A Discussion with Yasser Arafat
Yasser Arafat

Yasser Arafat, Chairman of the PLO Executive Committee, in Autumn 1981 responded to questions put by the Journal's French-language sister publication, la Revue d'etudes Palestiniennes. We print below Chairman Arafat's response to the main topics raised. The text is translated from the Arabic original.

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A Discussion with Yasser Arafat

[Yasser Arafat, Chairman of the PLO Executive Committee, in Autumn 1981 responded to questions put by the Journal's French-language sister publication, la Revue d'etudes Palestiniennes. We print below Chairman Arafat's response to the main topics raised. The text is translated from the Arabic original - Ed.]

The PLO's Eighteenth Anniversary*

Yes, it is our eighteenth [1] anniversary. It is not easy to express this in mere words, for the Palestinian revolution is the expression and aspiration of the millions of Palestinians, if not of all the millions in the Arab world, because it is the embodiment of their history. And the familiar criteria applicable to revolutions and wars of national liberation cannot be applied to the Palestinian revolution.

The Palestinian revolution is first of all the Palestinian who has been suffering since his birth, who matured early and had to assume responsibility early. This is why it was our revolution that initiated the practice of armed struggle as the expression of the dreams and aspirations of our dispersed people and of the Arab nation for liberation, return and unity. It has grown and developed in a climate of suffering rarely paralleled in contemporary revolutionary history.

When we first started, many people accused us of extravagant imagination, and some accused us of madness because we were trying to swim against a trend that seemed to be sweeping through our area and the world like a tidal wave. But believe me, and I say this without false modesty, it was inevitable that we start. Can you imagine the meaning of living deprived of your home and your national identity, of the most basic rights and rudiments of normal human life? I am such a man, and there is not a single Palestinian family dispersed by the 1948 disaster - both inside and outside Palestine - that the barriers erected by the occupation have not prevented from reuniting or even meeting, messages on radio programmes being their only means of hearing news of other members of the family and of learning what has happened to them.

Outside Palestine, political fragmentation, subservience to the will of foreign forces, fear of the label "Palestinian refugee," and many other obstacles have made it impossible for Palestinians - even for humanitarian reasons - to move from one Arab country to another or anywhere in the world.

Many of our children, born since 1948, only learned that they were Palestinians when they asked their fathers and mothers why they were living in tents while others lived in houses, or why their schoolteachers discriminated between them and their fellow pupils who belonged to the country in which they had taken refuge, or when one of them asked his mother why his father was away in some distant place for most of the year, only sending letters, and money for the family to live on. To these questions and many others of the same kind, the answer was always the same: because we are Palestinians faced with the disaster of being refugees and the disaster of the occupation. Thus, the tragedy of the disaster was firmly established in the imagination of these children, their only pleasure in life being the hope of returning to their old home and to their usurped and plundered homeland.

Some of us who were adolescents at the time had to join, to the best of our ability, with other members of the family in efforts to ensure survival under the worst and toughest circumstances, so as to confront the challenge of an invasion which, in its cruelty and devastating results, recalled the Nazi invasion of Europe. And it was, indeed, though indirectly, an offshoot of Nazism.

Many people think that the cause of Palestine resembles that of Vietnam, Algeria or even South Africa. But although there is a resemblance in some aspects, there is something entirely unique about our cause. What we have been, and still are, confronted with is not merely foreign invasion, occupation and even settlement. All this has been experienced by other countries. But no other country has been confronted with a plan to liquidate its national identity, as has happened in the case of Palestine, nor confronted a plan to empty a country of its people as has happened in the case of the Palestinian people. It goes beyond anything previously recorded in modern history. Can any European citizen, for example, imagine what his feelings would have been if the Nazi forces had radically altered the characteristics of his country, plundered his heritage and violated all that was most sacred to him, expelling, killing and arresting at their whim?

The whole world was shocked when the Nazis laid hands on some of the treasures of the Louvre. What would it have felt if the whole Louvre had been destroyed, or if the characteristics of the Vatican had been transformed?

This is what they have done to Palestine and this is what they are now doing to Jerusalem, changing and Judaizing it and destroying its identity, whether on the Via Dolorosa or beneath the al-Aqsa Mosque.

