ILPS Mourns the Death of Dr. George Habash, Al-Hakeem,
Founder of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine
By Prof. Jose Maria Sison
Chairperson, International Coordinating Committee
International League of Peoples' Struggle
28 January 2008
On behalf of the International League of Peoples' Struggle (ILPS), I
wish to convey our most heartfelt condolences over the passing away
of Dr. George Habash, Al Hakeem, to his family and to the Popular Front
for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP). We wish to pay the highest respects
and honors to Dr. Habash for his unwavering lifelong dedication to the
noble and just cause of the Palestinian and Arab peoples for national
and social liberation.
We join the Palestinian and Arab peoples and all other freedom-loving
peoples of the world in mourning the death of Dr. George Habash, founder
of the Arab Nationalist Movement and the Popular Front for the Liberation
of Palestine (PFLP). With his death, the Palestinian and Arab peoples have
lost an outstanding and exemplary revolutionary leader and fighter in their
national and democratic interest against imperialism and reaction.
In both my official and personal capacity, I feel a deep sense of loss because
I have known Dr. Habash since we met and conversed at length in Algeria
when I was a guest of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) during
the Palestinian National Congress in 1988. Even as we grieve over his death,
we are gratified by the rich legacy of revolutionary ideas and experience that
he has bequeathed to the Palestinian people. He continues to inspire the
Palestinian people to persevere in revolutionary struggle for their national
and democratic rights against US imperialism and Israeli Zionism.
The family of Dr. Habash was among the hundreds of thousands of Palestinians
who were forced out of their homes and made refugees in 1948, while he
was studying in Beirut. He became a firm advocate of secular Arab nationalism
and founded the Arab Nationalist Movement in 1951. This movement became
strong among the youth, students and intellectuals across the Arab world.
It advocated armed struggle against colonialism for the liberation of the Arab
After the defeat of 1967, he founded the PFLP. Subsequently, the PFLP
joined the PLO in 1968, becoming the second largest formation after Arafat's
Al Fatah. It was firmly opposed to the Arab-Israeli peace talks and disagreed
with PLO leader Arafat over holding talks with Israel.
In 1969, the PFLP declared itself a Marxist-Leninist organization, while it
remained faithful to Pan Arabism, regarding the struggle of the Palestinian
people as part of a wider struggle against Western imperialism. It also
advocated the unity of the Arab peoples through the overthrow of
reactionary and monarchist regimes in the various Arab countries.
After the Palestinian revolution came under severe attack with massacres
in Jordan, the Palestinian movement shifted its base to Lebanon. There Dr.
Habash continued his leadership of the PLPF throughout the civil war and
the Israeli invasion, until 1982, when the PLO and its activists, fighters and
institutions were forced to leave Lebanon.
The PFLP moved its headquarters to Damascus in 1982. Dr. Habash focused
on the establishment and development of institutions inside Palestine, as well
as on the protection of the Palestinian revolution's existence. He recognized
the dangers to Palestinian rights posed by the so-called "peace process" initiated
by US President Ronald Reagan and Saudi Arabia's King Fahd and pushed by the
so-called Amman agreement of 1985.
When the great Intifada broke out in 1987, Dr. Habash urged the further
strengthening of Palestinian national unity, and called for the convening of
the Palestinian National Congress in Algeria in 1988. He always stood for national
unity as a necessary condition for the continuation of the revolutionary struggle
of the Palestinian people. He called for the resolution of the internal contradictions
among Palestinians through democratic processes.
In 1993, he called for popular opposition to the Oslo agreement. He considered
this agreement as a sell-out and as a defeat for the Palestinian revolutionary cause.
He warned that the Oslo agreement violated the crucial right of the Palestinian
refugees to return to their homeland. In 1994 and 1995, he called for and
launched campaigns and established committees and organizations to protect
the right of the Palestinian refugees.
In 2000, he delivered his last address as General Secretary in the Sixth Conference
of the PFLP. He declared his resignation to provide an example for the transfer
of leadership through democratic processes. At the same time, he remained
active in advocating and propagating the revolutionary cause of the Palestinian
and Arab peoples by establishing the al-Ghad al-Arabi Center of Studies.
By way of honoring Dr. Habash, we the ILPS reiterate our condemnation of
the continued Zionist occupation of Palestine and oppression of the Palestinian
people by the Israelis with the backing of US imperialism. Zionism is a tool of US
imperialism in imposing its hegemony in the Middle East. We fully support the
Palestinian people in their struggle for national and social liberation.
We are confident that the Palestinian people will continue to be inspired by
the legacy of Dr. Habash in their revolutionary struggle. The memory of Al
Hakeem, the beloved comrade doctor, will live on in the hearts and minds,
not only of the Palestinian and Arab peoples, but also in those of all other
freedom-loving peoples who are fighting for a new and better world, liberated
from imperialism and reaction.###