The Palestinian Liberation Organization
After the British came to the conclusion that the Arab abhorrence for the inclusion of Jewish representation of any sort in a government over Palestine meant that there was no possible way for it to fulfill its responsibility to facilitate self government, Britain brought the problem to the United Nations with a suggestion to partition the land. On November 29, 1947, the General Assembly of the United Nations passed Resolution 181. This resolution terminated the British Mandate and tried to facilitate self government for the land of Palestine by partitioning the land into two states, one Jewish and one Arab. However, on March 5, 1948, the United Nations Security Council tried to, but was not able to, pass a resolution that would have accepted the partition plan as a basis for Security Council action. Thus the partition plan remained in limbo.
After Israel declared its independence on May 14, 1948, it was invaded by the Arab armies of Egypt, Jordan, Iraq, Lebanon, and Syria. What followed was fierce intermittent fighting, that claimed over 6,000 Israeli lives (nearly one percent of the country's Jewish population at the time). The War of Independence lasted until July 24, 1949 when Israel signed armistice agreements with each of the invading countries (except Iraq, who refused to negotiate with Israel). These agreements specified the borders of Israel. Egypt took control over the Gaza strip and Jordan took control over the West Bank including East Jerusalem. In 1950, Jordan annexed the West bank.
Throughout the 1950s and the 1960s Arab terrorists from Egypt and Jordan attacked Israel. There was persistent Syrian artillery bombardment of agricultural settlements in northern Galilee.
Although an armistice agreement had been signed, the Arab states remained unreconciled with the establishment of Israel. During these years through 1964, the Arab League, a regional organization, played an important leadership role. By 1964 its membership countries included Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Yemen, Libya, Sudan, Morocco, Tunisia, Kuwait and Algieria. At a meeting in Cairo in 1964, it drafted a document to establish the Palestinian National Council (PNC), a Palestinian nationalist umbrella organization dedicated to the establishment of an independent Palestinian state in all the Palestine land of the British Mandate. The PNC, therefore, claimed to represent all the Palestinian Arabs, those living in the refugee camps in Lebanon and Jordon and those others living in the lands of what used to be the British Mandate.
The Palestinian National Council met in Jerusalem on May 29, 1964. On June 2, 1964 it drafted a document to establish the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO). The diplomat Ahmed Shukhairy became its chairman. At the United Nations the PLO Chairman proclaimed:
If it will be our privilege to strike the first blow, the PLO would expel from Palestine all Zionists who had arrived after 1917 and eliminate the state of Israel.
In May 1967, Egypt moved large numbers of troops into the Sinai desert, then ordered the UN peacekeeping forces (deployed since 1957) out of the area, reimposed the blockade of the Straits of Tiran, and entered into a military alliance with Jordan.
On May 27, 1967 Egyptian President Nasser said,
Our basic objective will be the destruction of Israel. The Arab people want to fight.
On May 28, he added,
We will not accept any...coexistence with Israel...Today the issue is not the establishment of peace between the Arab states and Israel....The war with Israel is in effect since 1948.
On June 5, 1967, Israel invoked its inherent right of self-defense and initiated a pre-emptive attack against Egypt in the South. In the first hours of the war, Israel destroyed over 400 Egyptian aircraft to achieve total air superiority. Israeli troops quickly conquered the Sinai Peninsula and Gaza. Jordanian artillery fired at Jerusalem from the first day of the war. Israel counter attacked and conquered the West Bank and Jerusalem. Because Syrian artillery based in the Golan Heights pounded civilian targets in northern Israel, Israel conquered the Golan Heights. At the end of six days of fighting, previous cease-fire lines were replaced by new ones, with Judea, Samaria, Gaza, the Sinai peninsula, and the Golan Heights as well as East Jerusalem being under Israel's control. With this state of affairs, a cease fire was agreed upon on June 11, 1967.
About a year later, in July of 1968, the PLO drafted its Charter. The charter formalized the statements of the first PLO chairman and the President of Egypt. The charter regarded all the land of the British Mandate as one Palestinian entity. It argued that the Palestinian Arab people had a right to the land currently administered and occupied Israel and it had a right to all the land of Israel. Its main purpose was to promote action to liberate those lands for the Palestinians. By 1968, the PLO included organizations such as the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, Popular Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine, Popular Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine - General Command, Fatah, and many other Arab fedayeen groups, all of whom came to be regarded as terrorist groups.
