The Palestine Liberation Organization (the PLO) is established in 1964 on the initiative of Egypt. The organization had the focal intention to unite several Arab-Palestine movements and groups which all of them have been enemies to the Zionist Israel and above all to Israeli existence on the land of Palestine. The most important of those movements and groups were: al-Fatah (The Palestine National Liberation Movement), the Marxist Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, and the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine.
From the formal viewpoint, the external character of the PLO advocated the creation of both a secular and democratic independent state of Palestine and for the wiping out of Israel from the map of the Middle East. After the 1967 Six-Day War, when among other Arab territories, the Jordanian West Bank was occupied by Israel, the PLO was dominated by al-Fatah – the movement which organized guerrilla-terrorist attacks by special commando groups called “fedayeen” from the territory of Jordan against the Israeli authorities. The PLO was chaired by Yasser Arafat and the movement’s fundamental claim to be exclusive political representative of all Palestinians, who have been forming the majority of the Jordanian inhabitants, became soon the crucial challenge to the authority of the King of Jordan who finally was forced to expel the PLO from Jordan after several of bloody accidents in 1970−1971.
Geopolitical and economic backgrounds
For many centuries Palestine had an Arabic-speaking Muslim majority followed by both minorities of the Jewish and the Christian. However, from the late 19th century, the proportions started to be changed as the Jewish people from Central and East Europe became to emigrate mainly under the pressure of the new Zionist ideology of the re-creation of a Jewish national state – Eretz Israel. A plan to partition Palestine into a Jewish (Zionist) and an Arab state, while Jerusalem would be under international control, was adopted by the UNGA on November 29th, 1947. However, the plan, which has been in essence pro-Zionist, was rejected by the Arabs. On the day of British withdrawal May 14th, 1948, a Zionist David Ben Gurion proclaimed an independent state of Israel. The proclamation was followed by a war between the Zionists and the Arabs in which the Arab armies have been defeated. As a consequence, a greater portion of historic Palestine became the Zionist state of Israel while most of the rest was amalgamated with Transjordan to become Jordan, and the Gaza Strip was occupied by Egypt.
The Arab states have not been able to combine effectively against the Zionist Israel like in 1967 usually as their crack troops had to be kept in the capitals during the time of crisis in order to maintain often unpopular regimes being in power. Israel was at the same time playing on the card of inter-Arab confrontations, particularly as it became very clear in the 1970s – to Egypt especially – that the USSR was not ready to risk the major clashes with Israel/USA by supplying its Arab allies with weapons of the appropriate degree of sophistication as the US was supplying the Zionists in Israel.
The Arab-Israeli conflict dominated the politics of the region since May 1948 and has profoundly influenced political events both inside and relations between the regional states of the Middle East. There were four Arab-Israeli Wars from 1948 to 1973 as a part of a broader Zionist-Arab conflict in the Middle East which gradually spilled over into Lebanon for two crucial reasons: 1) As a huge number of the Palestinian refugees lived there; and 2) Because of the PLO’s use of (South) Lebanon as a base for guerrilla-terrorist actions against Israel since 1968. The Zionist Israel since its independence in 1948, has expanded beyond its 1948 borders into the West Bank and the Gaza Strip in 1967, the Sinai Peninsula in 1956, 1967−1981, the Golan Heights in 1967 (officially annexed by Israel in 1981), and has been strongly controlling South Lebanon since 1978. Egypt’s President Anwar el-Sadat’s visit to Israel in 1977 followed by the Israeli-Egypt’s treaty, resulting in the return of the Sinai Peninsula to Egypt in 1981 at the expense of the Egyptian recognition of Israeli independence.
After the 1967 Six-Day War, the UNSC adopted Resolution 242 which decisively rejected territorial acquisitions by force and, therefore, called for an immediate withdrawal of the Israeli security forces from all Arab lands occupied in this war. The same resolution called for the right of all states in the region to exist peacefully within legally recognized borders which had to be secured. However, the technical problem of the interpretation of the text of Resolution 242 became immediate as the grammatical construction of the French language version pointed that Israel should withdraw from “the territories” but the English language version of the same text calls for withdrawal from “territories”. This technical issue, however, was used by Israeli and US, who used the English version, to argue that Resolution 242 is going to be satisfied if Israel would withdraw its security forces not from all but only from some occupied territories in 1967.
The Palestinians rejected to recognize Resolution 242 for a very long time for the very reason that it did not recognize their right to national self-determination or/and to return to their homeland. Resolution 242 calls only for a “just settlement” of the Palestinian refugee problem but without any specific and deeper explanation of what practically that phrase means. Another problem and trap were that by calling for recognition of every state in the region, Resolution 242 necessitated, in fact, unilateral Palestinian recognition of Israel but without reciprocal recognition of Palestinian national rights to have their national independent state which was already in 1947 recognized to exist by the UN plan for the Middle East. For those two reasons of Palestinian rejection of the resolution, the US representative in the UNSC did not use a veto right as obviously Resolution 242 was going into the Israeli favor at the expense of the Arab Palestinians.
During the last several decades, especially since the 1970s when occurred the oil boom, there were many attempts made for the sake to resolve some of the crucial problems of poverty and underdevelopment in the region of the Middle East. In essence, oil is the region’s focal natural resource, and production and revenues have increased dramatically since the mid-1960s, but most notably from 1973 when the OPEC rose the prices of the oil. However, the wealth which oil has created has contributed to serious inflation in the poorer states in the region. At the same time, the lack of local skilled workers created large-scale labor immigration followed by a high proportion of foreign workers permanent features in the region.
The status of the Occupied Territories after June 1967
In the following decades up to today, the focal political problem in the relations between the Arab Palestinians and the Zionist Israel have been and are the status of the so-called Occupied Territories. We have to keep in mind that the lands of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip are separate territories due to the armistice which ended the first 1948−1949 Arab-Israeli War. In other words, in 1949 the newly proclaimed Zionist state of Israel became separated from other parts of the ex-British Mandate Palestine. From the time when the Zionists proclaimed independent Israel in May 1948 up to the Six-Day War in June 1967, the West Bank together with East Jerusalem was part of the Kingdom of Jordan, which annexed the area in 1950 and as a consequence, extended the Jordanian citizenship to the Palestinians living in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. During the same period, the Gaza Strip was under the military rule of Egypt. However, during the 1967 Six-Day War, the Zionists occupied these lands and established a military administration of Israel for the sake to govern the Arab Palestinians of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.
The Israeli authorities justified its territorial expansion followed by the creation of large numbers of settlements on the occupied West Bank (of the Kingdom of Jordan), on the formal grounds that it needs to secure its borders and to protect its citizens from the Arab Palestinian guerrilla-terrorist actions. As a matter of fact, there were around 300 Israeli civilians (the Zionists) who have been killed in such actions within the period from 1967 to 1982. It is quite true that some of those attacks were particularly horrifying terrorist incidents like the Country Club massacre in March 1978, in which 37 Israeli civilians and six Israeli commandos lost their lives. On the other side, however, during the invasion of South Lebanon, which this attack apparently prompted, some 2000 Lebanese and Arab Palestinian civilians have been killed by the Zionist bombs. Furthermore, the Israeli military operations surrounding the attack on Beirut in June-August 1982 resulted in the deaths of up to 20.000 Lebanese and Palestinians, most of whom have been civilians but not combatants.