Jerusalem can tell stories of events stretching back for thousands of years. Its streets and lanes, its mosques, churches and synagogues, its inhabitants and its pilgrims are enshrined in the hearts of all of us. But this is what has happened and is happening in Jerusalem; this is what has happened and is happening to our Arab villages. Jaffa, once the Bride of the Mediterranean, has become a quarter of Tel Aviv which completely surrounds it. Haifa was the gate of the East to the sea; it has become a military base and is in the process of becoming a base for the American fleet in the Mediterranean. And there were hundreds of Arab villages which have been bulldozed out of existence, not so that towns could be built on them for people to live in, but so that every trace of the Palestinians and their history might be eliminated. More than four hundred villages in Palestinian Galilee have met the fate of the village of Khirbat Khaz'a which was destroyed by a special Israeli unit. It so happened that one of the members of this unit [2] was so haunted by the nightmare of what he had done that he made a film of it. At first, the Israeli authorities banned the film. But when the facts became known it was shown. It bears witness to, and is an admission of, what has happened and is still happening to our homeland.

I think I have talked too long about our motives in making a start seventeen years ago. I have not talked of the political circumstances nor of the sufferings sustained by our people in organizing themselves: all this is documented and available. But I wanted - and I think this is only human - to make it clear to you and to the reader that our decision to make a start was neither reckless nor a mere whim, but that it was inevitable.

Here I should add that all these factors that led us to embark on armed struggle were not the only ones that led us to proclaim the revolution on January 1, 1965. [3] The timing was the result of a meticulous evaluation of the balance of international and Arab forces, and of a profound analysis of all aspects of the situation, both negative and positive. Therefore, the decision was by no means a reckless one, even though it came as a surprise to those who failed to grasp the strategic view of the general situation, or to realize the possibility of a breakthrough by the Palestinian gun in spite of our being besieged and dispersed and in spite of our inadequate resources.

Where Are We Seventeen Years On?

We are still on the way. It is true that, if we compare our situation today with that of seventeen years ago, we can appreciate how much has been achieved. But we also know what price we have paid. The flower of our youth and of Arab youth have had to pay with their lives for us to get as far as we have. We have turned our people from a refugee people waiting in queues for charity and alms from UNRWA [4] into a people fighting for freedom, for their just cause and for a just and permanent peace in Palestine.

In brief, we are now an international, Arab and Palestinian fact, the critical number in the Middle East equation.

I can say that we have defeated the enemy plan that staked all on the dissolution of the Palestinian identity and the Palestinian people. In fact, the Palestinian identity has been reasserted in its most distinct and definite form, and our Palestinian Arab people are not only conscious of their national identity but also embody it in their daily activities, although more than half of them have been forcibly deprived of the right to live in their land, while the remainder have been deprived of the possibility of expressing their identity. Last year, the Israeli authorities passed a law forbidding the Palestinian Arabs to fly the Palestinian flag, to utter pro-PLO slogans or even to sing Palestinian national songs. And when one of our artists tried to get round this unjust law by painting a garden with flowers in the colours of the national flag, the occupation authorities banned the exhibition, confiscated the canvas and imprisoned the painter. Similarly, when our girls made themselves shirts in the colours of the flag, they too were imprisoned. They then held protest demonstrations inside their schools. The Israeli forces deliberately fired on them; the whole world has seen on the television screen the image of an Israeli soldier firing on girls in the bloom of youth, who made the victory sign as they fell.

By their steadfastness and resistance our people have defeated terrorization and attempts to contain them, although the occupiers have inflicted on them what the Nazis and Fascists inflicted on the peoples of Europe, and on some of the occupiers themselves. The Israeli occupiers have also tried, in vain, to find Palestinians who would consent to collaborate with them against their own people and their homeland. After the conclusion of the Camp David agreements, the three parties to them made the most strenuous efforts to find Palestinians ready to collaborate with them against the PLO and to accept the suspect self-government plan they proposed. But they found no one.

Let us count the number of American delegations that have gone to occupied Palestine in search of Palestinians prepared to engage in dialogue as an alternative to the PLO. They have all left empty-handed, without finding anyone to collaborate with them. Even those Palestinians who consented to meet them informed them that the position of the whole Palestinian people is that of the PLO, and that they reject these suspect plans and persist in their adherence to their inalienable national rights, and to the PLO as the sole legitimate representative of our people, our land and our struggle.

We have recovered Palestine not only in our memory, from which, indeed, it has never been absent, but also in our institutions, all of which are grouped within the framework of the PLO. Today we are an active and effective member of a variety of local, regional and international bodies; we are full members of the Arab League, the Islamic Summit and the Non-aligned Movement, and observer members of the African Summit and the UN and its agencies.

There are many other achievements that make me and my brothers full of optimism, since they are worthy of the great price our people have had to pay for them. For our people are impelled by the will to live, and to live with honour and dignity in their independent, free and sovereign homeland.

The Challenge of 1967

What do you expect? We are Arabs. We are part of the Arab nation and we are those who know the enemy best. We suffered, we grieved and felt humiliated. We, in particular, suffered once more from memories of the former exodus. Some of us have been refugees three or four times: once in 1948, once in 1967, again after the September (1970) crisis in Jordan, and a fourth time in the recent events.

But we in the Palestinian revolution and in the Fateh movement did not lose our heads. Yes, the military defeat in 1967 was devastating, a disaster, but we had already firmly resolved to liberate our homeland. Our young men hastened to collect the arms that had been abandoned on the field of battle in order to resist again. The front lines had become longer. The cohesion of our masses living under the occupation had grown firmer. The field of confrontation had expanded, with larger geographical areas and greater numbers of human beings involved. The challenge was immense, and in the period immediately after the 1967 defeat we stood almost alone in confrontation with the enemy. Then came the battle of al-Karameh in which our fighters, with their primitive arms, stood up to an arrogant army which claimed that it had defeated the Arab armies in six hours. In fact, it had not defeated any army - only Arab policies and situations under abnormal circumstances. In 1967, the Arab fighter was given no opportunity of real fighting. When the opportunity was given in the battle of al-Karameh, the enemy was forced to abandon its destroyed equipment on the field of battle and to withdraw. It was a happy coincidence that this battle was fought on the land of a Palestinian refugee village called al-Karameh, so that it has entered history as the battle which restored Arab dignity after the 1967 defeat. [5] We suffered profoundly when our wounds were bleeding in 1967, but we did not stop. We did not surrender. We made it a new starting point for the confrontation of greater challenges. And now the results are here for the whole world to see.

International Recognition: Legitimacy of the PLO

They also say that free elections must be held to discover who represents the Palestinian Arab people. This reminds me of an amusing incident. When I went to the UN in 1974, the Zionists organized a demonstration with banners reading, "Arafat go home." I said, "This is exactly what I want; this is what I came here for."

In this field also, the field of holding free elections to discover who are the representatives of the Palestinian people, I say, "This is exactly what I want, this is what I am struggling for." We dream of the day when our people will return to their homeland, and the sons and daughters of our people will go to the ballot-boxes in their towns and villages to elect their representatives in their new parliament. But for this to be done, the homeland must first be recovered and its freedom secured. This is why we have said that our slogan is the achievement of our inalienable national rights, including our right to return, to self-determination and to establish our independent state

What hurts me is that this argument should be used by parties that proclaim their commitment to principles and to human rights. It is understandable that certain hostile American circles or certain Israeli political forces should say this; in this they are behaving like ostriches and no one believes them. But when this argument is adduced by forces which subscribe to a policy of right and principle, that does hurt, and we cannot but call into question their attachment to principles. When I was in Japan, certain officials said to me, "We recognize the PLO as the principal legitimate representative, but not the sole representative." I replied, "Show me the other, secondary representative, so that I may bring him with me next time."

Our answer to these people is that the legitimacy we have acquired, and that has made us an observer member at the UN and an active member of numerous international and regional organizations, was bestowed on us by our people, by our militant bases, by our popular masses, by our freedom fighters.

We have acquired this legitimacy because our cause is just, because of our great sacrifices and our unceasing struggle; we have acquired it through our steadfast adherence to the human values and principles that give us the right to employ all available means in our struggle to recover our homeland and the freedom of our people. Our struggle is in conformity with the Charter of the UN, and its resolutions on the right of peoples subjected to occupation, oppression and racial discrimination to employ all available means in their struggle to confront their invaders and occupiers.

The number of states that recognize the PLO as the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people is more than twice that of the states that recognize Israel. I am not using this as an argument; I am merely stating the fact. Let me ask a question. When de Gaulle led the French resistance to the Nazi occupation of France and represented Free France in international forums, was he or was he not the representative of the French people? And did the Algerian Liberation Front represent the Algerian people? And did the Vietnamese Liberation Front represent the Vietnamese people? Why do certain people want to apply to us criteria they do not apply to others?

