Interview with a Comrade of the PFLP
Q: The PFLP is of course a socialist, Marxist-Leninist political party, and generally aims for a Palestine free from both national and class oppression. What is the specific program of the PFLP, and also what separates the PFLP from other Palestinian factions?
A: The Arab popular movement, with its different nationalist, democratic, leftist and patriotic forces, represents the second central episode of the Arab national project and an integral part of the resistance project within the specificity of each of these forces in their local environment, through mechanisms that these forces set for themselves, and take into account their involvement in building the project. The launch of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine was closely linked to this idea, within the Arab national project on the one hand, and the specificity of the Palestinian case on the other. The establishment of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine was linked to two pivotal ideological positions. A line that tries to preserve the general program of the movement, and a line that calls for the adoption of Marxism-Leninism, and the second position is to replace the central bodies of the Arab Nationalist Movement with a coordination office between the regions of the movement and its branches throughout the Arab region.
The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine came as a reaction to the June 1967 defeat, and the theoretical, political and organizational lessons that resulted in and crystallized the defeat. The establishment of the Front is also related to the Arab Nationalist Movement (ANM) and its Palestinian organization and its struggle experience since the Nakba in 1948 AD, and the lessons it acquired since the beginning of the sixties to prepare for the start of the armed struggle, at this founding stage. The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine was established at the end of 1967 AD, as an extension of the Arab Nationalist Movement and its national project, during this foundation, three organizations united: the Heroes of Return Organization, the Revenge Youth Organization and the Palestine Liberation Front, whose founders included Ahmed Jibril, to form together the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine as a frontal framework, comprising all the organizations are in one crucible, and the thinking of the leadership of the branch of the Arab Nationalists Movement in Palestine coincided with the establishment of the Popular Front as an expression of the Palestinian national armed action, with the presence of some organizations that preceded the Front for a public practical existence, and the founding leadership initiated a dialogue with some organizations on the leaders of those organizing them in joining them within this framework. The PFLP was founded as a united frontal coalition, in response to the 1967 defeat and its consequences, and to highlight a unified Palestinian position with the aim of raising the morale of the Arab and Palestinian people alike.
The Front began with a nationalist orientation and as an extension of the Arab Nationalist Movement, but soon the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine adopted Marxist thought as the basic and main political theory for political action to confront the Israeli occupation, after it saw that the nationalist thought was no longer able to win and restore Palestinian national rights, especially after 1967 AD defeat. Israel is considered a foreign body planted by global imperialism in the region, that stands in the way of the Arab liberation movement, and as a left-wing Marxist organization, the Popular Front is against not only the Israeli occupation, but also what it calls the Arab reactionary forces that are considered part of the imperialist western camp. The PFLP hold that the Arab world is a natural dimension of the Palestinian revolution, unlike what the Fatah movement says, as they are the movement who raised the slogan of non-interference in the internal affairs of Arab countries. The Front does not consider the conflict with Israel a religious conflict, but rather a political struggle aimed at establishing a democratic and popular Palestinian state, in which Arabs and Jews are equal with the same rights and duties, which is the slogan adopted by the Palestine Liberation Organization in the seventies of the last century about the democratic state: Secularism in which Muslims, Christians and Jews live on equal terms.
The Popular Front believes that Israel is an integral part of the global Zionist movement, and in fact it is a product of it. Therefore, in our battle we are not facing Israel alone, but rather an Israel that is objectively based on the strength of the Zionist movement. The Zionist movement, as a racist religious movement, is trying to organize and recruit 14 million Jews around the world to support Israel, protect its aggressive existence, and consolidate and expand this presence. The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine considers national unity essential to mobilize all the forces of the revolution to confront the opponent’s camp, in which all layers of the revolution are represented by the peasants, the workers and the petty bourgeoisie. It governs the stage of national liberation, represented in the antagonistic contradiction existing between the Palestinian people on the land of Palestine and all the sites of the diaspora and between the usurping and occupying Zionist entity of Palestine, in addition to the contradiction between the Arab nation and the forces of liberation and progress in the world on the one hand and the Zionist entity and its allies on the other.
