(Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO

(Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO

Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), political body representing Palestinian Arabs in their attempt to reclaim their homeland from Israel.

The PLO was founded at a congress in the Jordanian sector of Jerusalem in May 1964 .

It was set up largely out of Palestinian notables; out of the 388 Palestinians at the first PNC, a disproportionately high number were from the West Bank elite families . It only became an umbrella group for the PRM in July 1968, at the 4th PNC, when half the PNC seats went to the PRM and Fatah participated for the 1st time; and more fully at the 6th PNC in Feb 1969, when 70 seats out of the 100 went to the PRM.

Dedicated to mobilizing the Palestinian people to recover their usurped homes, the organization, seeks the replacement of Israel with a non-sectarian democratic state. and has sponsored numerous commando acts both inside that country and internationally .

The functions of the PLO are carried out by three main organs: the Executive Committee, a decision making body in which the major fedayeen groups are represented; the Central Committee, an advisory body; and the Palestine National Council, which is seen as an assembly of the Palestinian people.

Since February 1969 the PLO has been headed by Yasser Arafat, leader of Al Fatah . At an Arab summit meeting in Rabat , Morocco, in 1974, the organization was recognized as the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people , and Arafat subsequently addressed the United Nations, where the organization has an observer status.

In 1970 the PLO fought a short , bloody war with the army of Jordan , where most of the fedayeen were then stationed . Expelled , they settled in Lebanon . Israel's invasion of Lebanon in 1982 greatly weakened the PLO presence there, intensified the organization's factional splits , and forced the dispersion of some 12,000 PLO members to Syria and other Arab countries. PLO members loyal to Arafat made their headquarters in Tunis; an Israeli bombing raid in October 1985 severely damaged the main buildings. In July 1988, King Hussein of Jordan ceded to the PLO all territorial claims to the Israeli held West Bank.

In November 1988, at a meeting of the Palestine National Council in Algiers , Arafat declared the establishment of an independent Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital. The council also voted to accept UN resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973), recognizing the sovereignty of all states in the Middle East , and to use the resolutions, together with acknowledgment of the Palestinian right to self determination, as the basis for an international peace conference.

The United States agreed in December 1988 to initiate direct diplomatic dialogue with the PLO. Relations with the U.S. and the pro-western Arab states deteriorated in 1991,however, as Arafat publicly supported Iraq during the Persian Gulf War. In July the Lebanese army , with Syrian backing , forced the PLO to abandon its strongholds in southern Lebanon.

In January 1993 Israel repealed its ban on PLO contact by Israelis. In September 1993, Arafat and Israeli prime minister Yitzhak Rabin agreed to the signing of an historic peace accord that paved the way for limited Palestinian self-rule in Israeli occupied territories

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