Last updated on: 6/26/2008 10:37:00 AM PST

What Was the 1974 Rabat Summit and What Was Its Significance for the PLO?

General Reference (not clearly pro or con)
Ian J. Bickerton, PhD, Associate Professor of Middle Eastern and United States History at the University of New South Wales, and Carla L. Klausner, PhD, Professor of Modern Middle East, Medieval Europe and Judaic Studies at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, wrote the following description of the 1974 Rabat Summit in their 2002 book, A Concise History of the Arab-Israeli Conflict:

"The Arab League, meeting at Rabat in 1974, recognized the PLO as the 'sole, legitimate representative of the Palestinian people,' undermining the role of King Hussein [of Jordan] and his ability to speak for the Palestinians as envisaged by U.N. Resolutions. King Hussein agreed to honor the PLO's claim to negotiate for the Palestinians (and was rewarded with an annual $300-million grant for four years from the Arab League). He further stated that it was 'totally inconceivable' that Jordan and a Palestinian entity could form a federation -- a suggestion he had floated earlier. Perhaps the real significance of the Rabat summit was that this decision meant that Hussein was forced to acknowledge Palestinian rights to what he had lost physically to the Israelis in 1967. It was a diplomatic triumph for the PLO that repaid the defeat of Black September in 1970. The Rabat decision also weakened the American position. Kissinger agreed with the Israelis that it was preferable to negotiate with Hussein rather than with the PLO."

2002 - Carla L. Klausner, PhD 
Ian J. Bickerton, PhD 

Hussein bin Talal, King of Jordan, in his address to the 1974 Rabat Summit in Morocco, stated:

"If our Arab brethren at this exalted conference are of the view that the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan does not have the legitimacy of speaking in the name of the Palestinians who live in its midst, who carry its citizenship and who have become part of its institutions, or of defending the right of this people, or of striving to regain their usurped land, or of lifting occupation and doing away with aggression, and if they deem this legitimate aspect to be restricted to the Palestine Liberation Organization alone, then in the name of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, I place on their shoulders alone the responsibility of their decision and all the consequences it entails. I consider it to be a release of our current political responsibilities. We leave the verdict on this decision, if taken, to history."

1974 - Hussein bin Talal 

The Arab League recognized the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) as representative of the Palestinian people with the following Declaration made at the 1974 Rabat Summit:

"The Conference of the Arab Heads of State:

  • Affirms the right of the Palestinian people to return to their homeland and to self-determination.

  • Affirms the right of the Palestinian people to establish an independent national authority, under the leadership of the PLO in its capacity as the sole legitimate representative of the Palestine people, over all liberated territory. The Arab States are pledged to uphold this authority, when it is established, in all spheres and at all levels.

  • Supports the PLO in the exercise of its national and international responsibilites, within the context of the principle of Arab solidarity.

  • Invites the kingdoms of Jordan, Syria and Egypt to formalize their relations in light of these decisions and in order that they be implemented."

  • 1974 - Arab League / The League of Arab States