Armed Struggle and the Search for State: The Palestinian National Movement, 1949-1993


Armed Struggle and The Search for State spans an entire epoch in the history of the contemporary Palestinian national movement, from the establishment of Israel in 1948, to the PLO-Israel accord of 1993. Contrary to the conventional view that national liberation movements proceed with state-building only after attaining independence, the case of the PLO shows that state-building may shape political institutionalisation, even in the absence of an autonomous territorial, economic, and social base. This insightful study traces the political, ideological, and organisational evolution of the PLO and its constituent of guerrilla groups. Taking the much-vaunted 'armed struggle' as its connecting there, it shows how conflict was used to mobilise the mass constituency, assert particular discourses of revolution and nationalism, construct statist institutions, and establish legitimacy of a new political class and bureaucratic elite. The book draws extensively on PLO archives, official publications and internal documents of the various guerrilla groups, and over 400 interviews conducted by the author with he PLO rank-and-file. Its span, primary sources and conceptual framework make this the definitive work on the subject.

Additional information

Publisher: Place of publication:
  • Oxford, England
Publication year:
  • 1999


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