News / Middle East

    PLO's 50th Anniversary Subdued

    Low-key 50th Anniversary For PLOi
    Scott Bobb
    May 28, 2014 7:42 PM
    The Palestine Liberation Organization is marking the anniversary of its founding 50 years ago, but any celebrations are subdued. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from the al-Amari refugee camp, near Ramallah.
    Scott Bobb
    The Palestine Liberation Organization is marking the anniversary of its founding 50 years ago, but any celebrations are subdued.  
    Al-Amari refugee camp, one of the largest in the West Bank.   It is the 50th birthday of the Palestine Liberation Organization, but no one seems to know it.
    The PLO, made up of nearly a dozen parties, signed the Oslo Accords in 1993.  The internationally recognized representative of the Palestinian people, it also declared Palestinian independence in 1988.
    It has also experienced setbacks.  Its dominant member, Fatah, was expelled from Gaza by Hamas militants seven years ago.   And the PLO was driven from Jordan and Lebanon in the 1970s and ‘80s.
    But Executive Committee Member Qais Abdul-Karim Abu-Laila says the PLO has played an important role.
    “The main thing is the PLO has reconstructed the political unity of the Palestinian people and in this way it has foiled the attempt by the Zionist movement to obliterate the Palestinians as a distinct nation," said Abu-Laila.
    But at al-Amari camp, many are disillusioned.  Ahmed Moussa belongs to the Popular Committee that tries to help the residents.  He says the PLO has declined since of the rise of the Palestinian Authority and Islamist movements like Hamas.
    “Since the Palestinian Authority has taken over the role as the representative of the Palestinian people, the PLO is no longer as strong as it was in the 1960s and ‘70s," said Moussa.
    Fatah and Hamas have been trying to end their deep divisions.  The two groups Tuesday announced they had reached agreement on a unity government.  Fatah delegate, Azzam al-Ahmed:
    “We have just finished our consultations in a semi-final form and the viewpoints of Hamas and Fatah movements and names will be presented to President Abu Mazen [Mahmoud Abbas] to give his final decision in the government line-up," said al-Ahmed.
    Abu Laila believes Hamas could join the PLO.
    “We now have a situation where the Islamic factions have been convinced, or they came to a conviction, that they could deal with their disagreements with the other factions within the umbrella of the PLO, not outside this umbrella," he said.
    But Moussa is not optimistic.
    “The Organization, if it wants to return as strong as it was and as the sole representative of the Palestinian people, it has to hold elections for the entire leadership, from the bottom up," he said.
    Opinion polls show many Palestinians are disillusioned with their political leaders.  Many believe reconciliation could help their cause, but few believe it will happen.

    You May Like

    Russian-speaking Muslim Exiles Fear Possible Russia-Turkey Thaw

    Exiled from Russia as Islamic radicals and extremists, thousands found asylum in Turkey

    US Presidential Election Ends at Conventions for Territorial Citizens

    Citizens of US territories like Guam or Puerto Rico enjoy participation in US political process but are denied right to vote for president

    UN Syria Envoy: 'Devil Is in the Details' of Russian Aleppo Proposal

    UN uncertain about the possible humanitarian impact of Russian proposal to establish escape corridors in Aleppo

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Uganda Unveils its First Solar-powered Busi
    July 28, 2016 4:16 AM
    A solar-powered bus described by its Ugandan makers as the first in Africa has made its public debut. Kiira Motors' electric bus, Kayoola, displayed recently at a stadium in Uganda's capital. From Kampala, Maurice Magorane filed this report narrated by Salem Solomon.

    Video Uganda Unveils its First Solar-powered Bus

    A solar-powered bus described by its Ugandan makers as the first in Africa has made its public debut. Kiira Motors' electric bus, Kayoola, displayed recently at a stadium in Uganda's capital. From Kampala, Maurice Magorane filed this report narrated by Salem Solomon.

    Video Silicon Valley: More Than A Place, It's a Culture

    Silicon Valley is a technology powerhouse and a place that companies such as Google, Facebook and Apple call home. It is a region in northern California that stretches from San Francisco to San Jose. But, more than that, it's known for its startup culture. VOA's Elizabeth Lee went inside one company to find out what it's like to work in a startup.

    Video Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Process

    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.

    Video Philadelphia Uses DNC Spotlight to Profile Historic Role in Founding of United States

    The slogan of the Democratic National Convention now underway in Philadelphia is “Let’s Make History Again” which recognizes the role the city played in the foundation of the United States in the 18th century. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, local institutions are opening their doors in an effort to capitalize on the convention spotlight to draw visitors, and to offer more than just a history lesson.

    Video A Life of Fighting Back: Hillary Clinton Shatters Glass Ceiling

    Hillary Clinton made history Thursday, overcoming personal and political setbacks to become the first woman to win the presidential nomination of a major U.S. political party. If she wins in November, she will go from “first lady” to U.S. Senator from New York, to Secretary of State, to “Madam President.” Polls show Clinton is both beloved and despised. White House Correspondent Cindy Saine takes a look at the life of the woman both supporters and detractors agree is a fighter for the ages.

    Video Dutch Entrepreneurs Turn Rainwater Into Beer

    June has been recorded as one of the wettest months in more than a century in many parts of Europe. To a group of entrepreneurs in Amsterdam the rain came as a blessing, as they used the extra water to brew beer. Serginho Roosblad has more to the story.

    Video First Time Delegate’s First Day Frustrations

    With thousands of people filling the streets of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania for the 2016 Democratic National Convention, VOA’s Kane Farabaugh narrowed in on one delegate as she made her first trip to a national party convention. It was a day that was anything but routine for this United States military veteran.

    Video Commerce Thrives on US-Mexico Border

    At the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia this week, the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, is expected to attack proposals made by her opponent, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Last Friday, President Barack Obama hosted his Mexican counterpart, President Enrique Peña Nieto, to underscore the good relations between the two countries. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Tucson.

    Video Film Helps Save Ethiopian Children Thought to be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at effort of African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora