PLO - Palestine Liberation Organization
The PLO (Palestine Liberation
Organization - Munazzimat al-Tahrir al-Filastiniyya) was founded in 1964 by
Arab governments, as a pan-Arab competitor to the
group with Ahmad Shokhairy as head.
The PLO is the umbrella organization of the
Palestinian anti-Israel organizations. After the collapse of
the Arab war effort in the 6 day war in 1967,
Yasser Arafat and the Fatah took over the PLO.
In the wake of the October (Yom Kippur) war in 1973, the 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 charter
calls for destruction of Israel. Though it was revised following the Oslo Agreements to remove the offending paragraphs,
the organization's Web sites and the Web Site of the PNA delegation to the UN still show the original sections of the
Following the Oslo Agreements, several organizations withdrew from the PLO. The
Hamas and Islamic Jihad in particular remain
outside the PLO.
The PLO organization has these formal components:
PNC (Palestinian National Council) 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 representative of occupied territories. Current President is Salim Za‘nun (previously: ‘Abd al-Muhsin Qattan
from Jul 68; Yahya Hammuda from September 69, Khalid
al-Fahum from July 71-84, Shaykh ‘Abd
al-Hamid al-Sa’ih from November 84-1993); 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 the 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
Palestine Liberation Army - Current status unclear.
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).
Synonyms and alternate spellings: