[QODLink]
PLO: HISTORY OF A REVOLUTION
The Winds of Heaven
A look at the Lebanese civil war and the events leading to the PLO leaving Beirut.
Last Modified: 27 Jul 2009 14:55 GMT

In the third episode of this six-part series, Al Jazeera looks at the Lebanese civil war and the events that led to the PLO being driven out of Beirut after more than 10 years in Lebanon.

In 1974, the Arab League summit in Rabat stripped Jordan of its traditional role in Palestinian affairs and the PLO was named the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people. 

A few weeks later, Yasser Arafat received a standing ovation at the General Assembly of the UN. He had spoken of a peaceful solution to Palestinian demands for a homeland.

But another Arab country was to be the stage for the next chapter of the Palestinian tragedy.

After its expulsion from Jordan, the PLO had moved its headquarters to the Lebanese capital, Beirut. In April 1975, civil war broke out in Lebanon.

Desperate not to repeat the mistakes committed in Jordan, the PLO leader sought to keep his forces out of the Lebanese conflict.

But by 1976 the Palestinians no longer felt able to stay on the sidelines in Lebanon.

In 1982, Israel launched an invasion of Lebanon and the Palestinian forces quickly collapsed.

The siege of Beirut had begun. The PLO was encircled. Some Palestinian leaders advised that the PLO should surrender, but Arafat toured the streets of the besieged capital in a bid to raise morale. 

After two months of siege and bombardment, an agreement was reached, giving safe passage for the PLO fighters to leave Lebanon on the understanding that Israeli forces would not enter west Beirut.

After more than 10 years in Lebanon, the PLO was finally leaving.
 
The Israelis accused the PLO of leaving 2,000 of its fighters in Beirut's refugee camps.

In September 1982, dozens of Lebanese Forces militiamen entered the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps and embarked on a horrific massacre that claimed the lives of some 800 Palestinian and Lebanese civilians. 

In the eyes of Damascus the much-weakened PLO was ripe for the taking and a defeated Yasser Arafat was of no political consequence. 

But the fight for survival was just about to enter a new and bloodier phase.

The Winds of Heaven can be seen from Monday, July 27, at the following times GMT: Monday: 0530, 1130; Tuesday: 0130, 1400, 2330; Wednesday: 0630, 1630; Thursday: 0300, 1430; Friday: 0600; Saturday: 1930; Sunday: 1030.

Source:
Al Jazeera
Topics in this article
People
Country
City
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
More than one-quarter of Gaza's population has been displaced, causing a humanitarian crisis.
Ministers and MPs caught on camera sleeping through important speeches have sparked criticism that they are not working.
Muslim charities claim discrimination after major UK banks began closing their accounts.
Italy struggles to deal with growing flood of migrants willing to risk their lives to reach the nearest European shores.
Featured
Lawsuit by 6-year-old girl, locked up for a year, reignites debate over indefinite detention of 'boat people'.
Indonesian and Malaysian authorities are keeping a close eye on local supporters of the hard-line Middle East group.
Citizens of the tiny African nation say they're increasingly anxious of the fallout after alleged coup.
A humanitarian crisis and a budget crisis converge in the heart of the human smuggling corridor in Texas.
Assam officials upset that WWII-era Stillwell Road won't be used in transnational highway linking four Asian nations.
join our mailing list