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PLO Definition

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PLO - (Palestine Liberation Organization) (Arabic: Munazzimat al-Tahrir al-Filastiniyya)- The umbrella organization of Palestinian political groups founded with the intent of destroying Israel. Founded in 1964 as an initiative of Arab states, it evolved into an organization advocating a sovereign separate Palestinian nation after the 1967 6-day war. It was initially headed by Ahmed Shokairy. Yasser Arafat, head of the Fatah group, became the head of the PLO in 1968.  Upon his death in 2004, Mahmoud Abbas became head of the PLO and Farouk Kaddoumi became head of the Fatah. The PLO charter calls for destruction of Israel. Though it was revised following the Oslo Agreements to remove the offending paragraphs, the organizations Web sites and the Web Site of the PNA delegation to the UN still show the original sections of the charter.

Details: The PLO (Palestine Liberation Organization)  is the umbrella organization of the Palestinian Resistance. PLO was founded 1964 with Egyptian backing, under Ahmed Shukhairy as chairman. It was meant to be a foil to divert attention from the popular and by then anti-Nasserist Fatah movement. However, after the collapse of the Arab war effort in the 6 day war, Yasser Arafat and the Fatah took over the PLO.  Eventually, PLO was given UN observer status. It was recognized as "the only legitimate representative of the Palestine people" by almost all Palestinian groups until it undertook to recognize Israel, abandon violence and opt for a two state solution in the 1993 Oslo Agreements. The PLO became, essentially, the Palestine National Authority (PNA) through the Oslo agreements.

The PLO organization has these parts:

PNC as parliament, which elects leader and makes policy decisions; created in its 1964 formative stage, now with 669 members, but until recently had 484 members from all PLO factions as well as independents, with seats left vacant for reps of occupied territories. Current President is Salim Za‘nun (previously: ‘Abd al-Muhsin Qattan from Jul 68; Yahya Hammuda from Sept 69, Khalid al-Fahum from Jul71-84, Shaykh ‘Abd al-Hamid al-Sa’ih from Nov84-1993); Vice-Pres is Taysir Quba‘a; Secretary is Muhammad Sbayh; 2nd Secretary is Ilya Khuri. The PNC meets infrequently, though is is mandated by its fundamental law to meet every 2 years. Resolutions are passed by a simple majority, but two thirds of the members must attend for quorum.

Palestine Central Council  makes policy decisions when PNC not in session, acting as a link between PNC and  PLO-EC: formed in Jun70, as an ad hoc body to coordinate between groups in Jordan. Its members are elected by PNC on PLO-EC nomination, and chaired by PNC president. Membership has risen from 42 (1976), 55 (3/77), 72 (11/84), 107 (early90s), 95 (mid-90s).

PLO Executive Committee acts as a cabinet, implementing policy (c.18 members), selected from PNC and  choosing its own chairman. Membership from 1969 to 1988 is listed here.

Palestine Liberation Army, initially with 3 battalions: ‘Ayn Jalut in Egypt, Qadisiyya in Iraq, though in Jordan after 1967, Hattin in Syria; Chiefs of Staff include ‘Abd al-Razzaq al-Yahya (1970-2), Tariq al-Khadra (up to 1984).

Subsidiary organizations - PLO runs a number of pan-Palestinian institutions. The Palestine National Fund; Palestinian Armed Struggle Command (a military-police organization was  established 2/4/69 as a step toward unification and  coordinating claims to action. It was a civil police force in Lebanon in 70s-early80s, and  intervened in confrontations between opposing Palestinian groups. The Palestinian Red Crescent Society was established in Jordan in 1965 and was part of PLO from 1969). SAMED, the Palestine Martyrs Works Society  was established 1970 in Jordan to provide vocational training to martyrs’ children and was reorganized in Lebanon in 1971; after 1975, its services extended to all Palestinians. The Department of Information and  Culture, includes the Research Center.  The Department of Mass Organizations runs the unions through the General Union of Palestinian Women, GUPW, General Union of Palestinian Workers, GUPWo, General Union of Palestinian Students, GUPS.  The PLO has an Education Department and an Information Bureau, which produces the newspaper Filastin al-Thawra, biweekly English and  French journal Palestine, and  has the news agency WAFA, established 1/6/70 - now the official PNA News Agency. The Political Department represents Palestinians internationally. The PLO also runs the Institution for Social Affairs and  Welfare for the Families of Martyrs and Prisoners (established 1965). 

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Source:  Palestinian Parties


Synonyms and alternate spellings:

Further Information:  Palestinian Parties


Hebrew/Arabic pronunciation and transliteration conventions:

'H - ('het) a guttural sound made deep in the throat. To Western ears it may sound like the "ch" in loch. In Arabic there are several letters that have similar sounds. Examples: 'hanukah, 'hamas, 'haredi. Formerly, this sound was often represented by ch, especially in German transliterations of Hebrew. Thus, 'hanukah is often rendered as Chanuka for example.

ch - (chaf) a sound like "ch" in loch or the Russian Kh as in Khruschev or German Ach, made by putting the tongue against the roof of the mouth. In Hebrew, a chaf can never occur at the beginning of a word. At the beginning of a word, it has a dot in it and is pronounced "Kaf."

u - usually between oo as in spoon and u as in put.

a- sounded like a in arm

ah- used to represent an a sound made by the letter hey at the end of a word. It is the same sound as a. Haganah and Hagana are alternative acceptable transliterations.

'a-notation used for Hebrew and Arabic ayin, a guttural ah sound.

o - close to the French o as in homme.

th - (taf without a dot) - Th was formerly used to transliterate the Hebrew taf sound for taf without a dot. However in modern Hebrew there is no detectable difference in standard pronunciation of taf with or without a dot, and therefore Histadruth and Histadrut, Rehovoth and Rehovot are all acceptable.

q- (quf) - In transliteration of Hebrew and Arabic, it is best to consistently use the letter q for the quf, to avoid confusion with similar sounding words that might be spelled with a kaf, which should be transliterated as K. Thus, Hatiqva is preferable to Hatikva for example.


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This work and individual entries are copyright © 2005 by Ami Isseroff and Zionism and Israel Information Center and may not reproduced in any form without permission unless explicitly noted otherwise. Individual entries may be cited with credit to The Encyclopedia and Dictionary of Zionism and Israel

 

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