News / Middle East

    PLO's 50th Anniversary Subdued

    Low-key 50th Anniversary For PLOi
    X
    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

    California Republicans Mull Choices in Presidential Race

    Ted Cruz tells California Republican Convention delegates the campaign will be 'a battle on the ground, district by district by district,' ahead of the June 7 primary

    Video Kurdish Football Team Helps War-Torn City Cope

    With conflict still raging across much of Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, many Kurds are trying to escape turmoil by focusing on success of football team Amedspor

    South African Company Designs Unique Solar Cooker

    Two-man team of solar power technologists introduces Sol4, hot plate that heats up so fast it’s like cooking with gas or electricity

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensionsi
    X
    April 29, 2016 12:28 AM
    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensions

    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Master Mohammad Ayub runs a makeshift school in a public park in Islamabad. Thousands of poor children have benefited from his services over the years, but, as VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem reports, roughly 25 million school-age youths don't get an education in Pakistan.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Bangladesh Targeted Killings Spark Wave of Fear

    People in Bangladesh’s capital are expressing deep concern over the brutal attacks that have killed secular blogger, and most recently a gay rights activist and an employee of the U.S. embassy. Xulhaz Mannan, an embassy protocol officer and the editor of the country’s only gay and transgender magazine Roopban; and his friend Mehboob Rabbi Tanoy, a gay rights activist, were hacked to death by five attackers in Mannan’s Dhaka home earlier this month.
    Video

    Video Documentary Tells Tale of Chernobyl Returnees

    Ukraine this week is marking the 30th anniversary of the world's worst nuclear accident, at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Soviet officials at first said little about the accident, but later evacuated a 2,600-square-kilometer "exclusion zone." Some people, though, came back. American directors Holly Morris and Anne Bogart created a documentary about this faithful and brave community. VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko reports from New York on "The Babushkas of Chernobyl." Carol Pearson narrates.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.
    Video

    Video  Return to the Wild

    There’s a growing trend in the United States to let old or underused golf courses revert back to nature. But as Erika Celeste reports from one parcel in Grafton, Ohio, converting 39 hectares of land back to green space is a lot more complicated than just not mowing the fairway.
    Video

    Video West Urges Unity in Libya as Migrant Numbers Soar

    The Italian government says a NATO-led mission aimed at stemming the flow of migrants from Libya to Europe could be up and running by July. There are concerns that the number of migrants could soar as the route through Greece and the Balkans remains blocked. Western powers say the political chaos in Libya is being exploited by people smugglers — and they are pressuring rival groups to come together under the new unity government. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Russia’s TV Rain Swims Against Tide in Sea of Kremlin Propaganda

    Russia’s media freedoms have been gradually eroded under President Vladimir Putin as his government has increased state ownership, influence, and restrictions on critical reporting. Television, where most Russians get their news, has been the main target and is now almost completely state controlled. But in the Russian capital, TV Rain stands out as an island in a sea of Kremlin propaganda.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora