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The PLO’s “Phased Strategy”

By Efraim Karsh

When [Yasser] Arafat began his “armed struggle” back in the mid-1960s, he took inspiration from the example of Algeria: a war of national liberation that had succeeded in the space of a few years in defeating a colonial power. When he failed to replicate this model, owing in part to the low level of national consciousness among the Palestinians and Israel’s effective counterinsurgency measures, the PLO adopted the “phased strategy.” This strategy, dating from June 1974, has served as the PLO’s guiding principle ever since. It stipulates that the Palestinians should seize whatever territory Israel is prepared or compelled to cede to them and use it as a springboard for further territorial gains until achieving the “complete liberation of Palestine.”

Source: Efraim Karsh, “Arafat’s Grand Strategy,” Middle East Quarterly, ().