes were heavily damaged, while some of them were completely destroyed. This operation was launched in retaliation to the attacks on an Israeli civilian flight at the Athens airport in Greece. In this attack, two Palestinian nationals were charged with having attacked an airplane in Athens. This attack had resulted in the death of an Israeli passenger (Timeline: Decades of conflict in Lebanon, Israel, 2006). November 1969:Â  Yasser Arafat and the Lebanese commander – in – chief, Emile Bustani, met in Cairo and ratified an agreement. Under the terms of that agreement Lebanon had to recognize the Palestinian revolution. That agreement allowed Palestinians and the Lebanese to jointly fight against Israel without compromising Lebanon’s welfare and sovereignty. Although the agreement was made for twenty years of joint struggle, Lebanon escinded it in 1987 (Timeline: Decades of conflict in Lebanon, Israel, 2006). 1970-1971: Jordan expelled the PLO following a severe battle in their country, which had led to the death of thousands of people. Subsequently, the PLO shifted its base of operations to Lebanon and mounted attacks against Israel from Lebanon. An extremist Palestinian terrorist faction group, Black September, joined the PLO coalition. In September 1970, Jordan initiated a military crackdown on Palestinians (Timeline: Decades of conflict in Lebanon, Israel, 2006). 1972: The terrorist group Black September attacked Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympics in Germany. In these attacks two Israelis were killed and nine Israeli athletes taken as hostages. The terrorists demanded the release of Palestinian prisoners in exchange for these hostages. Israel refused to accept these conditions and a counter attack was mounted by the West German commandoes, during which four terrorists and one policeman were killed (Timeline: Decades of conflict in Lebanon, Israel, 2006). April 1973: In a covert operation, the future Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak, led a team of Israeli commandoes, in women’s attire and killed three prominent PLO leaders in Beirut (Timeline: Decades of conflict in Lebanon, Israel, 2006). 975: There was fierce civil war in Lebanon between the Palestinians and pro – Palestinian Lebanese militant groups, and Lebanon’s Christian militant groups. They fought each other for fifteen years, until 1990, when the civil war ended officially (Timeline: Decades of conflict in Lebanon, Israel, 2006). 1976: Syria deployed its peacekeeping forces in Lebanon to assist Lebanese authorities to end the war. The Syrian fo rces remained in Lebanon for thirty years, until April 2005 (Timeline: Decades of conflict in Lebanon, Israel, 2006). March 1978:Â  The PLO attacked a bus in northern Israel, and in retaliation, the Israeli forces entered Lebanon and pushed the PLO forces far from the border. The UN Security Council ratified a resolution, which instructed Israel to immediately withdraw its forces from Lebanon. Accordingly Israel withdrew its forces, and Major General Saad Haddad established a security zone of twelve miles wide, all along the border. This security zone was meant to prevent Trans – border attacks on Israel (Timeline: Decades of conflict in Lebanon, Israel, 2006). September 1978:Â  The US President Jimmy Carter was instrumental in bringing about the Camp David Accord. This Accord led to the establishment of a peace treaty between Israel and Egypt. It also provided sufficient groundwork for a similar peace treaty between Israel, Lebanon and other neighboring Arab states (Timeline: Decades of conflict in Lebanon, Israel, 2006). July 17, 1981: Israeli forces attacked the PLO headquarters in West Beirut, and this operation claimed more than three hundred civilian lives. The United States once again intervened and established a cease – fire agreement between Israel, the PLO and Syria. At that particular time, Syrian troops were deployed in Lebanon (Timeline: Decades of conflict in Lebanon, Israel, 2006). 1982: Until the 6th of June 1982 a cease – fire was maintained. It was broken when Israel attacked Lebanon with a sixty thousand army. This was in retaliation to the killing of Israeli’s ambassador to Britain. However, Arafat and the leaders of the PLO escaped from Lebanon and settled in Tunisia. They remained there until 1994 and then moved on to Gaza (Timeline: Decades of conflict in Lebanon, Israel, 2006). On 14th September, Bashir Gemayel, the Lebanese president – elect, was assassinated before his swearing in ceremony. He had the support of Israel, and subsequent to his assassination, Israeli troops entered West Beirut and engaged in what could be deemed to be genocide, in which more than eight hundred Palestinian refugees were mercilessly killed by the Lebanese Christian militant groups in