After 1967, under the new geopolitical schemes, the Arab Palestinians have been constantly denied fundamental human, political, and civil liberties and rights like freedom of expression, the press, and political associations. As a reaction to the Zionist oppression, the Palestinian national patriotism became criminalized as a threat to Israeli security. In the practice, it meant, for instance, that flying the national flag of Palestine was a punishable act. In principle, in the Occupied Territories, the total life of the Palestinians has been regulated, restricted, and outlawed by Israeli military orders. In general, the Israeli policies implemented in both the West Bank and the Gaza Strip included the system of collective punishments like the demolition of the houses of the “terrorists”, blocking the roads, closing of the schools and community institutions, etc. After June 1967, the Palestinian political activists have been deported either to Jordan or Lebanon, the land of Palestinians was confiscated, and thousands of trees are uprooted.
Basically, the focal measure used by the Zionists in their policy of oppression of the Palestinians was the imprisonment followed by the thwarting and punishing the Palestinian national resistance to the occupation of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. According to the Palestinian claims, since 1967 up today, there are around one million arrested and imprisoned Palestinians, many of them without the trial (administratively detained), but most of them after have been prosecuted in the Israeli military courts which have been working based on the martial law system. Consequently, according to the claim, some 45% of the male population of the Arab Palestinians was at least once imprisoned by the Zionist authorities. After the 1967 Six-Day War, torture of Palestinian imprisoners was a usual practice by Israeli authorities. Israeli High Court of Justice forbade in 1999 the use of certain technics in maltreatment of the prisoners. Many Palestinians have died in detention from abuse or neglect. Nevertheless, the Zionist authorities claim that using such harsh measures have been quite necessary in order to stop terrorism. However, the issue is that the Israeli Government traditionally regards any form of the Arab Palestinian opposition and resistance to the Zionist oppression as threats to Israeli security, including non-violent methods too like calling for boycotts, sanctions, or divestment. Furthermore, any international critique of the Zionist regime is immediately labeled as an act of antisemitism by Israeli authorities and their Zionist supporters around the world.
Illegal Jewish settlements
The Zionist Israel as an independent state was established in May 1948 by force and terrorism. Its history is one of constant antagonism, war, occupation, and disagreement between itself and all of its Arab neighbors. The region of the West Middle East composed today of Israel, Syria, Jordan, and the Palestinian territories was a part of the Ottoman Empire from 1516 until the end of WWI when the mandate for control of these territories have been given to France and Great Britain. France got control of Syria while the Bretons gained what is today Israel, Jordan, and the Palestinian territories of the West Bank. The 1917 Balfour’s Declaration when the British foreign secretary Lord James Balfour, made clear promises to the Zionist Jews of Europe for Israel on the territory of Arab Palestine. This Declaration followed by the Jewish immigration from Europe to Palestine in the interwar time when many Zionist settlements were established set the scene for one century of conflict and wars, not only between the Arab Palestinians and the Zionist Jews but more seriously between the Jews and the wider Arab and Islamic world. Therefore, in addition to the first 1948−1949 Arab-Israeli War, the Zionist Israel and its Arab neighbors have gone to next three major wars, including 1956 the Sinai Campaign against Egypt, the Six-Day War in June 1967, and the Yom Kippur War in October 1973 followed by two wars against Lebanon in 1982 and 2006. The last conflict with Lebanon was in 2020 when Israeli bombed by a drone the main seaport of Beirut.
The main focus of disagreements between the Zionists and the Arabs in the Middle East is founded on the fact that both sides are having opposite views over the status of Israel. The Arabs are threatened by the Zionist political ideology of Eretz Israel because Israel already occupied and de facto annexed some of the Arab Palestinian territories and constantly terrorizing the Palestinians of those territories. Additionally, the Israeli Government is systematically implementing the policy of illegal Jewish settlements on the Occupied Territories and, therefore, extending its reach deeper into Arab Palestinian lands. On the other hand, the Zionist political ideology created a focal impact on the beliefs and perceptions held by the Zionist Jews around the main idea that the Jews around the world constitute one (chosen) nation and that they have the right to return (sic, after 2000 years) to what they think to be their ancestral home – the Land of Israel (Eretz Israel), in fact, the Arab Palestine. As a direct consequence of such political ideology and Zionist nationalism, immediately when Israel declared independence in May 1948, it found itself surrounded by only (Arab) enemies that had the final aim to destroy this Zionist political entity. Therefore, it is not surprising that Israel is engaged for 70 years in a struggle for its very survival. For the matter of its security, the Zionist Israel is justifying since 1967 its continuing occupation of the Arab Palestinian lands followed by the heavy-handed tactics employed against the Palestinians.
Syrian and Egyptian dissatisfaction after 1956 took manifestation of repeated guerrilla actions like the shelling of Jewish settlements from the Golan Heights of Syria. However, after 1964, tensions became more serious following Israel’s huge irrigation project which involved diverting water from the Jordan River into the Negev Desert in South Israel to prepare the land for the new wave of Jewish settlements. Then the Syrian Government started its own similar project and if the project would succeed it would have led to waters on the side of Israel drying up. The Israeli response was harsh, illegal, and in a form of a terrorist act as for the sake to prevent this Syrian project, the Zionists bombed civil settlements in Syria in 1964. The Syrian-Israeli tensions did not stop until the end of the 1967 Six-Day War when formally fearful of an all-out Arab attack, Israel launched massive pre-emptive strikes against three Arab states: Syria, Egypt, and Jordan. However, unlike the 1956 Suez Crisis, after 1967 Israel did not withdraw from occupied Arab territories, and it continued to occupy the West Bank and the Golan Heights up today. The Sinai Peninsula became returned to Egypt in 1979 and the Gaza Strip was evacuated in 2005.
After the 1967 Six-Day War up to 2013, the Zionist Government of Israel built 145 official Jewish settlements and some 100 unofficial settlement stations on the Occupied Territories (of the Arab Palestinians). At the same time, the Government allowed some 560.000 Jewish citizens of Israel to move to East Jerusalem and the West Bank (of the Kingdom of Jordan). However, these settlements violated several international legal frameworks including UN Resolution 242 or the Fourth Geneva Convention and other international laws dealing with the military occupation of the foreign land (part of the state). In fact, many of such illegal Jewish settlements have been established on expropriated and private land of the Arab Palestinians.
Nevertheless, Israeli authorities have been justifying for the last 50 years its violation of international law with regard to the building of illegal settlements on the Occupied Territories (and the existence of the Jewish settlement movement) by declaring that East Jerusalem, the Gaza Strip, and the West Bank are not from technical viewpoint occupied lands for the very reason that allegedly they never have been parts of any sovereign either state or territory (what was not true). According to such false and cynical Zionist interpretation, Israel is the only kind of “administrator” of these lands whose final status remains to be internationally fixed. In spite of this, the international community (firstly the UN) rejected many times such official position by Israel and have been keeping that international law has to be valid in all the Occupied Territories. On other hand, nonetheless, not so big effort was done in order to enforce international law or hold Israel responsible for violation of it since June 1967. It is true that around 7.800 Jewish settlers in the Gaza Strip returned to Israel in 2005 but only following the decision by the Israeli Government to evacuate the territory and to seal it up with the Gaza Wall. Since 2005, Israel has total control of the exit/entry of people and goods to/from the Gaza Strip including control of its air space and coastal waters.
