HISTORY OF RESISTANCE TO THE ZIONIST PROJECT
- PALESTINIAN RESISTANCE TO THE ZIONIST PROJECT
BY Nizar Sakhnini
Palestinian resistance to the Zionist project started
before the Basle Program and before the Balfour
Declaration. The first signs of Palestinian
resistance were a direct and spontaneous reaction to
the efforts of the pioneer Zionist settlers to
dispossess and displace the Arab fellahin, which were
provocative and led to violent confrontations.
The Muslim-Christian Association appeared in Jaffa and
Jerusalem in 1918 as a result of the anti-Zionist
awakening following the Balfour Declaration. It was
composed of traditional representatives of the leading
families and religious community and soon became a
countrywide network with its headquarters in
The Arab Executive was elected at the 3rd National
Congress in Haifa in December 1920 to turn the
Muslim-Christian Associations into a permanent body to
defend the Palestinian cause. The Arab Executive led
the Palestinian political movement until 1935 and was
replaced by an Arab Higher Committee (AHC) that was
formed in 1936.
In September 1948, the AHC announced the establishment
of an all-Palestine government in Gaza, which was
later moved to Cairo and proved to be a complete
failure. It was helpless and powerless reflecting the
loss and the aimlessness of the Palestinians who did
not know what to do.
After a decade during which all hopes were dashed, a
number of Palestinian movements advocating armed
struggle to restore Palestinian rights began to
Following the outbreak of the Intifada, a new
Palestinian faction entered the struggle: HAMAS.
Hamas was a militant Muslim movement. Members of the
Muslim Brotherhood led by Sheikh Ahmad Yassin founded
it in 1987. It advocated a Holy War and called for an
Islamic state in Palestine. Hamas did not join the
In January 1964, Egypt proposed an independent
Palestinian entity: the Palestine Liberation
Organization (PLO) led by Ahmad al Shukairy. Shukairy
held a meeting in Jerusalem on May 1964, which was
attended by 422 Palestinian national figures. The
meeting laid down the structure of the Palestine
National Council (PNC), the PLO Executive Committee,
the National Fund and the Palestine Liberation Army
(PLA) as well as approving a Palestinian National
Covenant and Basic Law.
On 24 December 1967, Shukairy resigned as chairman of
the PLO and FATAH took over. Yasser Arafat became the
The growing influence of the Palestinian factions in
Amman represented a threat to King Hussein and led to
a bloody operation by the Jordanian army against the
Palestinians in September 1970 (Black September). As
a result, the Palestinian factions were expelled from
Jordan and moved to Lebanon.
The PLO was recognized by the U.N. General Assembly on
14 October 1974 and gained the status of observership.
On 23 October 1974, the Arab Summit meeting, held in
Rabat, Morocco, declared the PLO as the sole
legitimate representative of the Palestinian people.
The PLO and all the Palestinian factions were finally
forced out of Lebanon as a result of the Israeli
invasion in 1982 and moved to Tunis.
In November 1988, the PNC formally ratified a
two-state settlement of the conflict. In December
1988, the PLO announced in Geneva its recognition of
Israel's right to exist and its renunciation of
`terrorism'. This was the start for a path that led
FROM LIBERATION TO STRANGULATION:
1967: The Popular Front for the Liberation of
Palestine (PFLP) was founded.
1968, March: Israel attacked the village of Karama on
the East Bank of the Jordan and faced a heroic stand,
which gave the PLO a boost and increased its
1968, July: The Palestinian National Charter was
adopted by the Palestine National Council held during
the period 1-17 July 1968. Article 1 of the Charter
stated, "Palestine is the homeland of the Arab
Palestinian people; it is an indivisible part of the
Arab homeland, and the Palestinian people are an
integral part of the Arab nation". Article 2 stated,
"Palestine, with the boundaries it had during the
British Mandate, is an indivisible territorial unit".
Article 9 of the Charter stated, "Armed struggle is
the only way to liberate Palestine. This is the
overall strategy, not merely a tactical phase "
1969: The Democratic Front for the Liberation of
Palestine (DFLP) was founded.
1970, 17 September: The PLO was expelled from Jordan
and moved to Lebanon.
1973, January: The PNC opposed "proposals for entities
and for the establishment of a Palestinian state in
part of the territory of Palestine and to resist these
proposals through armed struggle and through mass
political conflict linked with it".
1973, August: A Palestinian National Front (PNF) was
formed by numerous West Bank Palestinian groups and
representatives of trades unions, professional
associations, student councils, women's organizations,
merchants' associations and Islamic religious
On 13 August they announced that the Front was formed
"in response to a call from the PNC" and that the PNF
was "an integral part of the Palestine national
movement as represented by the PLO".
1974, 8 June: The 12th PNC adopted a ten-point
programme advocating the establishment of a
Palestinian national and independent authority on
every part of Palestinian land that is liberated.
This marked the beginning of amendments to the
Palestinian National Charter that was approved by the
Palestine National Council in July1968.