The Front starts from the liberation of historical Palestine as a strategic goal for the Palestinian revolution and the establishment of a democratic Palestinian state, in which all its citizens enjoy full equality.
An economic war based on aggression, expansion, and organic link with the interests of colonialism in Palestine, and the crystallization of the military thought of the Popular Front in the wake of the 1967 AD defeat, which the Front considered the real launch of the contemporary Palestinian revolution, and the position of the occupied territories — the inside — was strengthened in the theory of the Popular Front, which launched the slogan “Inside is the basis” And the outside is the reserve.” She continued this by sending the bulk of her fighters and weapons to the occupied areas, with the aim of creating revolutionary outposts.
Since its inception, the Popular Front has been characterized by several special features. The first is its constant insistence on preparing for any military action in a systematic manner, no matter how long it takes. The second feature is adherence to military ideological statements accurately and openly, and the third feature is to avoid direct confrontation with the Israeli army. In the period between 1968 AD-1970 AD, the Popular Front focused on and built its secret cells inside the occupied land, with the aim of carrying out the largest number of operations there, as the Front was able to carry out many operations affecting the Zionist entity, and the Front’s activity in the Gaza Strip was at an advanced level of vitality and activity.
The Popular Front adopted the line of external operations, and considered this line a sub-line within the general line of the Front. The Front was possibly the first Palestinian faction that followed the method of moving the battle against Israeli targets outside the occupied land, by hijacking planes, and raised the slogan “hit the enemy wherever he is.” The Front calls this The type of activity its “foreign operations.” In July 1968, an Israeli El Al plane was hijacked to Algeria and 16 Palestinian prisoners were released in exchange for the release of the plane and the passengers. In September 1970, the Popular Front hijacked four planes to Cairo, of which a Boeing 747 was blown up at the airport in Cairo (the plane, not the passengers), and then transferred the rest to Jordan with the 500 hostages, and the Jordanian authorities took this operation as a pretext to expel the revolutionary forces from Jordan in 1971 AD.
The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine justified this line of Palestinian resistance by saying the following: The nature of the Zionist enemy is in line with global imperialism, so striking international companies that are in league with Zionism means striking the Israeli enemy, and that many liberation movements have followed such a line of activity as “striking abroad” during their long experiences. So, why should we not strike the pro-Zionist institutions internationally, which are an embodiment of the Israeli enemy, the Front put forward several arguments such as these to justify its foreign campaign. It considered that the airlines that operate their flights to and from Israel, whether local or foreign, are part of the Israeli transportation and communication lines, and reveal the status of Israel as a center of global imperialist and capitalist interests, and the Front insisted that in light of the military nature of the Israeli society, the attack on civil aviation and sea routes should not be interpreted as operations targeting civilians. Political persecution in order to highlight the cause of the Palestinian people as a political issue and not a humanitarian issue, so after this line achieved the desired goals it has been completely discontinued by the Popular Front.
In any case, it can be said that the political thought and struggle experience of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine was distinguished from other Palestinian movements and factions by a set of characteristics and features, the most prominent of which was adopting the line of foreign operations, which was able to show the Palestinian cause, as a political issue for a people under occupation, the world must Seriously work to obtain his legitimate rights to freedom, independence and the right to self-determination.
Q: What is the PFLP’s position on Pan-Arabism and Arab Unity? Would the PFLP support a United Arab Republic which includes Palestine?
A: Those peoples failed in the democratic transition after the revolutions of the Arab Spring, and were returned to the fold of obedience, and with the growth of the phenomenon of terrorism, and as the issue of Jerusalem remained stuck, it was proven day after day that it is not a national issue at all, and the slogans raised by the Arab rulers are only to consolidate their dictatorial power and give it a color that gives it prestige and makes the ruler — the tyrant — the defender of the alleged cause, the Palestinian cause in its national form remained present in the mind of the Arab nation, but with the slogan “Where is the Arab people, where is the Arab blood?” As an intellectual framework, it appears as a system that carries a clear contradiction in its folds represented by the adoption of something and its opposition at the same time, as it recognizes the rights of the Palestinian people and its capital is Jerusalem, denies the rights of its people, raises a national Arab slogan and ally with non-Arabs over Arabs, and then expresses Jerusalem, while the importance of Jerusalem as a city it comes mainly with the holy places you own, whether Islamic or Christian.
Let us be realistic with ourselves before Jerusalem, without pretending to be humble. The Arabs are more than “babbling” about the Palestinian issue, but Palestine in its lifetime was not a national issue.
The attempt to Arabize Jerusalem and turn it into an Arab issue only is to empty it of its content and dilute it, especially since the nationalist experience in its Arab form has proven its abject failure. The first was to abort the peaceful change that the Arab peoples called for. The phenomenon of global terrorism, then raising the national slogan of Al-Quds is no longer useful, especially since the pan-Arab national experience since its early days and until now has not inherited any economy, nor achieved prosperity for its people, nor witnessed freedom, nor the slightest democracy, so how can Al-Quds be Arab?!
Q: As a proletarian workers’ party, the PFLP engages in many community activities to serve the people, especially those in need. Can you describe more about what the PFLP does to help?
A: — Financial support service for low-income people (this is direct financial support for low-income people to contribute to alleviating the living burdens of citizens according to specific criteria)
- Disability allowance service
- Social Security Service
Social assistance is provided by the PFLP to needy families based on specific eligibility criteria and conditions.
Q: Many people claim that the PFLP are “declining” or “dying” as a movement, and that it is shrinking. Can you explain how this is not the case and on what ways the PFLP continues to enjoy support from the Palestinian masses? Does the PFLP continue to grow in both strength and support?
A: The more years pass on the Palestinian cause, the more polarizations, stakes, interventions, and pressures accumulate, and with them the circumstances become difficult and the issues and tasks that are affected by time, role, action, initiative and insistence on achievement and mastery become more complex. This brings us back to the historical stage and the tasks required, and the specificity of it, for an issue like the Palestinian issue, in subjective and objective circumstances, internal and external, local, regional and international, together and together. It starts from an overlap between the two sides of the two terms, left and right, and does not end with their class and social structure and the cooperation of their bases, which was necessary to express them; Theoretical and practical. While all of these are mixed in periods of liberation struggle and meet at the interim goals or the overall strategy, at the same time, they remain important and essential issues in decision-making, leadership, setting programs and interim steps on which the strategy of national liberation and historical victory is built.
The main conflict in the Palestinian cause is the same for all Palestinian forces and factions since the issue arose and since the factions’ inception, such as movements, political parties and their military wings. its limited area; Another reason to explain the external interference, and to weaken the united whole at the expense of the self-interests of all of Palestine, and the contradiction in the stakes and the parties or the party that is affiliated with it, any faction and supports it in various ways or in various forms. This matter added to the internal fissures, splits, and external penetrations, dilemmas for all forces and factions, but it was more severe on the left, or in other words weaker than the position of the left in general, and practically marginalized its role on the Palestinian arena and even outside it, and of course, most importantly, in its connection with its Palestinian social base, inside Palestine. And in the diaspora that has spread a lot with the passage of time and the intertwining of hostile and liquidating schemes for the whole issue, and not for the issues of asylum, return and actual representation.
If the factions and forces calculated on the Palestinian right, and most of their leaders are from large and parasitic capitalism that are dependent, have had many economic, cultural, political and social factors, and external support or backing, and by adopting in some way or practicing liberal utilitarian thought (Qatari-National-Islamist) The one who sets correct slogans and demands, works on their opposite or market them in the media while limiting or postponing them in practice, in order to provide him with his interests first without presenting the issue as a push or a solution that satisfies the people and achieves the tasks of national liberation, in freedom, independence, return and building an independent state on the national soil and Jerusalem Al-Sharif is its capital, and these factions do not take care of using misleading, temptation, distraction or starvation methods to maintain their presence and show them the leadership position of the political project, even if they raise a “religious or nationalist” ideology with a liberal perspective, and sometimes without limits or restrictions, from which their leaders do not come out in front of their reality In practice, there is no contradiction between leadership and security cooperation with the occupier, nor between religiosity and a temporary truce, or the acceptance of pairing between the universal and lofty calls (the liberation of the entire Palestinian territory, from Sea to sea…) and partial descending applications (programs or methods of negotiation, truces, economic and personal interests…), between positive transactions in public and negative transactions in secret (and permitting them for himself and criticizing or condemning others)! Which turns the struggle and uprisings into temporary shocks that end in time or are suitable to prove the leadership’s positions for it at the expense of its effects that do not prevent the forces lurking in it, from the occupying enemy and the international forces allied with it, from putting forward their plans, which put them before the people in a weaker position than they imagine or want, as with Trump, for example, and its steps that revealed the secret relations between the right-wing parties and the owners of these dangerous liquidation schemes.