The city of Jerusalem was since 1947 a special case in the relations between the Arabs and the Jewish Zionists when the UN’s partition plan proposed that the (holy) city would become an international zone because of its unique historical importance for three civilizations and religions: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. To remind ourselves, for the Christians, Jerusalem is the place where Jesus Christ was crucified but since the late Middle Ages the Christians did not have territorial claims over the city, and instead, they have been interested in safe access to their holy sites in Jerusalem. For the Muslims, after Mecca and Medina, Jerusalem with its famous Al-Aqsa Mosque is the third most important holy site in the world. For the Jews, Jerusalem was the focal center of the Jewish culture, social life, and religion since the year of around 1.000 when the city became the capital of King David’s kingdom. However, due to Jewish emigration within the Zionist program of re-establishing biblical Eretz Israel, a majority of its growing population since 1875 became the Zionist Jews. The UN’s intention in 1947 to create Jerusalem as an international zone was basically motivated with the purpose to ensure free access for all three religions and to prevent potential conflicts among them concerning the struggle for predominance over the city.
After the first 1948−1949 Arab-Israeli War, Jerusalem’s larger (western) half became controlled by the newly independent state of the Zionist Israel, while the smaller (eastern) part, which included the holiest site for the Judaists – the Wailing Wall – became included into the Kingdom of Jordan. In East Jerusalem, as well there was the old walled town within which existed important Christian, Jewish, and Muslim holy and other religious sites. In other words, the 1949 armistice line between the Arabs and the Zionists cut Jerusalem in two. However, such a situation became drastically changed in 1967 when Israel after the new (third) war against the Arabs took control over Jerusalem’s eastern part from the Kingdom of Jordan (together with the West Bank) and soon annexed it. The annexation of East Jerusalem became re-confirmed in 1981. Even though Zionist Israel regards Jerusalem as the “eternal capital” of Eretz Israel the biggest part of the international community still considers East Jerusalem as a part of the West Bank that is the occupied land of the Kingdom of Jordan. For the Arab Palestinians, East Jerusalem is seen as the capital of the future independent state of Palestine. Since the 1967 Six-Day War, the future of Jerusalem is the most problematic issue in the process of the Palestinian-Israeli peace negotiations. However, the question of Jerusalem has been left aside in the negotiations that led to the 1993/1995 Oslo Accords and the 1994 Gaza-Jericho Agreement (or the 1994 Agreement) signed by the Israeli Government and the representatives of the PLO. It was as well a failure to solve the question of Jerusalem in January 2001 which caused a final breakdown of the 1998 Wye Agreement (the Wye River Memorandum) agreed by Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu, the US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, and the PLO’s leader Yasser Arafat.
Since the early 1990s, all Israeli Governments promoted the establishment of new Jewish settlements in the Arab Palestinian lands including and settlements of East Jerusalem. Such a Zionist policy provoked the Palestinian Second Intifada(h) in 2000. Two years later, the Jewish population of Jerusalem was 72% and Palestinian 28% out of the total city’s inhabitants of some 600.000 people.
The creation of the PLO and the first years of activity
The PLO (Palestine Liberation Organization) is established in May 1964 under the initiative of Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser. Among the Arab world, the final liberation of the Arab Palestinian lands from the Zionist occupation was after 1948 a focal political goal in the Middle East and, therefore, it existed inter-Arab competition between the Governments using or supporting different Palestinian guerrilla groups. The PLO’s establishment clearly indicated Egyptian support for the Palestinians with the aim to have certain control over the Palestinian independent actions against Israel as the Palestinian (terrorist) attacks on the territory of Israel would lead to the Zionist reprisals to the neighboring Arab states exposing the vulnerability of Arab authorities. Therefore, formally the PLO was created by the Arab League for the sake to put certain control over the Palestinian way of struggling against Israel. Nevertheless, after a great Zionist victory over the Arab coalition in 1967, the catastrophic defeat opened the doors to younger and more militant Palestinians to gain control over the PLO by getting a certain level of autonomy from the Arab patrons.
The King of Jordan, Hussein, was originally supporting an idea to be created the PLO but at the same time being and suspicious that a Palestinian political-territorial entity (state or autonomous province) can be created which would include the territory of the Jordanian West Bank. This land was Palestinian that had been annexed in 1948 by the Kingdom of Jordan during the first 1948−1949 Arab-Israeli War. In order to avoid any negative consequence for the Jordanian territorial integrity, due to the Jordanian King Hussein, the objective of the PLO in its Constitution was formulated as “the liberation of Palestine” but not as a creation of “the Palestine entity”.
The PLO as a political framework included several different political and military groups that had varying ideological concepts, programs, and directions of activities. The longest and most famous Chairman of the PLO was Yasser Arafat from 1969 until he died in 2004. He was as well at the same time and the leader of al-Fatah that was the largest and most influential group within the framework of the PLO and, therefore, many experts are not, in essence, making a significant difference between the PLO and the al-Fatah. Yasser Arafat was born in Jerusalem or Cairo in 1929. His role in resisting the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian lands is quite well documented. He participated in the Arab war against Israeli independence in 1948−1949 and the Suez Crisis in 1956 in the Egyptian army. In Kuwait, he was one of the co-founders of the established al-Fatah movement which in 1968 became a leading group within the PLO. In the next year, Y. Arafat became the Chairman of the PLO’s Executive Committee. Under his leadership, the PLO was expelled from Jordan in 1970−1971, Beirut in 1982, Damascus and Tripoli in 1983, and South Lebanon in 1988. As a result, there were significant political splits in the PLO, especially after Y. Arafat became more politically realistic in his attempts to reach a peace settlement by negotiations with Israel. While he was seen as a freedom fighter by the Arabs, Israel and the West understood him as a terrorist
Among the other major groups within the PLO alongside al-Fatah, the most significant is the PFLP (the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine), the DFLP (the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine), and the PPP (the Palestine People’s Party). The last one was formerly the Communist Party operating in the Occupied Territories. Even though the PLO was composed of several different factions, the Palestinians in principle have been regarding the PLO as their legitimized political representative institutions on the international diplomatic scene.
The 1967 Six-Day War was especially important for at least three crucial reasons for the region of the Middle East:
- It resulted in a shift in the balance of power in favor of the Zionists, given that Israel had defeated the coalition of Arab armies and occupied important portions of the Arab Palestinian land – the Golan Heights from Syria, East Jerusalem, and the West Bank from the Kingdom of Jordan, and the Sinai Peninsula and the Gaza Strip from Egypt.
- Although the PLO was established in 1964 it was in response to the military-geopolitical fiasco of the Arab bloc in the 1967 Six-Day War that it now claimed to be the sole political representative of the Arab Palestinians especially under the leadership of Yasser Arafat since 1969. Its declared task was the destruction of the Zionist state of Israel and reclaim lands of Palestinians.
