Following on from humiliating defeats in 1948 and 1967, in Oct 1973 Egypt and Syria launched a surprise attack against Israel on what was the holiest of the day of the year for Jews -Yom Kippur.Â They came close to marching their troupes into the streets of Tel Aviv and defeating Israel.Â However, in the end, Israeli forces were triumphantâ€¦but victory came at heavy price.Â By the time the UN Security Council enacted the October 26th cease-fire, over 2700 Israeliâ€™s were dead.
Although Arab war efforts to destroy Israel in 1973 uplifted morale, it was clear that a future military victory over Israel was unlikely. Â Consequently, a new strategy for eliminating Israel was hatched – The Phased Plan (also known as The Plan of Phases) During 12th meeting of the Palestinian National Council in Cairo in 1974, the foundations were laid out as follows:
Phase 1: Through the “armed struggle”, establish an “independent combatant national authority” over any territory that is “liberated” from Israeli rule. (Article 2)
Phase 2: To continue the struggle against Israel, using the territory of the national authority as a base of operations (Article 4).
Phase 3: To “liberate all Palestinian territory” by provoking Israel into an all-out war in which its Arab neighbors destroy it entirely (Article 8). See full text below
In accordance with Phase 1 of the Phased Plan, there were countless acts of terror committed against the Israeli civilian population.Â Such attacks include the Maâ€™alost Massacre of 1974, where 22 Israeli high school students, were murdered on their way to school.Â Palestinian terrorists attacked the Tel Aviv Savoy hotel in 1975 murdering 8 hostages.Â Throughout the following years they continued their killing spree as they hijacked Air France Flight 139 and in 1978 attacked a bus killing 35 civilians, many of them were burned alive.Â Such gruesome terror attacks continued through the 80â€™s and 90â€™s until finally as a â€œrewardâ€, the PLO was granted autonomy with the signing of the Oslo Accords in 1993.Â Phase 1 was complete.
Once the PLO had been awarded territory, millions in foreign aid and military arms from Israel, they began phase 2, which was to use their new territory as a base to continue their armed struggle against Israel.Â The years of 1993-2000 saw a dramatic increase in attacks as public busses, cafÃ©s, restaurants and shopping centers were attacked by suicide bombers crippling every facet of Israeli society.
In the year 2000, the Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak, under tremendous pressure from the uncontrollable violence, famously offered an unprecedented peace deal to the Palestinians. Â The deal included all of Gaza, 97% of the West Bank and East Jerusalem.Â However, the plan was contrary to the PLO Plan of Phases and rejected.Â Yes, the Palestinians would have a state but there would still be an Israel.Â In addition, defined borders, with physical boundaries would of course lessen chances to attack Israel in any meaningful way.Â Instead the PLO launched the second popular uprising – the al-Aqsa intifada.
From 2000-2005, over 1000 Israelis were murdered in suicide attacks including the attack on the Hebrew University cafeteria, nightclubs, Passover Seder, restaurants and public busses.Â This period marked the first time that both women and minors were being used as suicide bombers.Â In 2005, even though terror attacks had not ceased, Israel unilaterally withdrew from the Gaza Strip, granting the Palestinians full autonomy over the land.Â Subsequently this territory was used to launch more than 8000 rockets at Israel.
With Israelâ€™s morale and resolve in the face of pressure weakened, Phase 2 seems to have run its course for the time being.Â Evidence that the third and final phase is in progress is becoming increasingly clear.Â In 2006, Hamas provoked Israel into war by kidnapping Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit.Â Days later Hezbollah provoked Israel into war with Lebanon hoping that other countries would join in as they opened up a second front.
Today many of Israelâ€™s neighbors including Syria have continually shown signs of rearming for an attack.Â Hamas has been launching rockets and smuggling arms, Hezbollah has restocked and doubled their supply of arms from Iran and the Iranian regime is getting closer to nuclear proliferation.
While the media has inadequately reported the larger aspirations of the PLOâ€™sÂ â€˜Plan of Phasesâ€™, the Palestinians have been able to slowly and systematically come closer to their end goal of â€œliberating Israel from the river to the sea.â€
*Adopted at the 12th Session of the Palestinian National Council Cairo, June 9, 1974
Text of the Phased Plan resolution:
The Palestinian National Council:Â On the basis of the Palestinian National Charter and the Political Programme drawn up at the eleventh session, held from January 6-12, 1973; and from its belief that it is impossible for a permanent and just peace to be established in the area unless our Palestinian people recover all their national rights and, first and foremost, their rights to return and to self-determination on the whole of the soil of their homeland; and in the light of a study of the new political circumstances that have come into existence in the period between the Council’s last and present sessions, resolves the following:
- To reaffirm the Palestine Liberation Organization’s previous attitude to Resolution 242, which obliterates the national right of our people and deals with the cause of our people as a problem of refugees. The Council therefore refuses to have anything to do with this resolution at any level, Arab or international, including the Geneva Conference.
- The Liberation Organization will employ all means, and first and foremost armed struggle, to liberate Palestinian territory and to establish the independent combatant national authority for the people over every part of Palestinian territory that is liberated. This will require further changes being effected in the balance of power in favour of our people and their struggle.
- The Liberation Organization will struggle against any proposal for a Palestinian entity the price of which is recognition, peace, secure frontiers, renunciation of national rights and the deprival of our people of their right to return and their right to self-determination on the soil of their homeland.
- Any step taken towards liberation is a step towards the realization of the Liberation Organization’s strategy of establishing the democratic Palestinian state specified in the resolutions of previous Palestinian National Councils.
- Struggle along with the Jordanian national forces to establish a Jordanian-Palestinian national front whose aim will be to set up in Jordan a democratic national authority in close contact with the Palestinian entity that is established through the struggle.
- The Liberation Organization will struggle to establish unity in struggle between the two peoples and between all the forces of the Arab liberation movement that are in agreement on this programme.
- In the light of this programme, the Liberation Organization will struggle to strengthen national unity and to raise it to the level where it will be able to perform its national duties and tasks.
- Once it is estabished, the Palestinian national authority will strive to achieve a union of the confrontation countries, with the aim of completing the liberation of all Palestinian territory, and as a step along the road to comprehensive Arab unity.
- The Liberation Organization will strive to strengthen its solidarity with the socialist countries, and with forces of liberation and progress throughout the world, with the aim of frustration all the schemes of Zionism, reaction and imperialism.
- In light of this programme, the leadership of the revolution will determine the tactics which will serve and make possible the realization of these objectives.
The Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization will make every effort to implement this programme, and should a situation arise affecting the destiny and the future of the Palestinian people, the National Assembly will be convened in extraordinary session.