During the decade from 1958 to 1968, a foundational development occurred in modern Palestinian history. It started as the notion of creating a Palestinian political entity emerged and took shape in the
In February 1958,
Meanwhile, in Fall 1959, the Iraqi head of state General
The urgency for action was underscored by Israel’s preparations to divert the
At the first Arab summit, held in Cairo between 13 and 17 January 1964, the participants condemned Israel’s “dangerous new aggression against Arab waters through diverting the Jordan River’s waters.” It took “the practical decisions necessary to guard against the Zionist danger, whether in the areas of defense or technology or with regard to organizing the Palestinian people and enabling it to play its role in the liberation of its homeland and its quest for self-determination.” The summit entrusted
Shuqairi thus seemingly exceeded the powers delegated to him when he decided to convene a
On 2 June 1964, the PNC announced the creation of the PLO and approved a National Charter and a Basic Law of the organization. Shuqairi was elected president of the PLO and entrusted to select twelve members for its executive committee.
The positions of the organized Palestinian forces were generally negative toward the outcome of the PNC. Representatives criticized its style as top-down and “distant from the masses and democracy.” The same applied to the formation of the PLO, the subordination of its head to the pressures exerted by Arab governments, and its refusal to assert Palestinian sovereignty over Palestinian land. However, the PLO did succeed—over Syrian and Saudi opposition—to achieve recognition at the second Arab summit, held in
The Arab defeat in the June 1967 war
had a significant direct impact on Palestinian scene. The defeat brought about the realization that counting on the Arab regular armies was unrealistic and that the Arab governmental approach exemplified by the creation of a PLO of notables was unlikely to yield positive results. The Palestinian national struggle was liberated from the bonds of official Arab sponsorship. Shuqairi was forced to resign as president of the PLO. The phenomenon of guerrilla action became widespread, and new Palestinian organizations were formed. The fierce resistance demonstrated by the Palestinian fighters and the relatively heavy losses suffered by the Israeli army in the
This was achieved at the fourth session of the PNC, held in Cairo from 10 to 17 July 1968. There a new
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