- Since 1967, violence directed against Israel was reciprocated by regular invasions into Palestinian territories by the Zionist army of Israel who has been also regularly accused of failing to make a distinction between Palestinian “terrorists”, “fundamentalists” or “militants” on one hand and innocent civilians.
From the 1967 Six-Day War to the 1993 Oslo Accords
After the 1967 Six-Day War, the primary base of actions of the PLO was the Kingdom of Jordan (on the left/eastern bank of the Jordan River as the West Bank was occupied by Israel). However, the conflicts with the Jordanian authorities have been more often and finally in 1970−1971, as a consequence of the confrontations with the Jordanian army as the PLO, in fact, created a state within a state further weakening the position of King Hussein, the leadership of the PLO was forced to leave Jordan. The case of the hijacking of three airplanes caused a civil war in Jordan (Black September) when King Hussein with a newly established military Government launched an attack on the “fedayeen” – the PLO commando forces. During the Jordanian civil war, King Hussein’s appeals to the US for military support have been coordinated with Israeli preparation to come to his assistance if needed. A new territory of relocation for the PLO became Lebanon. Nevertheless, even in Lebanon, it was not a proper political atmosphere for the PLO as in 1975 a civil war broke out in which the PLO became involved. The PLO leadership used the territory of Lebanon from 1975 to 1982 for its operations when due to the Israeli invasion of South Lebanon was forced to be once again relocated to Tunisia.
The Zionist Government of Israel up to 1993 did not want to recognize the national rights of the Palestinians as an independent party involved into the conflict. Up to 1993, Israel was constantly refusing to negotiate with the PLO as accusing this organization of nothing else but a terrorist one. Instead of negotiating with the PLO, Israel was concerning the Palestinian Question, dealing primarily with the Kingdom of Jordan or some other Arab states. In principle, Israel was rejecting even an idea of the creation of the independent state of Palestine, and instead of it was requiring that Palestinians as the Arabs have to be included into some of the already existing Arab states (mainly into Jordan). Contrary to this requirement, there were many anti-Zionists around the globe who have been proposing that Israel has to be dismissed from the map of the Middle East and its Jewish-Zionist citizens to be included into the United States of America as a New Israel. Nonetheless, such a situation ended when Israeli agents started secretly to negotiate with the representatives of the PLO, which finally led to the 1993 Oslo Declaration of Principles or the 1993 Oslo Accords.
There were three crucial reasons for the Israeli Government of Yitzhak Rabin to start secret negotiations with the PLO and finally to sign an agreement with it in Oslo in 1993 and, therefore, to reverse the long-standing Zionist refusal to negotiate with this organization as a legitimate political representative of the Palestinian people: 1) The real fear of rising Islamic fundamentalism among the Palestinians who saw the PLO as a quite moderate organization in dealing with the Zionists and who, therefore, wanted more radical methods (terror acts) against Israel; 2) The political stalemate in the Washington talks; and 3) The pressure by the citizens of Israel to find a political compromise with the Palestinians (modus vivendi). As a result, under Israeli initiated secret negotiations directly with the representatives of the PLO, the talks have been organized in Oslo – the capital of Norway. The final product of these talks was a bilateral Israeli-PLO Declaration of Principles, which became finally signed in September 1993 in Washington.
The PLO with the cardinal diplomatic support by the Syrian Government achieved its crucial political goal in the Arab world when it was recognized in 1974 by all Arab states including and the Kingdom of Jordan as the only political representative of all Palestinians. In the coming years, there was substantial growth in power of the PLO followed by the growth of its paramilitary forces. Such a situation prompted the Government of Israel to take military action against the Palestinian refugee camps in 1981 followed by the invasion of South Lebanon in 1982 with the result that the headquarters of the PLO had to be relocated from Lebanon to Tunisia.
The Lebanon crisis was one of the crucial political problems in the Middle East in the 1970s and the 1980s. The Lebanese political system was and is founded on the basic principle of the distribution of power between several ethnic-confessional communities in the country: Orthodox Christians, Roman Catholic Christians, Armenian Christians, Maronites, Shia Muslims, Druzes, and Suni Muslims. However, the system of the distribution of offices is framed in such a way that it ensured the pre-eminence of the Maronites, even though they have not been since the beginning of the 1970s any more the largest single community in Lebanon. The opposition forces joined by the PLO’s guerrilla forces in the mid-1970s in the attempt to force the Maronites to agree to a secular democratic Lebanon, but have been both pacified by the Syrian military intervention in 1976. After that, the territory of Lebanon became the major arena of the conflict between Israel and the Arabs including the Syrian troops in permanent occupation and the Israeli invasion of South Lebanon in 1978 with the task to destroy the PLO and its HQ. However, the focal military invasion of South Lebanon by the Israeli forces was in 1982 when the PLO was expelled from Beirut and Lebanon but regardless of the presence of foreign (US and European) peace-keeping troops, the opposition forces succeeded to prevent the Lebanese Government to sign a peace agreement with Israel.
Being in Tunisia, frustration about several failures to bring about a quick resolution to the demands for a Palestinian state resulted in several splits and personal challenges to Y. Arafat as a leader of the PLO. Consequently, the PLO became outsmarted by more radical and Islamic organizations like Hezbollah and Hamas, which instigated the Second Intifada in 2000. In general, the PLO started to lose its political significance after the 1993 Oslo Accords and the establishment of the Palestinian Autonomy in 1994. Hamas as the organization, which is an Islamist group and not part of the PLO, emerged at the end of the 1980s rising in power and popularity among the Palestinians from the beginning of the 21st century, additionally declined the authority of the PLO especially in the Gaza Strip.
The PLO since Y. Arafat became elected as a Chairman of its Executive Committee in 1969, the organization became to act as an independent actor, not anymore being under the control of any Government from Arab countries. Even though the cardinal standpoint of the PLO HQ was armed resistance to the Zionist Israeli Government, there was a substantial lack of agreement within the framework of the “fedayeen” concerning both the fighting strategy and military tactics. However, on the one hand, the PLO in the 1970s and the 1980s gained international recognition to represent the Palestinians but on the other hand, its real ability to play this role in order to solve the Palestinian Question appeared to be much difficult. During the Jordanian crisis and civil war, the Governments of Arab states did not want to be involved into the conflict with Israel. At the same time, the long-standing strategic relationships between the USA and Israel have been established.
The PLO: From a “terrorist” organization to the legal representative of the Palestinian nation
From 1971 until 1988 the role of the PLO in the politics of the Middle East was rather marginal regarding several Arab-Israeli wars and peace negotiations. The crux of the matter was that each of Arab states had its own strategy in dealing with both Israel and the Palestinians and, therefore, each Arab Government required that the policy of the PLO and its activities to be compatible with its political strategy and whatever tactics it would be pursuing at the time. However, as a matter of very fact, the PLO in the 1970s and the 1980s technically could not participate in any peace process with the Israeli Government on behalf of the Palestinians as Israel proclaimed the PLO as a “terrorist” organization, while at the same time the Arab Palestinians have been regarding Israel as a “terrorist” state. An additional problem was as the main supporter of the Zionist Israel – the USA (the West Bank of Israel) – accepted the same Israeli policy towards the PLO what meant in the practice that both Washington and the PLO have been forced to the talks via secret diplomatic channels in their political contacts. Basically, Washington became a diplomatic mediator between the PLO and Israel.