The PLO charter defined as Palestinian as all those Arabs living in the British Mandate as of 1947. This meant that it included the hundreds of thousands of Arabs who had immigrated there during the British Mandate years. It defined as Palestinians only those Jews not part of the immigration to the British Mandate. During the British Mandate, about 483,000 Jews were estimated to immigrate to Palestine.
Article 20 of the charter repudiates all the actions and policies taken by the League of Nations and the United Nations with regard to Palestine. The article also denies any historical relationship the Jews have with Palestine.
The Balfour Declaration, the Mandate for Palestine, and everything that has been based upon them, are deemed null and void. Claims of historical or religious ties of Jews with Palestine are incompatible with the facts of history and the true conception of what constitutes statehood. Judaism, being a religion, is not an independent nationality. Nor do Jews constitute a single nation with an identity of its own; they are citizens of the states to which they belong. (Article 20)
Article 15 of the charter states that it is the purpose of the PLO to liquidate Israel. To avoid the mention of Israel, it calls Israel the Zionist presence.
The liberation of Palestine, from an Arab viewpoint, is a national (qawmi) duty and it attempts to repel the Zionist and imperialist aggression against the Arab homeland, and aims at the liquidation of the Zionist presence. (Article 15)
Article 9 of the charter states that the PLO will attempt to achieve its purpose by armed struggle.
Armed struggle is the only way to liberate Palestine. Thus it is the overall strategy, not merely a tactical phase. The Palestinian Arab people assert their absolute determination and firm resolution to continue their armed struggle and to work for an armed popular revolution for the liberation of their country and their return to it. They also assert their right to normal life in Palestine and to exercise their right to self-determination and sovereignty over it. (Article 9)
At the Palestinian National Council in Cairo on February 3, 1969, Yassar Arafat, from the Fatah faction of the PLO, became chairman of the PLO. During that time, the PLO was based in Jordon and in effect established there a state within a state. By cross border raids into Israel, the PLO attacked Israeli civilians and terrorized the moshavim and kibbutzim of the Bet Shean Valley Regional Council. These PLO terrorist raids into Israel drew increasingly devastating reprisals on Jordan from Israel. The Arab states generally supported the PLO goals, but only to the point where those political objectives did not injure the sovereignty and territorial integrity of their own countries. By late 1970 Jordan became fed up with the state within a state established by the PLO and entered a short, bloody war with the PLO, after which most of the PLO fedayeen fled to Lebanon.
As in Jordon, the PLO became a state within a state in Lebanon. It organized continual terrorist attacks on Israel. Most notable of these are the Avivim school bus massacre in 1970, where the PLO faction Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP) terrorists massacred nine school children, three adults, and crippled 19 and the Maalot massacre in 1974 where the DFLP killed 26 students and adults and wounded over 70. In 1975, the Fatah faction of the PLO took hostages at the Savoy Hotel. This resulted in the killing 8 civilians and 3 soldiers. In 1978, the Fatah faction of the PLO executed the Coastal Road massacre killing 37 Israeli civilians and wounding 76. In 1979 there was the attack by Samir Kuntar, a member of the Palestine Liberation Front faction of the PLO, on an Israeli family in Nahariya that resulted in the deaths of four family members. This attack led to fierce Israeli military attacks on the PLO camps in Lebanon, heightening tensions that culminated in the Lebanese Civil War.
The phased plan of the PLO against Israel is reflected in the conferences held by the Palestinian National Council in 1974 and in 1977. Without using the word Israel, both conferences passed a resolution not to recognize Israel or make peace with Israel.
Article 3 of the 1974 conference resolves
The Liberation Organization will struggle against any proposal for a Palestinian entity the price of which is recognition [of Israel], peace [with Israel], secure frontiers [with Israel], ...
Article 9 of the 1977 conference in part states
It has resolved to act for the liberation of all the occupied Arab lands and to cling to the aims of strengthening the Palestinian revolution, and restoring the permanent national rights of the Palestinian nation, without peace [with Israel or recognition [of Israel].