By the declared will of our people and their institutions and bodies, we represent all the Palestinian people. The state of Israel, which has for thirty years been trying to involve the Jews of all countries in the problems of dual loyalty and to submit them to blackmail, has so far not succeeded in defining who is a Jew and, consequently, who is an Israeli.

Therefore, when we are faced with certain forces that forget the nature of the state of Israel, how it was established and its aggressive and expansionist policy, and submit to Israeli blackmail by raising the question of formal representation, then we are entitled to express doubts, at least as to the sincerity of these forces' attachment to the principles they proclaim.

The PLO is the sole legitimate representative of the whole Palestinian people inside and outside occupied Palestine. This is a fact we are proud of, a fact that is now admitted by the majority of the countries of the world, and even by certain hostile circles too.

The PLO and National Unity

The PLO is not one of many Palestinian institutions. It is the all- embracing Palestinian institution that comprises all the institutions of the Palestinian people. It is wider than the well-known united front by virtue of its tasks, which cover all fields connected with the Palestinian people, inside and outside Palestine. It is the Palestinian entity, the Palestinian identity, until such time as the Palestinians find their entity in their free and independent state and their identity in their land with full sovereignty. It is the framework of the unity of the Palestinian national organizations and the unity of the whole people in all their classes and all their organizations. The Palestine National Council includes not only delegates of the Palestinian combatant organizations, but also representatives of all sectors of our people, their federations, trades unions and institutions in all the countries of the dispersion. Therefore, it is no exaggeration to say that the PLO is the framework of the unity of the Palestinian people and the symbol of their attachment to their national identity.

The PLO's task is not easy because we are not in our land. Our people are dispersed, and restrictions are often imposed on our organized links with the various communities of our people. But we have succeeded in uniting ourselves, and this would never have been possible if we had not taken the initiative in the struggle for the liberation of the homeland.

Our national unity is one of the things we are proud of, but that does not mean that there are no differences of opinion and of political positions. For we have a profound belief in democracy and freedom of opinion. I recall a remark of Voltaire's to the effect that "I may not share your opinion, but I am ready to defend your right to hold and express it."

This democracy is one of the signs of soundness in our national struggle.

Our enemies deliberately magnify these differences of opinion and try to make them deeper, as if democracy is the monopoly of certain people and we are not entitled to practice this democracy, which is freedom of thought. But we have practiced it in spite of the harsh and difficult circumstances that our people and our revolution are living in.

But the most important thing is the unity of our people in spite of their dispersion, the unity of our people inside and outside our occupied land, the unity of our people wherever they may be - this is the miracle.

Our experience of national unity is unique of its kind, and our democracy is also unique of its kind. These enrich the world's revolutionary and militant heritage. Add to this the fact that our people's historical experience has taught them two facts: never to give up their arms and their power to take decisions to other forces, however zealous for Palestine these forces claim to be, and not to abandon their national unity for any reason, temptations, conspiracies or differences of opinion.

Some Changes in Israel with Regard to the Palestinians

The Israelis are human beings like us: they can influence and be influenced. It is natural that seventeen years of continuous struggle - that is the age of our revolution - should be reflected in their trends of thought. There have, in fact, been changes at several levels, changes that reach their climax when the settler, who has been brought from his country of origin to Palestine, discovers that he is occupying the house of another human being who has been forcibly and wrongfully expelled from this house and is striving to return to it. There is also a change in how they view the Palestinians: they used to say that it was "a land without a people for a people without a land." Golda Meir once said, "There was no such thing as a Palestinian people." Menachem Begin claimed that "the Israelis are the Palestinian people." It is to be observed that, whether they talk negatively or positively, they all talk about Palestine and the Palestinians, whether it be to deny or to affirm their existence. In any case, today they have to confront the facts created by Palestinian popular struggle, and the new realities created by the Palestinian revolution under the leadership of the PLO.

Moreover, the world no longer believes the Israelis' lies about our people. The world has witnessed and is witnessing a Palestinian revolution inside and outside occupied Palestine which is founded on the values of civilization. In spite of the circumstances arising from the 1948 disaster, we have succeeded in achieving the highest rate of education in the area. Today, our sons are studying and teaching in universities throughout the world, and some of them have won high status and scientific acclaim. Is not this another fact of civilization imposed by our people?