These developments turned the Palestinian cause, the struggle of the Palestinian people, and Arab and international solidarity into mere differences between the two prominent Palestinian right-wing factions. Fatah and Hamas movements, and reconciliation between them. It put all the left factions and other forces on the sidelines of the national and militant struggle; This is the most prominent real crisis experienced by the Palestinian left with all its forces, including of course the Popular Front. These Palestinian factions bear a great responsibility from the beginning of their participation in the political game with the right, and their entry into its canned and suspicious tent, the stakes and columns, and opened on the left a confusing situation in which it lost its basic positions and method of work, and the main point in its internal dealings. Perhaps his silence or his involvement in entering into an alliance with other forces without insisting on an influential or leading role for any transitional program and national liberation missions, is a negative act that exposed him to what he has achieved. By pushing him to watch the field and leave the leadership to the right-wing forces and succumb to their march, stakes and interests that harmed the desired directions and sound attitudes.
Leaving the leadership of the alliances organized in the name of the Liberation Organization or the National Council or by popular representation in unions and federations to the forces of the right encouraged them to come to the fore and weaken the left in general, and marginalize it; A practical role, position and position, in the solution, decision, administration and leadership, and at all levels, whether in building the state or in the stages of popular advancement and managing the conflict with the occupying racist enemy or its allied forces, and this is not only a theoretical issue, but rather an important historical lesson, presented by experiences Many historical. Here on the left lies not only his understanding, his awareness, his awareness, but the action from where he ended up; In a clear return to the necessary requirements that emphasize the necessity of a leadership role for him, through his actual representation of the classes and popular groups most interested in progressive developments and sound changes for the goals of national liberation, and not to rely on promises or carrots and shake the rope in front of them, and work to besiege the right by popular pressure and reject strategic bargaining in any way of shapes.
As a result, the Zionist enemy and its allies are always trying to put the factions in front of two difficult choices, surrender or be killed. (with its title and forms), and unfortunately, the powerful right-wing forces, at least in the current practical experience, rush to prefer the former and follow it and “struggle” for it, regardless of the danger of the two options and what they lead to afterwards. As if the two options are a given, there are no other possibilities and success in them, and this is what requires awareness now from the left mainly. Knowing or necessarily paying attention to the fact that the forces and factions on the right-wing side are not a single solid bloc, as they may differentiate internally between their military and political wings and even between their leading figures; Some of them are more patriotic to the left than to their political and partisan affiliation, as is the case in some of the parties to the left. It remains the main work and betting on the innumerable capabilities and energies of the majority of the people, resistance to incapacitating pressures, and the conviction that the people’s awareness of their interests, capabilities and will achieve miracles and choose their methods of struggle that lead to victory. This is a fundamental task for the left in general and the Popular Front, by the way.
Despite this general course of Palestinian political action, the Popular Front considers current circumstances to be in its favour. Despite all these obstacles, the amount support for the PFLP enjoys from the Palestinian masses is healthy and continues to grow. Its line must be consolidated and influenced by the components of the left side, in order to reach an advanced stage of coordination and joint action to be the leading and effective alternative in the existing political conflict. Among these are the renewal of leaders and the acceptance of young leaders; Thought, spirit and practical intertwined field activity, institutionalization of organizational, political and popular work and acceptance of change in its composition and expression of the real interests of the sectors it represents.