the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps. The world community accused Israel for its failure to stop the genocide. During this period, a fundamentalist Shiite Muslim extremist group Hezbollah emerged in Beirut, the Bekka Valley and southern Lebanon. Hezbollah was sponsored by Iran, whose Revolutionary Guards had imparted adequate training and had provided weapons to the Hezbollah. Syria also, lent its support to the Hezbollah, whose fundamental aim was to establish a Shiite Islamic state in Lebanon. Moreover, it aimed to expel Israel and the US military from the region (Timeline: Decades of conflict in Lebanon, Israel, 2006). April 18, 1983: Hezbollah launched a number of suicide bombers against the US embassy in West Beirut. In this operation nearly sixty – three people were killed. This attack served as a portent regarding the future attacks against Western nations (Timeline: Decades of conflict in Lebanon, Israel, 2006). May 17, 1983: The US achieved an agreement between Lebanon and Israel, and both these nations ratified the agreement, which sought the immediate withdrawal of Israeli troops from Lebanon under a conditional withdrawal of Syrian forces. However, Syria refused to accept this agreement (Timeline: Decades of conflict in Lebanon, Israel, 2006). October 23, 1983:Â  A suicide bomber from the Hezbollah penetrated into the headquarters of the US Marine and French forces in Beirut and detonated the bomb on his person. This bombing resulted in the death of two hundred and ninety – eight people. Of these, two hundred and forty – one were US Marines and other military staff. Following this attack, the US withdrew its forces from Lebanon (Timeline: Decades of conflict in Lebanon, Israel, 2006). January 18, 1984: Malcolm Kerr, President of the American University of Beirut was assassinated (Timeline: Decades of conflict in Lebanon, Israel, 2006). March 1984: Lebanon rescinded the May 17, 1983 peace accord, consequent to increasing pressure from Syria (Timeline: Decades of conflict in Lebanon, Israel, 2006). September 20, 1984: The US embassy annex in East Beirut was heavily bombarded, resulting in the death of twenty – three people in the attack (Timeline: Decades of conflict in Lebanon, Israel, 2006). June 1985: Israel withdrew its troops from Lebanon, all the same it controlled the twelve mile wide security zone along the southern border until May 2000 (Timeline: Decades of conflict in Lebanon, Israel, 2006). 1990: The fifteen year civil war in Lebanon was officially ended (Timeline: Decades of conflict in Lebanon, Israel, 2006). July 1993: Israel attacked southern Lebanon for a week, with a view to end the attacks waged by the Hezbollah on several towns in Israel (Timeline: Decades of conflict in Lebanon, Israel, 2006). April 1996: There was fierce fighting between Israel and Hezbollah for sixteen days. In this battle, nearly one hundred and thirty – seven people were killed. Most of the casualties were Lebanese civilians (Timeline: Decades of conflict in Lebanon, Israel, 2006). May 2000:Â  Israel withdrew its troops from southern Lebanon and the United Nations declared the Blue Line to be the actual border between these two nations (Timeline: Decades of conflict in Lebanon, Israel, 2006). September 2003: Israel warplanes bombarded southern Lebanon, in retaliation to the launching of antiaircraft missiles by the Hezbollah against Israeli airplanes flying over that region (Timeline: Decades of conflict in Lebanon, Israel, 2006). October 2003: Israel and Lebanon exchanged gunfire in the Shebaa Farms, which was a disputed area (Timeline: Decades of conflict in Lebanon, Israel, 2006). February 14, 2005: Rafik Hariri, the former Lebanese Prime Minister was assassinated by militants, which pressurized Syria to withdraw its troops from Lebanon. In April, Syria withdrew all its troops from Lebanon (Timeline: Decades of conflict in Lebanon, Israel, 2006). July 2006: Militants belonging to Hezbollah entered Israel and killed three Israeli soldiers. They abducted two soldiers and demanded an exchange of prisoners. Israel refused to accept their offer. Subsequently, five more Israeli soldiers were killed in an ambush. The response of Israel was a blitzkrieg, and Israel blockaded naval routes and heavily bombarded hundreds of Lebanese targets. It also bombed Beirut’s airport and the headquarters of Hezbollah in southern Beirut. In response to these Israeli attacks, Hezbollah launched attacks using rockets on northern Israeli cities. This battle resulted in the demise of hundreds of Lebanese civilians. Subsequently, Israel conducted a two week military campaign in Gaza in retaliation to the abduction of its soldiers (Timeline: Decades of conflict in Lebanon, Israel, 2006).

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