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PLO: HISTORY OF A REVOLUTION
The Great Survivor
A look at Yasser Arafat's struggle for power and the Camp Wars in Lebanon.
Last Modified: 03 Aug 2009 10:04 GMT

Expelled from Jordan and then Lebanon, the PLO seemed to be running out of options.

Yasser Arafat soon found himself engaged in a fratricidal fight for control of the PLO - and for his life.

In July 1983, fighting broke out in Lebanon between pro- and anti-Arafat forces.

Arafat loyalists - who had found their way back to Lebanon - were besieged by the Syrian army and their Palestinian allies in the northern city of Tripoli.

In a daring air and sea journey from his new headquarters in Tunisia, Arafat managed to slip into Lebanon in disguise to join his fighters.

Pro-Syrian Palestinians responded immediately, and the following battle took a heavy toll on the residents of Tripoli.

A Jordanian-PLO re-approachment led to the signing of the Amman accord in February 1985. According to its terms, the PLO and Jordan would form a joint delegation to future negotiations for resolving the Arab-Israeli conflict.

Syria opposed the accord and sought to exact retribution for Arafat's move.

The Syrian-backed Amal militia and anti-Arafat factions besieged the Palestinian camps in Beirut and southern Lebanon in an on-and-off onslaught that would last for three years and which become known as the Camps War.

Arafat suffered a further blow when Israeli warplanes raided his PLO headquarters in Tunisia, killing 160 people. Yet again Arafat survived.

Jordan announced the abrogation of the Amman accords almost one year after they had been signed and the Palestinian issue was relegated to the periphery of the Arab agenda. 

Arafat appeared to have reached the limits of his tactical capabilities. But as before, the PLO leader found a lifeline.

The Great Survivor can be seen from Monday, August 3, 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
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