The PLO has the ongoing task of alerting the international community to hold Israel accountable for its policies of displacement and oppression of Palestinians.
The Palestinian National Council held its first meeting in East Jerusalem from May 28 to June 2, 1964. This event marked the establishment of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) as the legitimate representative of its people.
Since then, the PLO has been working to achieve Palestinian self-determination. To this end, the PLO has moved from its initial goal of destroying the State of Israel to recognizing it and accepting the two-state formula with Jerusalem as its capital.
However, the alliance between Israel and the United States, which gave birth to the so-called "Deal of the Century", puts the Palestinian population at risk.
1974. King Hussein of Jordan and the Arab League recognized the PLO as "the sole legitimate spokesman of the Palestinian people."
In that year, Palestinian President Yasser Arafat made his historic appearance before the United Nations General Assembly, in which he stated, "I have come bearing an olive branch and a revolutionary's rifle, do not let the branch fall from my hand."
The UN General Assembly gives the PLO the status of representative of the Palestinian people and grants it observer status.
1987. The spontaneous and unarmed Intifada achieves international sympathy for the young people who confronted the powerful Israeli army with stones.
1988. The Palestinian National Council issued the Declaration of Independence on Nov. 15 in Algiers, establishing an independent Palestinian state with the existing 1967 borders and East Jerusalem as its capital.
1993. Arafat recognizes the State of Israel in an official letter sent to Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin. In response, Israel recognizes the PLO as the "legitimate representative of the Palestinian people". The Oslo Accords are signed and the Palestinian National Authority is established.
2012. By an overwhelming majority, the United Nations General Assembly on Nov. 29 admitted Palestine as an "observer state." The vote does not mean the admission of Palestine as a full member of the UN, but it gives the Palestinians renewed legitimacy in their struggle against the Israeli occupation.
International analyst Tulio Ribeiro believes that the current situation in the Middle East pushes Palestine to "collect legal victories from UN resolutions condemning Israel's violations of international law."
The PLO must seek mechanisms to end the internal political rift between the two most important groups in the organization: Fatah, which was led by Arafat (1929-2004) and is now headed by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, and the Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas), which governs the Gaza Strip.
The PLO also has the ongoing task of alerting the international community to hold Israel accountable for its policies of displacement and oppression of Palestinians.
Yasser Arafat put it this way: "the most important challenge for us is to create a Palestine that will lead to an independent state, a new democratic state".
The consolidation of an independent state, however, has been undermined by developments such as the Donald Trump administration's recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and the Israeli authorities' decision to annex land in the occupied West Bank.
In May 2020, in response to these adverse developments, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas announced that he will terminate all agreements signed with Israel and the United States due to the Israeli government's plans to annex parts of the West Bank.