Nonetheless, such situation of the status and role of the PLO started to be changed when in 1988 the Jordanian King Hussein turned down the legal and administrative ties of the Kingdom of Jordan with the Occupied Territory of the West Bank directly in the favor of the PLO. The first political act of the PLO after that was that its leader. Yasser Arafat convened the Palestinian National Council (the PNC) which was a legislative body of the PLO which was electing the PLO’s Executive Committee. Y. Arafat on this occasion officially declared the existence of a Palestinian state within the territory of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. The President of such a Palestinian state became Y. Arafat (proclaimed by the PNC). Soon, some 90+ states recognized Palestine as an independent state. The first political act of the post-1988 PLO was that Y. Arafat confirmed the PLO’s recognition of the 1947 UN Resolution 181 according to which the territory of historical Palestine is going to be divided into two independent states: Israel and Palestine. Consequently, the PLO recognized the right of Israel to exist as a state in the region. Furthermore, the PLO recognized as well as two UN Resolutions 242 and 338 and renounced all forms of terrorist acts (against Israel). Obviously, such a political move by the PLO was extremely welcomed by both Israel and the USA and the latter lifted its ban on America’s dealing with the PLO. However, more radical Palestinian and Arab forces accused Y. Arafat of great treachery of the Arab Palestinian national interests.
However, Israel still did not want to recognize the PLO as a political representative of the Palestinian people to negotiate a peace settlement with Israel. That was visible in the following Madrid Peace Process when the Israeli PM, Yitzhak Shamir, did not want to negotiate with Yasser Arafat. From the point of view of Y. Shamir, if Israel will negotiate with the PLO it would be, in practice, to legitimate the position of the PLO as calling for a Palestinian independent state and the return of Palestinian refugees. Therefore, his Israeli Government at this point was more nationalistic and radical compared to the PLO. For the international community, but especially for Washington, since 1990 it became clear that some diplomatic “covers” had to be established before the official Israeli Government and the PLO would seat together to negotiate on the peace plan in the Middle East. Such “cover” was, for instance, a Joint Jordanian-Palestinian delegation composed of all the Palestinians coming from the Occupied Territories and all of whom have been elected by the PLO. It was appointed an advisory group for the support of the negotiating team which has been including those members which Israel would not allow on the team as it was one from East Jerusalem, and one from the Palestinian diaspora. Therefore, on the one hand, the Palestinians had a representative negotiating team which the Israeli Government could formally say that it did not deal with the PLO nor it had recognized East Jerusalem as part of the Occupied Territories.
The further political development of the Middle East depended on the current political conditions in the region. More precisely, in 1991−1993, living conditions in the Occupied Territories became tremendously worst followed by the violence within the framework of human deaths and material destruction. In those years, the PLO lost a significant part of its financial aid usually as a direct consequence of its pro-Iraqi position during the First Gulf War in 1990−1991. At that time, as a matter of very fact, the economy of Israel has been strongly influenced by political events in the Occupied Territories and, therefore the Governments of Israel have been under constant political pressure to revive the political process with the Palestinians (if fact, with the PLO). Consequently, secret political negotiations between the Government of Israel and the Palestinian political-national representatives in the form of the PLO have been done within 8 months from January to September 1993 which began in Oslo (Norway).
The Israeli Government of Yitzhak Rabin offered to the PLO a proposal according to which, initially the Gaza Strip (out of the Jewish settlements) followed by the city of Jericho on the territory of the West Bank are going to receive the status of self-government. This Israeli proposal was, in fact, supported by Y. Arafat himself and a majority of the PLO Executive Committee contrary to the opposition of many Palestinians including even the members of the negotiating Palestinian team. The final result of the Israeli-PLO negotiations has been the Oslo Declaration of Principles which have been founded on UNO Resolutions 242 and 338, provided for a gradual withdrawal of the Israeli military forces during the following 5 years from the Occupied Territories, the creation of the Palestinian Authority, Final Status negotiations with regard to Jerusalem, the return of the Palestinian refugees, about Jewish settlements, and, finally, about borders. After the negotiations, the Oslo 2 Agreement was signed in September 1995 in Washington, D.C. which gave a provision for an extension of the Palestinian autonomy in the West Bank. One month later, Y. Rabin was killed by a Zionist fundamentalist.
In 1994 the PLO established a Palestinian Authority with the municipal self-governing powers within the lands from which Israeli military forces have been re-deployed. The elections for the Palestinian Legislative Council and the presidency of the Palestinian Authority were held in January 1996, which have been won together by Fatah and Y. Arafat.
The PLO accepted such an agreement with the Israeli Government as it was a weaker partner in the process of negotiations and having little diplomatic support within the Arab world. Consequently, both Islamic extremists and some local Palestinian leaders in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank challenged Y. Arafat’s leadership of the Palestinians and, therefore, did not accept the result of the negotiations. As to oppose the PLO, Hamas accepted the military tactics of suicide bombings in retaliation for the Zionist attacks on the Palestinians. One such bloody Zionist attack was, for instance, the massacre by US-born Zionist settler in 1994 of 29 Palestinian civilians who have been praying in the Ibrahim mosque in Hebron. Nevertheless, there were and other committed terror acts by Hamas which have been primarily motivated by a wish to disrupt the Oslo negotiating process.
The Oslo 2 era
Concerning the image and functioning of the PLO after the Oslo negotiating process, it had, in fact, a negative political effect. The Political Department of the PLO was left in Tunis when the rest of the organization was transferred to the Occupied Territories. Basically, the PLO’s leader Y. Arafat became accused of treachery by many Arabs concerning his political concessions given to Israel in Oslo. Consequently, within the PLO was formed several oppositional groups to Y. Arafat’s leadership who claimed that his wisdom of the concessions to Israel in Oslo was anti-Palestinian as the Palestinians in return from Israel got only a small presence in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip from which to secure the remainder of the Occupied Territories (in the 1967 Six-Day War). Nevertheless, on the other hand, in order to secure the remainder of the Occupied Territories the PLO needed continued Palestinian political support, support by international donors, and support by Palestinian police (security) forces. It was such an assumption that those needed supports would strengthen the personal position of Y. Arafat during the negotiations with Israel about the Final Status in the recent future.
The Israeli policy after the Oslo 2 Agreement (signed in September 1995), however, was not going to the favor of the popularity of Y. Arafat as the Zionist Government continued to arrest and eliminate the Palestinian “terrorists” using the methods of targeted assassinations and collective punishments in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. The deepening opposition within the PLO was a result of the lack of vision and political strategy to be used for developing a democratic independent state of Palestine within the changed conditions after the Oslo 2 Agreement as well as. Developing the concept of law-based democracy and democratic institutions in Palestine would inevitably strengthen the negotiating position of the Palestinian side vs Israel. However, instead, Y. Arafat’s PLO found itself after September 1995 increasingly pushed into pursuing Israel’s internal security requirements. But the crucial point was that those requirements did not satisfy the Israeli Government nor strengthen the political position of both Y. Arafat and the PLO.
