Oil painting, 1999, 160X200 cm. by Ismail Shammout
In early sixties, the Palestinians moved to reassess their situation and to give thought to ways and means of reclaiming their homeland. Resistance groups sprang into existence, among them the PLO (Palestine Liberation Organization) which was established in 1964. The resistance movement grew from strength to strength and after the 1967 war its activities increased dramatically, reviving the peoples’ pride and hope.
Towards the end of the 1950s and the beginnings of the 60s the Palestinian individual began realizing the necessity of reorganizing his affairs and preparing for carrying out his national duty to struggle in continuation of what the forefathers did. Therefore, organizations and numerous Palestinian fronts were formed for the purpose of struggling to liberate occupied Palestinian land. Foremost among those organizations was “Fateh”.
Arab states agreed to establish the Palestinian Liberation Organization to represent the Palestinian people and, moreover, to lead its struggle to liberate the homeland.
Upon completing my art studies at the College of Fine Arts in Cairo, and afterwards at the Academy of Fine Arts in Rome (between 1950-1956), I began working and living in Beirut. Then and there I got married to Tamam in 1959.
I and Tamam worked with the PLO, since its inception, in the areas of art and culture. Our work with the PLO gave us a new opportunity to share in the feelings of our people everywhere they live. Moreover, we sensed the great zeal of our people and their continual readiness to sacrifice what is valuable in order to recover the usurped homeland.
Palestinian resistance was launched on a major scale after the 1967 disaster. Most of the Palestinian organizations came under the banner of the PLO, forming in combination an overwhelming and world famous Palestinian revolution. As a consequence, the Palestinian people gained the support of most of the World’s states and nations.
This revolution had a great impact on the new march of the Palestinians everywhere, especially in the camps which embodied the basic arena for national endeavor. Feelings of happiness and ecstasy abounded, as did optimism combined with some anxiety. This optimism and happiness was not immune from the harm inflicted by the Zionist enemy. Form the beginnings of the Palestinian movement, acts of Israeli revenge against the Palestinians did not cease. The most dramatic and harsh of those acts was the Israeli invasion of Lebanon, in 1982.The goal of the invasion was the extinction of the PLO along with its civil and military forces.