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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 casualties.

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:

  1. 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)
  2. To continue the struggle against Israel, using the territory of the national authority as a base of operations. (Article 4)
  3. To provoke an all-out war in which Israel's Arab neighbors destroy it entirely ("liberate all Palestinian territory"). (Article 8)

Today, the Phased Plan remains relevant. Speaking just after the 1993 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 in 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

Political Programme

Adopted at the 12th Session of the Palestinian National Council

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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 National Councils.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.

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