As the situation in Israel and the Palestinian Territories deteriorates, it’s worth looking at the long history of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO).
The PLO has come a long way from that heady moment in January 1964 when an Arab summit meeting authorised its creation.
Let’s rewind to early February 2022. That was the moment a shrunken PLO was on display. It was a rare meeting of the PLO’s 124-member Central Committee. I use the words “on display” but for that you need someone to be watching. It’s a moot point if anyone, beyond close observers of the Arab world, even noticed that the PLO was having the first meeting in four years of its nominal governing body.
Hardly anyone was outraged that many of the key executive committee vacancies were filled with people loyal to Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas.
Much of the world is indifferent to the fact that the PLO’s once-key meeting was boycotted by several leftist factions.
As Ghassan Khatib, a political scientist at Birzeit University on the West Bank, has noted, there are “very significant questions about the legitimacy” of the PLO.
It does seem as if the PLO, once the catalyst and the driver of the Palestinian national movement, is nearly dead. What comes to replace it is yet to be determined.
The PLO’s situation is a lot darker now and it says a great deal about how much it has metamorphosed over the decades that what happens with the PLO no longer represents Palestinian prospects.
Looking back at pieces that have already appeared in this series:
Nakba: what the catastrophe meant for Palestinian political development