Armed struggle for the liberation of Palestine has been a rallying cry of the Palestinian national movement since its emergence in the 1960s, but its results have never been more than marginal. Instead, military groups have served a primarily political function, offering Palestinians in the diaspora organizational structures for political expression and state building. However, the nature of the PLO as an exile entity attempting to unite a disparate diaspora has necessarily resulted in an authoritarian leadership wary of the administrative, civilian, and social organizations needed to form a state. Ultimately, the political patterns that developed during the armed struggle impede as much as aid the realization of an independent Palestinian state.

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