Both conferences repudiate United Nations resolution 242. Article 1 of the 1974 conference states
To reaffirm the Palestine Liberation Organization's previous attitude to Resolution 242, which obliterates the national right of our people and deals with the cause of our people as a problem of refugees. The Council therefore refuses to have anything to do with this resolution at any level, Arab or international, including the Geneva Conference.
Article 1 of the 1977 conference states
The Palestinian National Council emphasizes that the Palestinian issue is the root and base of the Arab-Zionist conflict, and that Security Council Resolution 242 takes no heed of the Palestinian nation and its unchallengeable rights. The Council therefore emphasizes its opposition to this Resolution and its refusal to negotiate on the basis of it in the Arab and the international arena.
Both conferences committed the PLO to armed conflict. Article 2 of the 1974 states
The Palestine Liberation Organization will employ all means, and first and foremost armed struggle, to liberate Palestinian territory and to establish the independent combatant national authority for the people over every part of Palestinian territory that is liberated.
Article 3 of the 1977 states.
The PLO is striving to escalate the armed struggle on the occupied soil, and all other concomitant forms of struggle, and to provide all forms of moral assistance to the masses of our people on the occupied soil, so as to intensify this struggle and strengthen their stand to defeat and wipe out the occupation.
Article 5 of the 1974 conference states a goal of overthrowing the Jordanian government.
Struggle along with the Jordanian national forces to establish a Jordanian-Palestinian national front whose aim will be to set up in Jordan a democratic national authority in close contact with the Palestinian entity that is established through the struggle.
Once the meaning of the phased plan outlined in the 1974 and 1977 conferences are taken for by their words, it is easy to understand the diplomacy and actions of the PLO. For everything it did is consistent with these conference resolutions.
In 1982 Israel invaded Lebanon to stop PLO terrorist raids coming from across its northern border. The invasion severely weakened the PLO, intensified splits among its factions, and forced some 12,000 PLO members in Beirut to flee once more, this time to several Arab countries. PLO fighters loyal to Arafat made their headquarters in Tunis, Tunisia, where an Israeli bombing raid severely damaged the PLO main buildings in October 1985.
The PLO was not only responsible for terrorist attacks in Israel, but also all over the world. The PLO group Black September attacked and killed 11 Israeli athletes and coaches during the 1972 Olympics in Munich. The Palestine Liberation Front, a faction of the PLO, hijacked the Achille Lauro, an Italian passenger liner as she was sailing from Alexandria to Prot Said on Oct. 7, 1985. They demanded the release of Palestinian prisoners in Israel. Before surrendering, they killed wheelchair-bound Jewish-American passenger Leon Klinghoffer, and dumped his body overboard. The PLO authorized attacks by terror groups Hamas and Islamic Jihad, the latter group responsible for bombings of the U.S. Embassy in Beirut, Lebanon in the early 1980s, which killed a number of U.S. Marines, CIA operatives and other U.S. officials. The PLO was considered by the USA and Israel to be a terrorist organization until the Madrid Conference in 1991.
In 1988, with the United States actively working for a solution to the mideast conflict between Israel and the Arabs, Arafat called for the establishment of a Palestinian state in the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, and Jerusalem. The PLO saw this as a first step in achieving their goal of all the lands of the British Mandate becoming one Palestinian country, with Israel no longer in existence.
In September 13, 1993, with President Clinton's encouragement, PLO Chairman Yassar Arafat and Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin signed an agreement at the White House and shook hands. This fulfilled the peace process started by the Madrid Treaty in 1991, and continued with the Oslo Accords of Norway on August 20, 1993. The agreement brought to an end the Intifada, the mass uprising of Palestinians that had cost the lives of thousands since 1987. The agreement divided the territories into three areas: that which would be under the complete control of the PLO, that which would be under civil control of the PLO and military control by Israel, and that which would be under complete control by Israel. The agreement gave a timetable for the withdrawal of Israeli troops to make this happen. The agreement stated that
it is time to put an end to decades of confrontation and conflict, recognize their mutual legitimate and political rights, and strive to live in peaceful coexistence and mutual dignity and security and achieve a just, lasting and comprehensive peace settlement and historic reconciliation through the agreed political process.