1974, 13 November: Arafat addressed the UN General
Assembly offering [Israel] a "branch of an olive tree"
in one hand and a "gun" in the other and expressed his
hope that the olive branch will not be dropped.
1977, March 12 22: The 13th PNC Congress decided to
open dialogue and co-operation with liberal
non-Zionist Jewish groups.
1979, March 26: A Peace Treaty was signed between
Egypt and Israel.
1982: Fathi Shakaki split from Sheikh Ahmad Yassin's
Muslim Brethren to form Islamic Jihad.
1982, 14 August: Special U.S. envoy Philip Habib
concluded an agreement for safe departure of PLO
fighters from Beirut. On 28 August, Yassir Arafat and
the Palestinian fighters left Beirut.
1983, February: The PNC made a decision to start
official contacts with the Israelis.
1985, 11 February: An accord was signed between Jordan
and the PLO to accommodate Reagan's peace initiative.
Arafat agreed with Hussein to "March together toward a
just, peaceful settlement of the Middle East issue
based on: land in exchange for peace, all UN
resolutions on the conflict, the Palestinian right to
self-determination and a solution to the refugee
problem in accordance with UN resolutions. It was
envisaged that the PLO would be represented within a
joint Jordanian-Palestinian delegation and that if the
negotiations were successful, a Palestinian-Jordanian
confederation would emerge". This intensified the
schisms within the PLO, leading to the distancing of
the PFLP, DFLP, and other factions from Arafat's
1986, 6 November: A meeting was held in Romania
between PLO representatives and the Israeli Peace Now
Movement. Other meetings were held in Hungary on 12
June 1987 and in Toledo, Spain on 5 July 1989.
1987, 8 December: An Israeli truck ploughed a car in
Gaza killing four Palestinians. The following day,
Gaza exploded in angry anti-Israeli demonstrations and
riots. These riots marked the beginning of what came
to be known as the "Intifada". For many months
afterwards Palestinian stone-throwing youths set an
agenda of disorder throughout the OPT. Young
Palestinians, frustrated and angry with the prospect
of indefinite Israeli rule, defied the military
firepower arrayed against them.
In East Jerusalem, the "Intifada" scored a major
success by breaking the image of Israel's capital as a
united city. Strikes and the introduction of a curfew
in East Jerusalem destroyed the illusion of
Arab-Jewish coexistence in the city.
1988, 22 August: The first, of three secret meetings,
was held between Israeli and Palestinian
representatives in Paris. The other two meetings were
held in September 1988. The meetings aimed at
arriving at "an agreement between the PLO and the
Labor Party leadership regarding an end to the
Intifada before the general elections in Israel in
1988, 15 November: The 19th PNC adopted a resolution
specifically recognizing UN Security Council
resolution # 242, and all other UN resolutions on
Palestine. Yassir Arafat read out the Declaration of
Independence to the PNC and announced the creation of
the state of Palestine "with its capital in the holy
1988, 26 December: Arafat implied that he would accept
a Palestinian state limited to the occupied
territories and that "many compromises were
1991, 30 October: The `Middle East Peace Conference'
convened in Madrid under the auspices of the U.S. and
the USSR for peace talks to resolve the Israeli-Arab
conflict. Israeli PM Shamir, later declared that he
wanted the negotiations in Washington (following the
Madrid conference) to continue for 10 years, if need
be, so that he had enough time to keep on going with
planned Israeli settlement in the Occupied Palestinian
Territories (OPT) and leave nothing for the
negotiations to talk about.
1993, 20 January: While the negotiations in Washington
were going on between the Israelis and a Palestinian
team lead by Faisal Husseini and Hanan Ashrawi,
another round of secret negotiations with the Israelis
were taking place in Oslo. The negotiations in Oslo
were conducted by Ahmad Kure'i and Hassan Asfour under
the supervision of Mahmoud Abbas. These negotiations
in Oslo came as a surprise to everyone.
1993, 9 September: Arafat addressed a letter to Rabin
recognizing the right of Israel to exist in peace and
security, accepting UN Security Council resolutions
242 & 338, and renouncing acts of violence. In
response, Rabin signed a letter to Arafat recognizing
the PLO as the representative of the Palestinian
1993, 13 September: A Declaration of Principles was
signed between Israel and the PLO at the White House
1994, 4 May: Arafat and Rabin signed the Gaza-Jericho
1994, 12 July: Arafat returned to Gaza crossing the
Rafah border by car.
1994, 25 July: Jordan and Israel signed a Declaration
of Principles ending state of war, which was followed
by a Peace Treaty that was signed on 26 October 1994.
1994, 1 September: Morocco and Tunisia opened liaison
offices in Tel Aviv.
1994, 30 September: Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC) -
Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, United Arab Emirates, Qatar and
Bahrain - officially ended economic boycott of Israel.
1995, 28 September: Interim Agreement (Oslo II) on the
2nd stage of Palestinian autonomy was concluded by
Israel and the PLO in Washington.
1996, January: The Palestinian Legislative Council in
occupied Palestine was elected.