It works for it, and intellectual and political communication with intellectual and political changes and developments in all available fields; Arab and international, and the development of progressive programs that emphasize the credibility of the analysis of the reality and the desired change. These matters require awareness and development in the ranks of the organization from the leadership to the rules, and even to its surroundings, and to clarify its constructive approach in its practical development and the strategy of its resistance program.
Q: As you know millions of Palestinians have been forced out of their homes by the Zionist colonizers, and live as refugees. Is the PFLP present in the areas where Palestinians reside as refugees, and if so what does the PFLP do to help and support these people?
A: It is true that the Popular Front is active abroad.
The Popular Front stems from a social and economic vision aimed at upgrading and developing the reality of the Palestinian people in all their places of existence, away from capitalist or self-exploitation of people’s conditions, based on the belief that “the human being is the most precious thing we have, and therefore the goal should be in all its activities.”
The working classes and marginalized segments of our Palestinian people outside Palestine harness all their capabilities and the expertise of their cadres to serve our people at all service levels. The high-ranking members of the Popular Front are always present and in all fields among the poor among our people: health, agricultural, educational, and other fields that they struggled the Front is there in order to provide services to our people, or to prevent the authorities from violating the rights of the poor, students and workers of our people. Throughout the various services, the Popular Front targeted the most affected and poorest social groups and classes in society, providing qualitative services at all levels. On the level of education, throughout the periods and stages of the Palestinian struggle, especially intensely during the First Intifada, the Front adopted the method of popular education and sought to contribute to confronting the occupation’s attempts to misguide our people.
Q: Many also falsely claim that the only way forward is the so-called “two-state solution”, which would result in part of Palestine remaining occupied and colonized by the Zionists. The PFLP is well-known to support one single Palestinian state where all can live with dignity, where apartheid against Palestinians ends, the fascistic Zionist entity is abolished and those forced out of their homes by the Zionist colonizers can return. Can you explain why the so-called “two-state solution” will not work and why the aim of the PFLP is better?
A: The reasons for the democratic state and not the two-state are the following:
First: The Palestinian-Arab battle with the entity is a battle imposed on us, in which we had no choice.. This battle falls within the framework of confrontation with an enemy exceptional in its enmities against us. And then they go back to their homes, and therefore we are facing an uprooting enemy who believes that he has a “sacred right” to historic Palestine and other Arab lands. Therefore, by necessity, confronting this enemy requires an exceptional Palestinian and Arab struggle.
Second: In reviewing the possibility of a single democratic state solution, the “Israeli” obstacles are the main obstacles, compared to the Palestinian, Arab and Islamic obstacles, as often presented. This is represented in the fact that the democratic state completely contradicts the strategic goal that the Zionist entity seeks, which is the establishment of a Jewish state, devoid of Arabs, and which brings together Jews from all over the world. It also contradicts a Zionist strategic line, which is the red line in front of the “Israeli” existence itself, by which we mean: the return of Palestinian refugees to their historical homeland. It also contradicts all the basic laws that the Zionist entity enacted in place of a constitution. It contradicts the biblical roots of the “Israeli” behavior, represented in the constant aggression against the Palestinians and Arabs (the Gentiles) in a superior and superior horizon, racist and adorned with an inferior look at them. It contrasts with the behavior of the rabbis, who kept the Jews in the framework of the ghetto, which turned into the arrogance of the fortress after the establishment of “Israel.” Despite the passage of nearly seven decades of forced residency in the entity, nothing but aggression against the other has developed within the same sphere of view as the rabbis. Therefore, any bet in the next three thousand years, to make a behavioral shift contrary to what “Israel” is currently practicing, is a completely far an objective bet… of course within the current data, and in the foreseeable short term.
This is in addition to the “Israeli” curricula in kindergartens, schools and religious schools, which, over the course of nearly seventy years, produced nothing but the development in the structure of the extremist religious right, and the fascist, with merit, in addition to the militarization of (society) through the development of the military-security institution in its concepts imposed on the “Israeli” streets, just as the religious establishment imposes its conditions on the “Israeli” social structure and on the street as well.