Under the terms of the agreement, Elections would be held in the territories to allow the Palestinians to form their civil adminstrative government. To administer these areas, Israel and the PLO agreed to the creation of the interim Palestinian National Authority, called Palestinian Authority for short, headed by Arafat and staffed with PLO members. The Palestinian Authority was to operate between May 1994 and May 1999, when talks about the final status and the future of the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, and eastern Jerusalem were to be completed.
In July 1, 1994, Arafat entered into his new headquarters in Gaza city and became head of the new Palestinian Authority in the autonomous areas agreed upon. From 1995 through 1998 there were additional agreements: Oslo II of September 28, 1995 gave Palestinians self-rule in Bethlehem, Hebron, Jenin, Nablus, Qalqilya, Ramallah, Tulkarm, and some 450 villages; and the Wye River Memorandum of 1998 which gave a timetable for additional areas that were under Israeli control to be transferred to PLO control. In addition, one of its aims was to commit the PLO to
apprehend the specific individuals suspected of perpetrating acts of violence and terror for the purpose of further investigation, and prosecution and punishment of all persons involved in acts of violence and terrorism
It is significant that from 1998 to the current time the Palestinian Authority has not investigated, apprehended, and prosecuted even one Palestinian for acts of violence or terror against Israel.
During all the talks between the Palestinian Authority and Israel, there was no agreement on the return of the Palestinian refugees into Israel and on the final status of Jerusalem.How could there be any agreement on this? Jerusalem has since the time of King David been associated with Judaism. It cannot be given up. The return of the refugees would change the demographics and make Israel to no longer be a Jewish state.
On the surface, it seems that agreement just has to be worked out on two substantial issues and then there would be a peaceful coexistence of a Palestinian state alongside Israel. However, that perspective would in fact miss the reality of what had been really going on. When the PLO became recognized as being the representative body for the Palestinian Arabs, it was diplomatically forced to adopt, at least on the surface, of what appears to be a moderate position. Hence the agreements. But at the same time that these agreements were signed, Arafat continued coordinating with and funding Islamic terrorist groups in Gaza and the West Bank. His real motivations were revealed to sympathetic audiences.
In South Africa in 1994, Arafat explained that the Oslo agreement was
merely a tactical ruse in the larger battle to destroy the Jewish state
Hence it was a modern version of the Muslim prophet Mohammed's trickery against the ancient tribe of Quraysh as described in the Koran. Arafat's colleague Faisal al-Husseini was even more explicit. He described the Oslo process as a
Trojan Horse designed to promote the strategic goal of 'Palestine from the [Jordan] river to the [Mediterranean] sea
In other words, Palestine in place of Israel.
In 1996 Arafat told an Arab audience in Stockholm,
We plan to eliminate the State of Israel and establish a purely Palestinian state. We will make life unbearable for Jews by psychological warfare and population explosion... We Palestinians will take over everything, including all of Jerusalem.
In late September 200, the Palestinian Authority was behind the al-Aqsa Intifada a period of intensified Palestinian initiated riots and violence. The death toll to date, including both military and civilian, is estimated to be almost 5,500 Palestinians and over 1,000 Israelis, as well as 64 foreign citizens.
On Dec. 13, 2001, Arafat solemnly promised his people eventual victory and a state capital in Jerusalem
with all its churches and mosques
Between September 2000 and mid-June 2003, 95 suicide bombings were carried out by Palestinians, killing 366 Israelis and wounding hundreds of others. Hamas, along with Islamic Jihad, have carried out most of the bombings. The PLO also organized female suicide bomber attacks. In the Al-Aqsa Intifada, women of the Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, and Hamas have blown themselves up killilng Israeli civilians and soldiers. Among Palestinians, only a minority supported suicide attacks before the Intifada. However, polls after the Intifada have shown that a majority of Palestinians supported such attacks.
Palestinian apologists have asserted that it is not realistic to expect the kind of control Israel demands from the Palestinian Authority to curtail these independent terrorist groups, as the Palestinian Authority does not have actual control of most cities or adequate law-enforcement resources, and has suffered severe infrastructural damage to much of its security apparatus during its confrontations with the Israel Defense Force. However, that argument is fallacious. The Palestinian Authority has nearly complete control and the different factions of the PLO engaging in terrorism are following orders from the Palestinian Authority. Furthermore, Palestinians who have voiced any opposition to any policy or action taken by Arafat are permanently silenced by Arafat's police. Thousands of Palestinians have died at the hands of the Palestinian Authority because they were brave enough to speak freely. The same Palestinian Authority that has the expertise to find out about the free speakers, could also be used to apprehend those who are independently committing terror. Of course, this is only thinkable if those who commit terror are not funded and organized by the Palestinian Authority. The true situation, however, is that the PLO has gone from an independent state within a state mode as it was in Jordon and Lebanon, to an invisible but coordinated state within a state mode under the auspices of the Palestinian Authority.
United States undercover investigations into the sources of Palestinian terrorist funding determined that the Holy Land Foundation and the Beit El-Mal Holdings Company were both an integral part of the Palestinian Authority's social welfare ministry and the channel through which Arafat obtained moneys for keeping terrorist activities funded. This flow of funds is the partnership in terror between the Palestinian Authority and Hamas and the Islamic Jihad. Indeed the U.S. investigators determined that even at the time of the Camp David peace talks of 2000, Arafat had funds transferred to Hamas and Islamic Jihad. After September 2001, when the United States declared war on terror, whatever its address, exhaustive inquiries were made about the money transfers taking place within the Central Palestinian Bank. When Arafat found out that US investigators were asking questions and getting some answers, he sacked Dr. Attal El-Awna as chairman of the board of the Central Palestinian Bank and appointed himself instead. Obviously, he was anxious to hide the misdirection of moneys given to the Palestinian Authority from the U.S. and European to groups listed in Washington as terrorist organizations.
Since the Al-Aqsa Intifada in 2000, there were numerous instances where Palestinian child suicide bombers were involved in terror attacks. In 2000, 29 suicide attacks were carried out by youth under the age of 18. Since May 2001, 22 shootings attacks and attacks using explosive devices were carried out by youth under the age of 18. On March 29, 2002, Ayat al-Akhras, a teenager from the Deheishe Refugee Camp near Bethlehem, detonated explosives strapped around her waist in a supermarket in Jerusalem, killing herself, a 17 year-old Israeli girl named Rachel Levy, and a 55 year-old security guard named Haim Smadar. On 16 March 2005, an Israeli border guard found a bomb in the school bag of 12-year-old Abdullah Quran at a military checkpoint near Nablus. His life was saved only because a cell phone rigged to detonate the 13-pound bomb failed to set off the explosive at the checkpoint as it had been designed to do. Eight days later, on March 24, 16-year-old Hussam Abdo was captured wearing an explosive belt, having allegedly been paid by Fatah's Tanzim branch to blow himself up at the same checkpoint. Since the beginning of 2001, more than 40 youths under the age of 18 were involved in attempted suicide bombings. In 2004 ten child suicide bombers were thwarted by Israel security. An eleventh blew himself in Tel Aviv's Carmel Market, killing 3 Israelis in a suicide bombing. In 2005, seven child suicide bombers were thwarted by Israel security.
Between September 2000 and mid-June 2003, 95 suicide bombings were carried out by Palestinians, killing 366 people and wounding hundreds. Between 2000 and 2004, Arafat, the head of the Palestinian Authority, evidently granted free rein to the radical Islamic terrorist groups: Hamas, the Al Aqsa Brigades, Fatah, and the Islamic Jihad. Documents captured by the IDF in 2002 proved the systematic, institutionalized and ongoing financing of the Al Aqsa Brigades. On March 14, 2002, the leader of the Al Aqsa Brigades in Tulkarm told USA Today:
The truth is, we are Fatah, but we didn't operate under the name of Fatah... We are the armed wing of the organization. We receive our instructions from Fatah. Our commander is Yasser Arafat himself.
Our conclusion is that the PLO is playing a duplicitous game. It makes agreements that it will control terrorism and then has one of the factions it controls and funds engage in planned terrorist acts on Israeli civilians. Then it claims these factions are acting independently. Who can believe that? It is time to wake up to the barbaric immoral game the PLO has been playing.