1996: IDF redeployed in the West Bank, including
withdrawal from 6 West Bank cities.
1996, 24 April: The PNC voted to amend the
Palestinian National Charter of 1968 according to the
commitment made by Arafat in his letter of 9 September
1993 to Rabin.
1996, 5 May: Opening sessions for final status talks
were held between the Palestinian Authority (PA) and
Israel. The talks were never resumed following the
election of Benjamin Netanyahu later in the month.
Uri Savir, the director general of the Israeli foreign
ministry, omitted any reference to the Refugees
Problem in his remarks during the session. Moreover,
the press reported that the leading Palestinian
representative at the meeting, Mahmud Abbas, refrained
from mentioning the refugees in his speech, as
requested by Israel.
1996, 8 July: Richard Perle delivered a document, `A
Clean Break', to the Israeli PM, Benjamin Netanyahu
abrogating the Oslo Accords and overturning the entire
concept of `comprehensive land for peace', in favor of
a jackboot policy of raw military conquest and
occupation. The document attacked the peace process
and the entire Arab world and became the guiding
strategic doctrine of the U.S. and Israel.
1997, 27 October: Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu told
the Knesset that he would not allow the creation of a
Palestinian state and he would build more Jewish
1999, 27 November: A group of twenty Palestinians
figures issued a manifesto under the title `The
Homeland Calls Us'. For the first time since the
signing of the Oslo Accords, the Palestinian Authority
(PA) and its president were publicly accused of
corruption, humiliation, abuse and of selling the
1998, 14 December: Leading Palestinians, meeting in
the presence of President Clinton, reaffirmed the
nullification of clauses in the PLO charter calling
for Israel's destruction.
Aviv Bushinsky, a spokesman for Israeli leader
Benjamin Netanyahu, told Reuters that Netanyahu, who
has frozen the further handover of West Bank land,
would continue to insist Palestinians meet other
Israeli demands. Before the session, however,
Netanyahu put the Palestinians on notice that the Wye
River would not move ahead until other Israeli
conditions, including a pledge not to declare a
Palestinian state next year, were met.
2000, 28 September: Ariel Sharon and six other Likud
leaders made a provocative visit to the Al-Aqsa
Compound. The visit sparked clashes with angry
Palestinians, which developed into an overall second
2001, August 10: In an unprecedented step, the Israeli
occupation forces raided the Orient House, the
headquarters of the Palestinian team to the Peace
talks, and the seat of the multilateral talks. At
around 1:30 am, large numbers of Israeli forces
besieged the area of the Orient House and broke into
the premises of the headquarters. The Palestinian flag
was pulled down and the Israeli flag was hoisted in
its place. All files related to the negotiations,
along with other classified documents were also
confiscated. Other Palestinian institutions linked to
the Orient House were also closed.
2002, March 28: The Arab League summit held in Beirut
promised Israel peace, security and normal relations
in return for a full withdrawal from Arab lands
occupied since 1976, the establishment of a
Palestinian state with east Jerusalem as its capital
and a `fair solution' for the Palestinian refugees.
In response, Israel launched Operation Defensive
Shield on the following day against the Palestinians
in the West Bank.
2002, June/July: Israel launched Operation Determined
Path to reoccupy the West Bank areas handed to the PA
following the Oslo accords.
Oslo provided Israel with a tool to strangulate
Palestinian resistance and left the Zionists free to
steel more Palestinian lands and push Palestinian
Arabs into oblivion. What's more painful and shameful
is to see the Palestinian factions fight each other
instead of fighting against the Zionist invaders of
SOURCES OF INFORMATION: In addition to personal follow
up of events related with Palestine and the
Zionist-Arab conflict all along, the following sources
were used in compiling the above chronology:
Abbas, Mahmoud, The Road to Oslo, Printed Material Co.
for Publication and Distribution: Beirut, 1994, 2nd
Antonius, George, The Arab Awakening: The Story of the
Arab National Movement. J. B. Lippincott Company:
Philadelphia, New York, Toronto, 1939
Ha'aretz: Secret passage to Oslo, 12 February 1999
Haikal, Mohammad Hassanine, Secret Negotiations
between the Arabs and Israel, Cairo, 1996, (Arabic)
Journal of Palestine Studies, Volumes: XVII No. 3,
Spring 1998 XXXVI No. 2, Winter 2007
Palumbo, Michael, Imperial Israel: The History of the
Occupation of the West Bank and Gaza. London:
Bloomsbury Publishing Ltd., 1990
McDowall, David, Palestine and Israel: The uprising
and Beyond. Berkeley, Los Angeles: University of
California Press, 1989
Zureik, Elia, The Palestinian Refugees: Background,
WORLD VIEW NEWS SERVICE
To subscribe to this group, send an email to:
NEWS ARCHIVE IS OPEN TO PUBLIC VIEW
Need some good karma? Appreciate the service?
Please consider donating to WVNS today.
Email ummyakoub@... for instructions.
To leave this list, send an email to: