Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) Politburo
The Popular Front for Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) was established in 1967 by the Arab National Movement and headed by George Habash until his resignation in 2000. It began as a transformation towards a Marxist-Leninist ideology in early 1969. The Organization viewed the struggle for an independent Palestine as part of a larger revolution to transform Arab society along Marxist-Leninist lines.
The Faction split twice - in 1968, when the Palestinian Liberation Front broke away (now called Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine – General Command, PFLP-GC), and in 1969, when the Democratic front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP) did the same.
In the 1970s the PFLP was known for hijack missions, which were led by Wadi Haddad. The organization’s armed wing was known as the Red Eagles. The PFLP became progressively moderate after 1973. Despite this, it has never agreed to recognize Israel and pulled out of the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) executive committee in 1974 due to the committee’s acceptance of the “stage strategy.” PFLP rejoined the committee in 1981. The party led an anti-Yasser Arafat coalition in the early 1980s, opposing both negotiations with Jordan and the Fez Plan. During the first Intifada it was a member of the United National Leadership of the Uprising (UNLU). It opposed was among the factions that opposed the Oslo Accords. Although represented in the PLO executive committee, the PFLP had been de facto marginalized since the beginning of the Oslo Process. Reconciliation with Arafat – together with the DFLP – took place in Cairo in August 1999.
Since the first Intifada and the Oslo Accords, the PFLP has faced difficulty with establishing itself in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip. It boycotted the 1996 elections, giving the impression that elections were irrelevant to internal developments of the occupied territories. Additionally, the fall of the Soviet Union and the rise in popularity of Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad has marginalized the PFLP’s role in Palestinian politics and armed resistance. As a result the PFLP has been forced to endorse partners among politically active Palestinians. It has since formed alliances with other leftist groups within the PA, including the Palestinian People’s Party (PPP) and the Popular Resistance Committees of Gaza.
In 2000 Habash resigned as the party’s secretary general and was replaced by Abu Ali Mustafa, who was assassinated in 2001. Mustafa was replaced by Ahmed Sadat. Sadat was accused of involvement in the assassination of Rehavim Zeevi, the Israeli Tourism Minister, and was arrested by the PA.
Today the PFLP claims that its main goals are to “mobilize and lead the struggle of the Palestinian masses for the return to Palestine, self-determination, and the establishment of a Palestinian state.” It also aims to establish a democratic socialist society. The military wing of the PFLP is called the Abu Ali Mustafa Brigades. The PFLP participated in the 2006 Palestinian legislative elections as the “Martyr Abu Ali List” and won 4.2% of the vote.