Other Group

Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine

The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) is an umbrella organization for a number of militant groups connected to the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO). PLO is the political organization which claims to represent Arabs living in the Gaza Strip, Israel, and the west bank of the Jordan River – territories which the PLO considers to be part of the historical region known as Palestine. [1] As of April 2021, the U.S. State Department lists the PFLP as a designated foreign terrorist organization. [2]

The PFLP identifies with Marxist-Leninist ideology, opposes the existence of Israel as a Jewish state, and aims to replace Israel with a secular Palestinian state. The PFLP has rejected peace arrangements with Israel and has carried out numerous terrorist attacks against Israel and Western countries, including the hijacking of several civilian airliners in the late 1960s and early 1970s. [3]

History

In 1967, three militant Palestinian groups joined forces to form the PFLP. However, disagreements over ideology eventually caused the Front to split into new factions by 1968. The most prominent faction was the PFLP General Command. [4] This faction declared itself to be an explicitly military group that would not engage in politics, especially not in any negotiations with Israel. The General Command initially identified exclusively with Marxist-Leninist ideology, but this changed in the late 1980s when the group started receiving assistance from Iran and began promoting Islamist ideology. [5]

The influence of the PFLP and its factions, as well as that of far-left Palestinian groups in general, declined in the 1990s after the establishment of the Palestinian Authority, a more moderate government overseeing the West Bank and Gaza Strip. However, the beginning of the second Palestinian intifada (uprising) against Israel in the early 2000s prompted the PFLP to escalate its attacks against Israel in order to regain influence. [6]

Activities

In the late 1960s and early 1970s, the PFLP hijacked and destroyed several Western commercial airliners. [7] In one such attack in 1970, the PFLP bombed a Swiss airliner, killing all 47 passengers and crew members on board. In 1982, PFLP militants kidnapped three Israel Defense Forces reservists and successfully negotiated with Israel to exchange them for more than 1,100 Arab prisoners captured by Israel. In 1987, the Front conducted an attack using a hang glider that killed six Israeli troops. This would be the first of many terrorist attacks against Israeli military and civilian targets as part of the first intifada. In 2001, Israeli security forces seized a shipment of unguided surface-to-surface rockets and surface-to-air guided missiles that the PFLP had sent to the Gaza Strip. [8]

Starting in the mid-2000s, the PFLP and its sympathizers began to participate in West Bank electoral politics, winning municipal council seats alongside the militant Hamas and Fatah movements. [9]

In April 2021, the right-of-center Capital Research Center reported that Ahmad Saadat, the former PFLP secretary-general who was captured by Israeli forces and imprisoned for committing terrorist acts, had close ties to Sahar Francis, a board member of the pro-Palestinian organization Addameer. Addameer has worked with far-left, pro-Palestinian college campus group such as Jewish Voice for Peace and Students for Justice in Palestine to organize events where Francis gives lectures promoting the Palestinian side of the Israel-Palestine conflict. [10]

Leadership

Ahmad Saadat is the secretary-general of the PFLP. Israeli authorities accused him of planning the assassination of Israel’s tourism minister Rehavam Zeevi in 2001. In response, Palestinian authorities detained Saadat, but in 2006, Israeli security forces assaulted the prison and captured Saadat. An Israeli court sentenced him to 30 years in prison for the assassination and other terrorist activity. [11]

Ahmed Jibril is the leader of the PFLP General Command. He is a former Syrian military officer and was last known to be operating out of Damascus, Syria. [12]

Support

The PFLP and its factions have received funding, training, and safe haven from the Syrian government. The PFLP General Command has also received support from the Iranian government. [13]

References

  1.        “Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.” Encyclopaedia Britannica. Accessed April 19, 2021. https://www.britannica.com/topic/Popular-Front-for-the-Liberation-of-Palestine ^
  2. “Foreign Terrorist Organizations – United States Department of State.” U.S. Department of State. U.S. Department of State, March 16, 2021. https://www.state.gov/foreign-terrorist-organizations/. ^
  3. “Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.” Encyclopaedia Britannica. Accessed April 19, 2021. https://www.britannica.com/topic/Popular-Front-for-the-Liberation-of-Palestine ^
  4.         “Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.” Encyclopaedia Britannica. Accessed April 19, 2021. https://www.britannica.com/topic/Popular-Front-for-the-Liberation-of-Palestine ^
  5.             “Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.” Global Security. Accessed April 19, 2021. https://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/para/pflpgc.htm ^
  6.             “Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.” Global Security. Accessed April 19, 2021. https://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/para/pflpgc.htm ^
  7.        “Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.” Encyclopaedia Britannica. Accessed April 19, 2021. https://www.britannica.com/topic/Popular-Front-for-the-Liberation-of-Palestine ^
  8.        “Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.” Global Security. Accessed April 19, 2021. https://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/para/pflpgc.htm ^
  9.      Nassar Ibrahim. “Palestinian Municipal Elections.” Alternatives International. December 22, 2005. Accessed April 19, 2021. https://www.alterinter.org/?Palestinian-Municipal-Elections&?lang=fr ^
  10. Sarah Lee. “Selling Terrorism Through Nonprofits.” Capital Research Center. April 6, 2021. Accessed April 19, 2021.

    Selling Terrorism Through Nonprofits

    ^

  11.              Aviad Glickman. “Court: PFLP leader to remain in solitary confinement.” YNet News. April 4, 2010. Accessed April 19, 2021. https://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3857940,00.html ^
  12.        “Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.” Global Security. Accessed April 19, 2021. https://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/para/pflpgc.htm ^
  13.        “Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.” Global Security. Accessed April 19, 2021. https://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/para/pflpgc.htm ^
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