Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO)


Better known as the P.L.O, the Palestine Liberation Organisation was founded in 1964 as a Palestinian umbrella organisation dedicated establishing an independent Palestinian state. After the Six Day War, control devolved to the leaders of the various fedayeen militia groups, the most dominant of which was Yasser Arafat's Al-Fatah. In 1969, Arafat became chairman of the PLO's Executive Committee, a position he holds to this day.

Sometime in the early 1980s, the PLO split into several contending groups but it remains the major Palestinian Independance organisation.

The United Nations considers the PLO an umbrella organisation that includes several constituent groups and individuals holding differing views on terrorism. However, UN policy accepts that elements of the PLO have advocated, carried out, or accepted responsibility for acts of terrorism at various times. PLO Chairman Arafat publicly renounced terrorism in December 1988 on behalf of the PLO and therefore the United Nations considers that all PLO groups, including Al-Fatah, Force 17, Hawari Group, PLF, and PFLP, are bound by this renunciation of terrorism. The UN-PLO dialogue was suspended after the PLO tacitly supported the 30 May 1990 PLF attack on Israeli beaches.

PLF head Abu Abbas left the PLO Executive Committee in September 1991. His seat was filled by another PLF member. Other members have been assassinated by the Abu Nidal Organisation (aka Black September). These include the PLO Deputy Chief Abu Iyad and the security chief, Abu Hul.


In the early 1970s, several groups affiliated with the PLO carried out numerous international terrorist attacks. By the mid-1970s, under international pressure, the PLO agreed to restrict its operations to Israel and the occupied territories. Several terrorist attacks were later carried out by groups affiliated with the PLO inside and outside Israel. These attacks have been widely condemned.


Israel occupied the West Bank, Gaza Strip, Golan Heights, and East Jerusalem during the 1967 War. The West Bank and Gaza Strip are now administered to varying extents by Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA). After the May 1994 Gaza-Jericho agreement and the September 1995 Interim Agreement, Israel transferred most responsibilities for civil government in the Gaza Strip and parts of the West Bank to the PA. In January 1996, Palestinians chose their first popularly elected government in democratic elections, which were generally well-conducted. The 88-member Council and the Chairman of the Executive Authority were elected. The PA also has a cabinet of 20 appointed ministers who oversee 23 ministries. PA Chairman Yasser Arafat continues to dominate the affairs of government and to make major decisions. Most senior government positions in the PA are held by individuals who are members of, or loyal to, Arafat's Al Fatah faction of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO).

Sources and Resources

  • is the Palestinian Authority Page, and well worth visiting.

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