As a matter of fact, when the Palestinian Authority was established in 1994, it had to exist together with the PLO. The Palestinians have been concerning the question of the functioning of the Palestinian Authority enough organized and united which is an important fact with regard to the international recognition of the Palestinian state in the future. At the beginning after the Oslo 2 Agreement, prospects for a final peace settlement between the PLO and the Israeli Government have been promising but the negotiations soon became found themselves in a stalemate mainly due to the next three factors:
- Effective third-party involvement foundered on the inability of the American administration, for domestic and strategic reasons, to mediate impartially (i.e., not to support Israel).
- The EU’s inability to create a common policy on the issues and its reluctance to stand in opposition to the USA.
- The conditions in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip dramatically became worsen and culminated in an escalating level of violence by both sides.
In July 2000, US President Bill Clinton (“the Butcher of Serbia”) invited Ehud Barak and Yasser Arafat to Camp David for the purpose to negotiate the final status agreement of the Occupied Territories. However, before the meeting even started in Camp David, the Israeli PM, E. Barak officially announced among other things that Israel would not return to its pre-1967 Six-Day War. During the talks, the difference between Israeli and Palestinian representatives was obvious in particular concerning the status of Jerusalem and Palestinian refugees and, therefore, it was in the practice impossible to make any deal. E. Barak in comparison with other Israeli negotiators indeed offered to Y. Arafat a far more extensive plan for Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank but on the other hand, he stubbornly insisted on Israeli sovereignty over East Jerusalem. Such E. Barak’s position became finally unacceptable to both the Palestinian leadership and Arab/Muslim nations across the globe.
The Palestinian representative Y. Arafat left Camp David as a victorious politician in the eyes of Arabs for the very reason that he did not surrender to the US and Israeli diplomatic pressure. E. Barak’s coalition partners in the Knesset left the Government who felt that he offered to Y. Arafat too much. Nevertheless, the Zionist taboo on discussing the status of Jerusalem was ultimately broken in Camp David. The main consequence of the 2000 Camp David II Summit was the fact that the majority of Israelis finally understood that Israel would never reach peace with the Palestinians if it insisted on strictly imposing the Zionist terms on the Palestinians. In such a case, Israel will have to live with the constant conflict with the Arabs.
The post-2000 Camp David II time
The security forces of both sides on the Occupied Territories have been unequal with the crucial advantage lying on the side of Israel. It was believed by the Israeli authorities that the Palestinian attacks on the territory of Israel have been orchestrated by Y. Arafat – the President of the Palestinian Authority. A new phase of political problems started in April 2002 when Israeli forces re-invaded the Palestinian autonomous towns administered by the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank. That was the beginning of the process of destroying the foundations for the creation and functioning of the future independent state of Palestine. The leader of PLO Y. Arafat was, in fact, arrested (put to home imprisonment) in his HQ in the town of Ramallah, until his final illness for the sake to call off the Palestinian violence.
While Y. Arafat governed an extremely poor and disparate territory, he did little to create structures that would offer hope to a violence-torn and impoverished Palestinians. Therefore, he indirectly contributed to his increasingly difficult position between the Palestinian population impatient for the independence of Palestinian national state, and ready for more violence, and an Israeli Government which since Yitzhak Rabin’s assassination on November 4th, 1995 had lost its readiness in dealing with the PLO as the Palestinian representative-political body. After the Oslo 2 Agreement, the PLO failed to build a civilian and legal political and democratic infrastructure within the areas of its authority of the Palestinian authority. More seriously, the PLO became accused by several international donors of the misuse of financial support to the Palestinian Authority. Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) became a new leader of the PLO in 2004 after the death of Y. Arafat (b. 1929).
After the death of Y. Arafat in November 2004, the Fatah movement was becoming gradually weakening following as well as the weakening of the Fatah administration over the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip as a consequence of the rising of the Hamas popularity and prominence among the Palestinians who opted to more radical faction compared to the PLO. Another problem was the Israeli construction of a separation barrier through much of the West Bank which, in fact, cut-off or at least disrupted the communication between the Palestinian communities. Additionally, disengagement from the Gaza Strip was challenged by rocket attacks on Israel.
In 2006, as a consequence of incursions into the Israeli territory which led to the killing and kidnapping of the Israeli soldiers, the Israeli Government started with military attacks on the territories of South Lebanon and the Gaza Strip. In essence, the political-diplomatic gap between Israel and the Palestinian Authority became much wider. The Zionist Government of Israel wanted the violence to stop before the negotiations about the final status of the Occupied Territories would start. At the same time, the Israeli Government was unwilling to consider the previous negotiations with the PLO of Camp David II and the B. Clinton’s proposals. The PLO, having lost the full support of the Palestinians over the decades of what for them seemed fruitless negotiations, was unable to restrain the violence without having something positive to offer from the Government of Israel which it was unwilling to give.
The 2006 elections for the Palestinian Authority
The Fatah political faction that was associated with the PLO leadership of Y. Arafat, became heavily defeated in the 2006 legislative council elections for the Palestinian Authority for the very reason that the majority of the Palestinians voted for the more radical Hamas which after the elections took political control over the Palestinian Authority. There were two focal reasons which led to the elections of Hamas in 2006 – the elections that led to the beginning of the end of the crucial PLO’s political influence over the Palestinians in the Occupied Territories:
- The increasing differences between the Palestinian Authority and its opposition foundation.
- The widespread dissatisfaction over the failure of the peace process led to the election of Hamas.
Consequently, the political conflict between Hamas and Fatah (in fact, the PLO) started and it was not resolved despite efforts at mediation by Egypt, Qatar, and Switzerland. The victory of Hamas in the Palestinian Legislative Council elections in 2006 led, nevertheless, to the imposition of international (pro-Israeli) economic and political sanctions, which in turn undermined the viability of the Palestinian Authority. Soon, sharp confrontation emerged between the Palestinian supporters of Y. Arafat’s Fatah and oppositionist radical Hamas, as a result of the legitimacy and authority of the Palestinian Authority was challenged by the Palestinians, the Israeli Government, and the part of the international community.
Mahmoud Abbas was elected President of the Palestinian Authority in January 2005 after the death of Y. Arafat mainly due to the crucial support by his Fatah party. Next year in January, was organized elections for the Palestinian Legislative Council. The results of the elections surprised many and even for the Israeli Government became extremely dangerous as Hamas won a majority of 77/122 mandates. Hamas’s victory over Fatah (second place) in the popular vote, however, was much narrower: 44.45% vs 41.43%. Nevertheless, it became clear that political affiliations among the Palestinians drastically changed in the favor of radical fundamentalist approach.
There were announced three conditions for participation in internationally organized negotiations between the Palestinian Authority and the Israeli Government by the so-called Quartet (the USA, the UK, Russia, and the UNO):
- The Palestinians have been obliged to accept Israel as an internationally recognized state.
- All sides have to accept all previous agreements signed between Israel and the Palestinian representatives.
