The PLO's "Phased Plan"
In the October 1973 Yom Kippur War, the Arab states launched a
surprise attack against Israel on the holiest day of the Jewish
calendar. Once again they tried to eliminate Israel,
further motivated this time by the desire to
redeem their honor after their major defeat in the 1967 Six-Day War.
Though Israel was initially caught off guard, it then regrouped
and repelled the Arab attack, but not before incurring heavy
The war convinced the Arabs that they would not be able to destroy
Israel militarily within its post-1967 boundaries. Thus they embarked
upon a new three-stage strategy for Israel's destruction, embodied in the
PLO's 1974 decision commonly known as the Phased Plan (the text of
which is below).
The plan in brief:
- Through the "armed struggle" (i.e., terrorism),
to establish an "independent combatant national authority" over any
territory that is "liberated" from Israeli rule. (Article 2)
- To continue the struggle against Israel, using the territory
of the national authority as a base of operations. (Article 4)
- To provoke an all-out war in which Israel's Arab
neighbors destroy it entirely ("liberate all Palestinian territory").
Today, the Phased Plan remains relevant. Speaking just after the
revelation of the Israel-PLO accord, PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat
announced that the historic agreement "will be a basis for an
independent Palestinian state in accordance with the Palestine
National Council resolution issued in 1974.... The PNC resolution
issued in 1974 calls for the establishment of a national authority
on any part of Palestinian soil from which Israel withdraws or
which is liberated." (Radio Monte Carlo, 1 September 1993)
It is worth noting that the PLO's term for the self-rule council now
place in Gaza and the West Bank is the "Palestinian National Authority,"
echoing the language of the Phased Plan.
Also note that Articles 5-6 call for a revolution in Jordan to
establish a new Jordanian regime which will ally itself with the
Palestinian National Authority. Historically, Jordan comprised the
bulk of the Palestine territory, and a majority of its residents
are of Palestinian origin. The PLO has never recognized the legitimacy
of Kingdom of Jordan as a state independent of Palestine.
THE PLO'S PHASED PLAN
Adopted at the 12th Session of the Palestinian National
Cairo, June 9, 1974
Text of the Phased Plan resolution:
The Palestinian National Council:
On the basis of the Palestinian National Charter and the Political
Programme drawn up at the eleventh session, held from January 6-12,
1973; and from its belief that it is impossible for a permanent and just
peace to be established in the area unless our Palestinian people
recover all their national rights and, first and foremost, their rights
to return and to self-determination on the whole of the soil of their
homeland; and in the light of a study of the new political circumstances
that have come into existence in the period between the Council's last
and present sessions, resolves the following:
- To reaffirm the Palestine Liberation Organization's previous attitude
to Resolution 242, which obliterates the national right of our people
and deals with the cause of our people as a problem of refugees. The
Council therefore refuses to have anything to do with this resolution at
any level, Arab or international, including the Geneva Conference.
- The Liberation Organization will employ all means, and first and
foremost armed struggle, to liberate Palestinian territory and to
establish the independent combatant national authority for the people
over every part of Palestinian territory that is liberated. This will
require further changes being effected in the balance of power in favour
of our people and their struggle.
- The Liberation Organization will struggle against any proposal for a
Palestinian entity the price of which is recognition, peace, secure
frontiers, renunciation of national rights and the deprival of our
people of their right to return and their right to self-determination on
the soil of their homeland.
- Any step taken towards liberation is a step towards the realization
of the Liberation Organization's strategy of establishing the democratic
Palestinian state specified in the resolutions of previous Palestinian
- Struggle along with the Jordanian national forces to establish a
Jordanian-Palestinian national front whose aim will be to set up in
Jordan a democratic national authority in close contact with the
Palestinian entity that is established through the struggle.
- The Liberation Organization will struggle to establish unity in
struggle between the two peoples and between all the forces of the Arab
liberation movement that are in agreement on this programme.
- In the light of this programme, the Liberation Organization will
struggle to strengthen national unity and to raise it to the level where
it will be able to perform its national duties and tasks.
- Once it is estabished, the Palestinian national authority will
strive to achieve a union of the confrontation countries, with the aim
of completing the liberation of all Palestinian territory, and as a step
along the road to comprehensive Arab unity.
- The Liberation Organization will strive to strengthen its solidarity
with the socialist countries, and with forces of liberation and progress
throughout the world, with the aim of frustration all the schemes of
Zionism, reaction and imperialism.
- In light of this programme, the leadership of the revolution will
determine the tactics which will serve and make possible the realization
of these objectives.
The Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization will
make every effort to implement this programme, and should a situation
arise affecting the destiny and the future of the Palestinian people,
the National Assembly will be convened in extraordinary session.