Founded in 1964, the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) was a political organization composed of several smaller groups which struggled for the international recognition of Palestine as an independent nation on the territory of the British Mandate. However, since its creation and for more than two decades, the PLO acted as an extremist group which carried out many terrorist attacks in the Middle East and world wide, such as commercial aircraft kidnapping and bombing. The PLO’s political and armed struggle had two objectives: 1) recognition of Palestine; 2) destruction and total dissolution of Israel as a nation.
The first objective of the Palestine Liberation Organization was a contradiction and a paradox, since the Palestinians had already been given the opportunity to have their own free State on the territory allocated for them by the United Nation; on November 29, 1947, the UN General Assembly had approved Resolution 181, which called for the creation of two States: an Arab State and a Jewish State on the territory ruled by the British Mandate. The Jewish population accepted it and created the State of Israel on May 14, 1948; however, the Arabs in the Palestine rejected the UN Resolution 181 and began an all-out war against the Jewish population. Despite of being heavily outnumbered, the newly-created nation of Israel defeated not only the Palestinians but also all the Arab nations of (Egypt, Syria, Jordan, Iraq), which also wanted to destroy the Jewish State. So, the total destruction of Israel had always been the second objective of the PLO and the Arab world.
The largest political faction of the Palestine Liberation Organization was al-Fatah; in 1969, its commander, Yasir Arafat, took over the organization and began to conduct guerrilla attacks on the Israeli population. Since Israel retaliated, Arafat was forced to move the PLO’s headquarters to southern Lebanon, from which they continued to wage war against the Jewish people as they joined the Arab League in 1976. In order to put an end to these terrorist attacks, the Israeli Army invaded Lebanon in 1982, routing the PLO guerrillas from the there. However, in 1988, more than half of the PLO’s members decided to recognize the State of Israel as smaller and extremist factions broke away from the organization (such as Hamas). In 1996, the PLO’s foundation charter was modified and the clause that called for the dissolution of Israel was deleted. In exchange for the changes in the PLO’s charter, Israel recognized the Palestine Liberation Organization as the legal political entity representing the Palestinians on the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.
Yasir Arafat died in 2004. He was succeeded by Mahmoud Abbas and the PLO would become part of the Palestinian National Authority.