- All sides had to reject the use of violence as the means to achieve political tasks.
After the 2006 elections, the winning Hamas officially announced its willingness to the extent a ceasefire with the Zionist Government of Israel. Nevertheless, Hamas’ participation in the elections for the Palestinian Authority was a clear message that this radical organization accepted at least de facto the Oslo accords for the very reason that exactly the agreements in Oslo founded the Palestinian Authority. Additionally, what is of crucial importance in this case of Hamas-Israeli relations, the official top Hamas’ representatives announced that Hamas did not oppose the peace plan from 2002 by the Arab League which offer to recognize the Zionist Israel as an independent state but not necessary only in the case that such recognition can come as a result of the Israeli recognition of the Palestinian rights.
As a matter of response to the victory of Hamas in the 2006 elections, the Quarter cut off its financial support for the Palestinian Authority followed by the Israeli stopping of the collection of the taxation on behalf of the Palestinian Authority. The issue was that this tax revenue was contributing over 50% of the budget of the Palestinian Authority and, therefore, such Israeli measures tremendously weakened the already ruined Palestinian economy. Consequently, since 2006, the Palestinian Authority usually was not able to pay salaries and pensions on time or in full. The US administration simply ignored the full legitimacy of the electoral victory of Hamas in free elections and granted $84 million in a form of military support for the sake of improving the combat ability of the Palestinian Presidential Guard which was fully loyal to M. Abbas. This move was supported by Israel. Additionally, the police forces of the Palestinian Autonomy in the West Bank were trained under the program’s umbrella offered and led by the US Marine administration.
The Gaza Strip and Hamas
Basically, after the 2006 elections for the Palestinian Authority, Fatah was working hand in hand with both US and Israeli authorities against Hamas. Consequently, in summer 2007, Fatah with a full blessing by the US organized a coup to oust Hamas from the Gaza Strip but Hamas preempted this dirty move and only after the bitter struggle succeeded to establish its sole control over the Gaza Strip. From that time onward, the Palestinian governance of the Gaza Strip and the West Bank was divided between Hamas and Fatah but the popularity of Hamas among the Palestinians in comparison to Fatah was increasing constantly especially after Israel’s siege of the Gaza Strip after September 19th, 2007 when the Government of Israel proclaimed the Gaza Strip as hostile land to Israel. Israel transformed Gaza into the concentration camp under blockade with the full support of Egypt under President Hosni Mubarak who late during the Arab Spring had to pay a high price for his treachery like Anwar el-Sadat in 1981. Israel assaulted the Gaza Strip in 2008, 2009, and 2012 in order to destroy Hamas but such actions only enhanced Hamas’ position and popularity among Palestinians either in the Gaza Strip or the West Bank. This popularity was growing, in fact, against Fatah which was during Yasser Arafat the core party of the PLO. Even many of the Arab nations and organizations started to support Hamas instead of Fatah and the PLO. Today it is clear that Hamas has better positions than Fatah/PLO among the Palestinians. It seems that the historical role of Fatah/PLO in fighting for Palestinian rights and statehood already passed to the hands of Hamas.
 Palestine is a land between the Mediterranean coast on the west and the River of Jordan on the east. The land was occupied by the Jews under Abraham who came from Iran or/and Mesopotamia between 2000 and 1550 B.C. and committing genocide on the native population. Palestine was ruled by the Kingdom of Judea and the Kingdom of Israel until the emigration of the Jews after the abortive rising led by Bar Kochba in 132−135 AD. After the Arabic invasion of Palestine in the 7th century, Palestine was populated by a majority of Arab Muslims until the proclamation of the independent state of Israel in 1948. Palestine remained, nevertheless, a central reference point to the Jewish diaspora as their homeland – Eretz Israel (Land of Israel) [David J. Goldberg, John D. Rayner, The Jewish People: Their History and Their Religion, Faber and Faber, 1987].
 Al-Fatah is a militant Palestinian organization that was established by Yasser Arafat in 1958 (after the 1956 Suez Crisis) in Kuwait for the sake to struggle for Arab Palestine against Israel. The organization started with its paramilitary actions in 1964 and took the leadership of the PLO four years later. Regardless of the fact that al-Fatah was almost totally decomposed when the Jordanian King Hussein expelled it from Jordan in 1970−1971, the organization succeeded to be recovered and still remained the focal element of the PLO and at the same time has been providing a foundation for Y. Arafat’s political leadership. Al-Fatah received in the first Palestinian Council elections 55 out of 86 seats in January 1996 and, therefore, making much stronger the position of Y. Arafat within the framework of the PLO. The members of the al-Fatah movement have been involved in the job of a police security, and took an important role in the organizing and leading of the Second Intifada in 2000. At that time, the organization recruited around 10.000 or more young Palestinian fighters who have been ready to fight against the Zionist occupation of the Palestinian lands. Many of those fighters followed the call of Y. Arafat to commit suicide bomb attacks directed at both military and civilian targets of Israel [Jonathan Schanzer, Hamas vs. Fatah: The Struggle for Palestine, St. Martin’s Press, 2008].
 The West Bank is the land of Palestine west of the River Jordan. It was designed by a UN Partition Plan of 1947 as a separate Arab state alongside an independent state of Zionist Israel. However, the West Bank became occupied by the Kingdom of Jordan in 1948 and was annexed the next year. Such a move was, nevertheless, recognized only by two states in the world: the UK and Pakistan. However, the tensions started to exist between West Bank’s Palestinians and the Jordanian authorities as the Arab Palestinians regarded the Government of Jordan as autocratic. In the third Arab-Israeli war (1967) the West Bank was occupied by Israel and it is kept up today. The PLO which was operating from Jordan until 1971 and after that from Lebanon, organized guerrilla attacks on Israel while at the same time Israeli occupation of West Bank became harder followed by constantly increasing numbers of Jewish settlers who have been expropriated the land of Palestinians. Tens of thousands of Arab Palestinian refugees left the West Bank after June 1967 to Jordan and Lebanon but some the local Palestinians have been forcibly expelled from the area. When the First Intifada started in 1987, the Zionist Government of Israel used harsher actions to beat Palestinian resistance which originally started on the Gaza Strip but soon spread to the West Bank. The cases of stone-throwing Palestinian youngsters being beaten and shot in huge numbers are well-known. The land of West Bank became in 2000 during the Second Intifada the ground of numerous assaults against Israel as the West Bank has a long border with Israel and because of the large number of new Zionist illegal settlements on the territory of West Bank. This land became in 2002 the focal place of the new Israeli-Palestinian war during which the Zionist army of Israel invaded several centres of Palestinian autonomy like Ramallah, Jericho, and Jenin [Yonah Jeremy Bob, Justice in the West Bank? The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict Goes to Court, Jerusalem−New York: Gefen Publishing House, 2019].
 In the Ancient World two, the most prominent examples of client-system alliances have been Athens-led Arhe and Sparta-led Peloponnesian Alliance. These two political-military alliances fought the Peloponnesian War from 431 to 404 with the final victory of Sparta with crucial support by Persia [Alan Isaacs et al (eds.), Oxford Dictionary of World History, Oxford−New York: 2001, 486]. In contemporary history two, the most prominent formal alliances to dominate the international security scene were the US-led NATO (est. 1949) and the USSR-led Warsaw Pact (est. 1955) during the Cold War. The NATO was a clear expression of the American post-WWII global imperialism when the US had “more than 300.000 troops in Europe, with advanced planes, tanks, and other equipment” [Joshua S. Goldstein, International Relations, Fifth Edition, New York: Longman, 2003, 105]. Its imperialistic role continued and after the dissolution of the Warsaw Pact in 1991 and the formal, but not essential, end of the Cold War 1.0.
 The Lebanese political system is based on the distribution of offices between several communities as they are: Maronite, Christian Orthodox, Roman Catholic, Armenian Christians, Sunni and Shia Muslims, and Druzes in a way which ensured the pre-eminence of the Maronites, although by the 1970s they were no longer the largest single community in Lebanon. Opposition forces joined with the PLO guerrillas in the mid-1970s in an attempt to force the Maronites to agree to a secular democratic Lebanon. However, both of them were checked by the Syrian intervention in 1976. After that, the territory of Lebanon became the crucial arena of the Arab-Israeli conflict with Syrian troops in permanent occupation and the Israeli invasion of South Lebanon in 1978. A major invasion by the Zionist Israel in 1982 succeeded in expelling PLO’s forces from Beirut, but in spite of the presence of US and European peace-keeping troops, the opposition forces managed to prevent the Government from concluding permanent agreements with Israel.
 Both English and French together with Arabic, Chinese, Russian, and Spanish languages are official of the UN.
 The Persian Gulf was and is the crucial exploited region of oil and natural gas resources in the world. It was producing 41% of the world’s oil requirements, for instance, in 1979. In the 1980s, the strategic importance of the region became sharply defined when started the Iraqi-Iran War that interrupted the export of oil from the Persian Gulf.
 Yotav Eliach, Judaism, Zionism and the Land of Israel: The 4,000 Year Religious, Ideological and Historical Story of the Jewish Nation, Dialog Press, 2018.
 Guy Laron, The Six-Day War: The Breaking of the Middle East, New Heaven−London: Yale University Press, 2017.
 See more in [Robert I. Friedman, Zealots for Zion: Inside Israel’s West Bank Settlement Movement, New Brunswick, New Jersey: Rutgers University Press, 1994; Charles Selenqut, Our Promised Land: Faith and Militant Zionism in Israeli Settlements, Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield, 2015].
 See more in [Nur Masalha, Imperial Israel and the Palestinians: The Politics of Expansion, London: Pluto Press, 2000].
 Jonatan Schanzer, State of Failure: Yasser Arafat, Mahmoud Abbas, and the Unmaking of the Palestinian State, New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2013.
 David Makovsky, Making Peace with the PLO: The Rabin Government’s Road to the Oslo Accord, London−New York: Routledge, 2018.
 Yitzhak Rabin (1922−1995) was Israeli General and PM in 1974−1977 and 1992−1995. He was born in Jerusalem as the son of Russian immigrants. He became PM for the second time on July 13th, 1992 with Shimon Peres as his Secretary of Foreign Affairs. Being strongly encouraged by Sh. Peres, Y. Rabin started to work for the compromise with the Palestinians. As a consequence, his Government recognized the PLO in the Oslo Accords. He signed the 1993 Gaza-Jericho Agreement according to which, the first Palestinian areas were given autonomy status. He reached the peace treaty with King Hussein of Jordan in 1994 and in the same year together with Y. Arafat and Sh. Peres, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. He was killed next year by a Zionist extremist after addressing a peace meeting in front of over 100.000 supporters when he was explaining that Israeli security would not be put at the risk by a peace treaty with the PLO of Y. Arafat.
 Geoffrey R. Watson, The Oslo Accords: International Law and the Israeli-Palestinian Peace Agreements, Oxford−New York: Oxford University Press, 2000; Petter Bauck, Mohammad Omer (eds.), The Oslo Accords, 1993−2013: A Critical Assessment, Cairo−New York: The American University in Cairo Press, 2013.
 Hezbollah (in Arab, “party of Allah”) is a radical Islamic fundamentalist party and guerrilla organization. It became established as a response to the Israeli military occupation of South Lebanon in 1982−1984. Hezbollah was chiefly committed to the expulsion of the Israeli military from Lebanon and for this purpose, Hezbollah committed regular terrorist attacks on both military and civilian targets in North Israel. Nevertheless, finally, it accepted an idea of total destruction of the state of the Zionist Israel but at the same time and an idea of the creation of a theocratic Islamic Palestinian state. In response to the 1994 Gaza-Jericho Agreement, Hezbollah joined a radical Arab alliance to fight the subsequent peace procedure in the Middle East, which it managed to put at serious risk in 1996 when Hezbollah’s attacks on North Israel provoked heavy Israeli bombardment of South Lebanon.
 Hamas (in Arab, Enthusiasm) is a Palestinian patriotic guerrilla organization that was created in the Gaza Strip. Soon, the organization became radicalized on the basis of poverty, unemployment, and above all the Zionist military rule. Hamas is financed from Iran by annual donations of circa 30 million USD, and the organization is managing to recruit some 8.000 guerrilla freedom fighters against the oppressive Zionist Israel. Hamas together with Hezbollah led the Second Intifada in 2000 and became a leading Palestinian radical organization in the Gaza Strip. During the last 20 years, almost 50% of the Palestinians in Israeli prisons are the members of Hamas. This organization opposed the 1994 Gaza-Jericho Agreement between the PLO and Israel as well as the rule of the rival PLO in the Gaza Strip. In this Palestinian territory Hamas is enjoying substantial support compared to the PLO during the last two decades. Hamas is building hospitals, schools and other facilities to the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip and, therefore, it is seen by much of the population as a positive political influence in the Palestinian struggle against the Zionist Israel. However, the constant attacks by Hamas against Israel led to a radicalization of the Israeli electorate. At the same time, Y. Arafat became unable to prevent Hamas effectively, owing to the support it enjoyed in the Gaza Strip. By 2002 Hamas basically succeeded in its political aims.
 Jonathan Schanzer, Hamas vs. Fatah: The Struggle for Palestine, New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2008.
 See more in [Brynjar Lia, A Police Force without a State: A History of the Palestinian Security Forces in the West Bank and Gaza, Reading: Ithaca Press, 1999; Brynjar Lia, Building Arafat’s Police: The Politics of International Police Assistance in the Palestinian Territories after the Oslo Agreement, Reading: Ithaca Press, 2005].
 About the 2000 Camp David II Summit, see in [Bruce Maddy-Weitzman, The Camp David Summit−What Went Wrong, Sussex Academic Press, 2005].
 About M. Abbas, see in [Grant Rumley, Amir Tibon, The Last Palestinian: The Rise and Reign of Mahmoud Abbas, Amherst, NY: Prometheus, 2017]. About Y. Arafat and M. Abbas, see in [Jonathan Schanzer, State of Failure: Yasser Arafat, Mahmoud Abbas, and the unmaking of the Palestinian State, New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2013].
Originally published on 2022-04-04 by Global Politics Magazine
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