In the 1970s, under Yasser Arafat's leadership, PLO factions and other militant Palestinian groups such as Abu Nidal launched a series of attacks on Israeli and other targets.
One such attack took place at the Munich Olympics in 1972 in which 11 Israeli athletes were killed.
But while the PLO pursued the armed struggle to "liberate all of Palestine", in 1974, Arafat made a dramatic first appearance at the United Nations mooting a peaceful solution.
He condemned the Zionist project, but concluded: "Today I have come bearing an olive branch and a freedom fighter's gun. Do not let the olive branch fall from my hand."
The speech was a watershed in the Palestinians' search for international recognition of their cause.
A year later, a US State Department official, Harold Saunders, acknowledged for the first time that "the legitimate interests of the Palestinian Arabs must be taken into account in the negotiating of an Arab-Israeli peace".