Third: As for the two-state solution, besides the error of the saying (Jewish nationalism) that contradicts history, reality, facts and the principle of religions, and in addition to the error of the saying (Palestinian nationalism) considering the Palestinians to be Arabs, the “Israeli” obstacles to establishing such a state are the main obstacles. And it is not the Palestinian, Arab or Islamic obstacles… And we add: If “Israel” is still seeking to get rid of the Arab Palestinians inside it, who make up only 20% of it, and if despite all these years, it considers their stay in their land a “strategic danger” to its existence. And if it continues to practice its hateful racism against them… How will it abandon its aggression and racism and accept the establishment of a two-state solution? Fourth: The entity is linked in its existence to the most ugly phenomenon in history; colonialism. An ideological view far from objective and natural with regards to human laws as well.
And based on an objective, analytical vision of history and reality, and an attempt to trace the future with a scientific horizon, away from the surface, right or left… what is required is to put a hand on the wound and the essence of the conflict… which was not and will not be by our will. Therefore, let the Palestinian, Arab and international political movement’s remain based on the two-state solution, as an objectionable solution aimed at preventing the liquidation of the Palestinian cause, and let it remain armed with the resolutions of international legitimacy, which guaranteed the refugees of our people their right to return, and which does not recognize Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian territories in 1967. Therefore, it calls for its withdrawal from all these occupied lands, including East Jerusalem, but to preserve our own convictions that it is not possible to coexist with this malignant cancer unless it is eradicated.
Q: What can friends and comrades of Palestine internationally around the world do to support the cause of the full liberation of Palestine?
A: Our Palestinian communities in the countries of the diaspora and diaspora have had, and still have, a fundamental role in the course of the national struggle, including their role in supporting the steadfastness of our people, building their national institutions on their land, attracting all forms of support and advocacy, and influencing decision-making circles in the countries where the communities are established.
All of this calls us to consider the importance of the communities and their future role and how to frame it to benefit from it and build on it, as coordination, cooperation and networking accumulate and enrich the momentum resulting from this popular resistance. Therefore, it is necessary to achieve enhancing the communities’ contribution to the Palestinian national work by forming an effective lobby that includes attracting support and support Advocating for the rights of our people, influencing decision-making circles, and organizing supportive solidarity events. Adhering to the right to return to the home and homeland for all Palestinians in all their places is a motive that makes us work together to deliver this message to the whole world in light of all the crises that call for the settlement of immigrants. We are the only ones in the world. Those who demand our right to return to our motherland, our constant pursuit of the right of return requires us to strengthen and strengthen the relationship and ties between the expatriates and the mother country and to strengthen belonging to it, and to strive to develop new contents for these relations and to enrich them with various cultural, educational, economic and tourism services, with a focus on attracting the younger generations of the communities. Encouraging them to engage in political life to play an active role in support of the Palestinian cause. Organizing visits and youth camps in the homeland for the children of expatriates will be an opportunity for them to become ambassadors for what they see on the ground in their countries of residence.
The communities’ playing an important and pivotal role in the national struggle program such as anti-apartheid, exposing the Zionist narrative and highlighting the Palestinian narrative, and solidarity and advocacy activities for Palestine in all capitals of the world, including the development of relations with the anti-occupation forces and the forces supporting the national rights of our people, and participation in the process of construction and development Whether through direct investments, or assistance in opening markets for the Palestinian national product, or providing the Palestinian community with specialists and experts so that we can support the boycott of the occupation’s goods by raising the quality of the national product, promoting tourism in the homeland and focusing on Christian and Islamic religious tourism, as this makes these visits an opportunity to learn about violations The occupation and the repressive practices that Palestinians face all come to strengthen the steadfastness of our Palestinian people who are stationed on the land of Palestine.
It must also be emphasized that strengthening relations with Arab and friendly communities and mobilizing their energies to support and support the Palestinian cause through central activities that are arranged to reflect the free people of the world around the justice of our Palestinian right. Cases brought before the International Court of Justice against the occupation on the Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People on November 29.
We must overcome the national interest, our just right to liberation and independence, our right to return, our capital, Jerusalem, and the freedom of our prisoners over any other matter. Our unity is our way to support our Palestinian rights and achieve victory and independence for our Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital.