Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO):
Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), in Arabic Munazzamat At-Tahrir Filastiniyah, initially emerged is an umbrella political organization claiming to represent the world's estimated 4,450,000 Palestinians those Arabs who lived in mandated Palestine before the creation there of the state of Israel in 1948, as well as their descendants. It was formed in 1964 to centralize the leadership of various Palestinian groups that previously had operated as clandestine resistance movements, but it came into prominence only after the Arab-Israeli war of June 1967. The movement is dedicated to the creation of a "Democratic and Secular" Palestinian state.
After the Arab-Israeli war of 1948 the Arab states, notably Egypt, took the lead in the struggle against Israel. The Palestinians themselves had been dispersed among a number of countries, and they lacked organized leadership; as a result their political activity was limited. After the defeat of the Arab states by Israel in the Six-Day War of June 1967, the PLO came to be recognized as the representative of the Palestinians and the promoter of a distinctively Palestinian ideology.
Major factions within or associated with the PLO include Fatah , the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), and the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP). Extremist organizations connected with the PLO have included the Black September group of Fatah and the PFLP-General Command. Membership within the PLO has varied with the reorganizations and internal disagreements of its constituent bodies. Moderate factions within the PLO have proved willing to accept a negotiated settlement with Israel that would yield a Palestinian state. Other, more radical factions are steadfast in their goals of the destruction of Israel and its replacement with a secular state in which Muslims, Jews, and Christians would participate as equals. Funding for the PLO has been received from sympathetic nations and from taxes levied on the salaries of Palestinian workers.
In 1969 Yasir 'Arafat, leader of Fatah, the largest Palestinian group, was named chairman of the PLO. From the late 1960s, the PLO organized and launched armed attacks against Israel from its bases in Jordan. The PLO came into growing conflict with the government of King Hussein of Jordan in 1970, however, and in 1971 was forcibly expelled from Jordan by the Jordanian army. It shifted its bases to Lebanon.
From 1974 'Arafat advocated the PLO's withdrawal from international terrorism outside of Israel and the world community's acceptance of the PLO as the legitimate representative of the Palestinian people. In 1974 the Arab heads of state recognized the PLO as the sole legitimate representative of all Palestinians. The PLO was admitted to full membership in the Arab League in 1976. The PLO was excluded from the negotiations between Egypt and Israel that resulted in 1979 in a peace treaty; the treaty returned the Israeli-occupied Sinai Peninsula to Egypt, but the negotiations failed to win Israel's agreement to the establishment of a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Israel to invade Lebanon on June 6, 1982 to crush PLO resistance. After several weeks of fighting, Israeli troops surrounded the Lebanese capital of Beirut, which for several years had been the PLO's headquarters. As a result of negotiations, most Palestinians evacuated Beirut for transportation to sympathetic Arab nations.
Increasing dissatisfaction with 'Arafat's leadership arose in the PLO after his withdrawal from Beirut to Tunis, Tunisia, and in 1983 Syrian-backed PLO rebels supported by Syrian troops forced 'Arafat's remaining troops out of Lebanon. 'Arafat retained the support of some Arab leaders and eventually was able to reassert his leadership of the PLO.
On Nov. 15, 1988, the PLO proclaimed the "State of Palestine," a kind of government-in-exile; and on April 2, 1989, the PLO's governing body, the Palestine National Council, elected 'Arafat president of the new quasi-state. The PLO during this period also recognized United Nations resolutions 242 and 338, thereby acknowledging Israel's right to exist. It thus abandoned its long-standing goal of eliminating Israel in favour of a policy accepting separate Israeli and Palestinian states, with the latter occupying the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.
In April 1993 the PLO under 'Arafat's leadership entered secret negotiations with Israel on a possible peace settlement between the two sides. The resulting Israel-PLO accords, signed on Sept. 13, 1993, by 'Arafat and the leaders of the Israeli government, included mutual recognition and outlined a gradual transfer of governing authority to the Palestinians of the West Bank and Gaza Strip over a five-year period. After a further agreement between 'Arafat and the Israeli government in 1995 that provided for the expansion of Palestinian self-rule, the election of a right-wing government in Israel in 1996 served to slow down the peace process. After death of Yasir Arafat PLO leadership appears to be divided, the tension with Hamas has caused damage to the Palestinian cause.
Hamas, is acronym of Harakat-Al-Muqawima Al-Islamiyya, [Islamic Resistance Movement], militant Palestinian Islamic movement in the West Bank and Gaza Strip that is dedicated to the destruction of Israel and the creation of an Islamic state in Palestine. Founded in 1987, Hamas opposes the 1993 peace accords between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO).
From the late 1970s, Islamic activists connected with the pan-Arab Muslim Brotherhood established a network of charities, clinics, and schools in Gaza and were active in many mosques; their activities in the West Bank generally were limited to the universities. The Muslim Brotherhood's activities in the West Bank and Gaza were generally nonviolent, but a number of small groups in the occupied territories began to call for jihad, [armed struggle] against Israel. In December 1987, at the beginning of the Palestinian intifada (uprising) against Israeli occupation, Hamas (which is also Arabic for "zeal") was established by members of the Muslim Brotherhood and religious factions of the PLO, and the new organization quickly acquired a broad following. In its 1988 charter, Hamas maintained that Palestine is an Islamic homeland that can never be surrendered to non-Muslims and that waging jihad to liberate Palestine is the duty of Palestinians. This position brought it into conflict with the PLO, which in 1988 recognized Israel's right to exist. They started the peaceful struggle ‘Intifada’, the children stone throwing on occupation forces of Israel. Many innocent lives were lost to the brutal suppression by Israel.
Hamas' armed wing, the 'Izz al-Din al-Qassam Forces, began a campaign of terrorism against Israel. Israel imprisoned the founder of Hamas, Sheikh Ahmad Yasin, in 1991 and arrested hundreds of Hamas activists. Hamas denounced the 1993 peace agreement between Israel and the PLO and, along with the Islamic Jihad group, subsequently intensified its campaign by the use of suicide bombers. The PLO and Israel responded with harsh security and punitive measures, although PLO chairman Yasir 'Arafat sought to include Hamas in the political process, appointing Hamas members to leadership positions in the Palestinian Authority. Hamas won popular vote in the election but power has been resisted by Israel, USA, Western allies and even PLO. Hamas is confined in Gaza strip and PLO in the West Bank.
[Main Source, courtesy: Encyclopedia Britannica]