The Evolution of the Conflict

The conflict will continue, not because we want it to, but because our enemy persists in refusing to recognize our rights. The course of this conflict is long and complex and many forces are active in it. But we are heading for Palestine and this guarantees that we are on the right compass-bearing. I think that, by continuing for seventeen years, our struggle has clearly and undeniably imposed its existence. We are making more friends and narrowing the circle of our enemies. For our part we are sincerely striving to narrow the circle of Israeli fanatics and to liberate the ideas of ever wider sectors of Israelis. This is what our Palestine National Council decided in its last political programme.

There is a lot of talk in the world today about peace in Palestine and in all the Arab region. We also want peace; indeed, we are fighting for peace in Palestine and the region. If violence prevails in the region today, it is the fault of the Israeli aggressors and invaders; it is they who attacked and usurped and they who are persisting in this policy. We are the victims of this violence and this organized official terrorism, practiced by the military clique and those who support it in the West, and especially America which supplies it with the means of destruction and with unlimited military, political, economic and diplomatic support.

Some political forces in the world do not know why we opposed the Camp David agreements, claiming that they were peace agreements. What has happened since they were concluded? The cycles of violence on the part of the Israeli enemy have increased, with the green light from the American administration. In Lebanon the aggressions have attained the dimension of two major wars, in 1978 and 1981. Who attacked the Iraqi nuclear reactor, violating the sovereignty of three states in the course of the operation and defying France, the state that built the reactor? Has the stock of modern American weapons of destruction in the enemy's arsenal decreased or increased? Peace is not an empty word; it is a reality which embodies a balance of forces. Even Egypt, where they claimed that the agreements had brought her peace - what is happening there now? Is it peace? What sort of peace is this? We knew that the Camp David agreements would end in impasse without changing the balance of forces or the character and the positions of the Israel enemy. That is why we mistrusted and opposed them. The only way to reach a solution of the so-called Middle East crisis is to admit and recognize that the Palestine problem is the pivot of the Middle East crisis, to recognize the Palestinian people and their inalienable national rights, including their right to return, to self-determination and to establish their independent national state on the soil of the Palestinian homeland, with its capital in Jerusalem, in conformity with the principles and resolutions of the UN.

Recognition of Israel

Once again this question reminds me of the question of the political representativeness of the PLO. I think that the whole world now realizes that the question of the prior recognition of Israel was the price paid by Sadat, under American pressure exerted through Kissinger, for withdrawal from a part of Sinai and the disengagement of the Egyptian army. Why should we be asked to do what others are not asked to do? Why do some people insist that the victim should recognize the aggressors, the colonizers and occupiers of our land? America did not recognize People's China for twenty-five years, and it still does not recognize the regime in Cuba. Why? Because recognition is an act of sovereignty. And how can the victim be asked to recognize the criminal when the criminal persists in his attempts to destroy and liquidate him?

Our political programmes propose solutions. We challenge the Israeli Zionist extremists to accept one of these solutions. We want to live together side by side with all - Muslims, Christians and Jews - answerable to one and the same law, living on a basis of equality in Palestine. This is our dream, our aspiration and our Charter. We propose unity to those who have suffered, whether they be Jews or Arabs. But all they propose is that the factors of conflict should continue.


The use by the pro-Israeli media of the word "terrorism" does not intimidate us, especially when it is used by forces that have colonized peoples for hundreds of years, and accused their freedom fighters of being "terrorists" when they fought against occupation, terrorism and racial discrimination until they won their independence, as happened in Rhodesia- Zimbabwe.

This is a cheap accusation. It is an implicit insult to the majority of the peoples of the world whose representatives today sit in the UN General Assembly and all of whom, before independence, were accused by these colonialist Zionist circles of being terrorists. Who is threatening whom? The Israelis, with their F-16 planes, nuclear bombs and the most up-to-date weapons of destruction from the American arsenal, or those who are defending their freedom, resisting occupation and only want to live in peace in their homeland, free and independent?

New American Indians?

People sometimes compare our fate with that of the American Indians, but we are living in a different age and a different civilization. Our civilization has enjoyed a continuous life for thousands of years. We are part of Arab and Islamic civilization and of the civilization of this area, a civilization with a cultural heritage so rich that all the forces of Western colonialism have been unable to obliterate it: it is still living and constantly developing.

This does not mean that our racist enemies will cease their efforts to force our people to leave their homes and to weaken their steadfastness. The Israeli authorities recently decided to forbid our people in occupied Palestine to receive the financial aid that helps to develop the network of social and educational services. The aim of this measure is as clear as daylight: to keep Palestinians uneducated and under-nourished and to force them to leave the country. Regrettably, this measure has been allowed to pass without practical counter-measures being taken, even by the Arab and international forces that claim to be opposed to the settlements, at least. What would have happened if this measure had been taken against the Jews - if the French government, for example, had decided to prevent French Jews remitting contributions to Israeli institutions? Or if such action had been taken in Britain, or by the American administration? This decision has been taken without evoking any practical reaction. Are we not entitled to regard this indifference as indicating bias in favour of our enemy, tainted with a racist viewpoint that discriminates between people on the basis of their racial origins or even the civilizations they belong to?

In any case, we have no delusions about the attitudes of many forces, however specious the slogans they employ or the principles they claim to subscribe to. We address ourselves to world public opinion and the masses to explain to them our just cause, and lay before them our just claims - this is one part of our struggle - to ensure that we do not suffer the fate of the American Indian tribes at the hand of the Yankees.

France's Role

France occupies an important position both in her relations with the Arab region and at the international level. France can play an important role between West and East, between the non-aligned countries and the great power blocs, and between the Third World countries and the industrial countries. She can play all these roles at once. But I am not exaggerating when I remind her that the touchstone of the seriousness of any force is the attitude it adopts to the Palestine cause. Will France return to this area in the name of principles and flying the tricoloured flag of equality, justice and fraternity, thereby maintaining her prestige and her interests? We hope so. France plays an important role in the EEC, and we evaluate her positions on the basis of our appraisal of that role. France has publicly proclaimed a policy, and let us hope that in the future we shall see it put into practice vis-a-vis the just cause of our people.

I repeat, what we want of her is that no one in France should imagine that it is possible to be neutral with regard to the aggressor and the aggressed, to put on equal footing the criminal and the victim and, in our case, those who have occupied our land and, on the other hand, our people who are suffering from this occupation and oppression.

The Image of the Palestinian

I should like people to see us as we really are, not as the media controlled by our enemies try to represent us. Many people do not know enough about our people, their history, their struggle and their heritage, or about the PLO and its institutions. All some people know is what is taught them by information media that are directed by Israeli and Zionist lies.

We are a people like all other peoples; we have the right to live in freedom in our free and independent land.

The Future and the Revolution

Victory, God willing. I see the dawn gleaming on the horizon at the end of this dark tunnel that is full of challenges, and military, political and other conspiracies and confrontations.

Certainly, I am optimistic. Some people confuse suffering, pain and grief with pessimism. The revolutionary is always optimistic, otherwise how could he be a revolutionary? We started at a time when the Palestine question was on the point of disappearing, but with simple and primitive arms we have succeeded in imposing our existence, the existence of our people and the existence of our just cause.

Some people confuse their dreams with reality. The revolutionary dreams much; his optimism encourages him to dream. But real life is not a dream. That is why some people are dispirited because what has been, and is being, achieved is not the same as what they imagined or dreamed. These people sometimes despair. But I recall an expression used by the late Kamal Adwan when things were going badly for us before the October War and before he himself was killed. He said, "They live with their despair, and surrender. We live through our hopes and make them facts."

In the struggle for national liberation, freedom and progress, what ensures victory is not arms but faith, will and self-sacrifice, the justice of the cause, the sincerity of those who fight for it, and their confidence in victory that never fails, even when they are dying on behalf on their homeland and their people.

Martyrdom is the apex of optimism and optimism is the weapon of revolutionaries.


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* All subheadings have been added - Ed.

1 The PLO was established at the Cairo Arab Summit Conference in January 1964 - Ed. 

2 The officer in question is Yizhar Smilansky who was a member of the unit ordered to evacuate and destroy the houses of Khirbat Khaz'a - Ed. 

3 The date of Military Communique No. 1 of the General Command of the 'Asifa forces (the military wing of Fateh), which marked the beginning of armed struggle (in the pre-1967 occupied territories) - Ed.

4 United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East, established by the UN General Assembly in December 1949 to aid and rehabilitate the Arab refugees from Palestine - Ed. 

5 Al-Karameb (in Arabic, "dignity") is the name of a village of Palestinian refugees in the Jordan Valley where, on March 21, 1968, a battle took place between Palestinian combatants and the Israeli army - Ed. 

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