Saturday, January 26, 2008

George Habash Is Dead And Abbas Shows His True Colors (Updated)

“…we stopped the culture of violence and the Palestinian people have started looking at it as something that should be condemned.”
Mahmoud Abbas

From the New York Times:
George Habash, founder of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, a hard-line Marxist group that shocked the world with a campaign of airline hijackings and bombings in the late 1960s and early 1970s, died Saturday of a heart attack in Amman, Jordan. Although accounts varied, he was believed to be 82.

...The Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, ordered three days of mourning and flags lowered to half-staff in the Palestinian territories.
From The Middle East Quarterly, Fall 2007
Formed in January 1968 by 41-year-old Dr. George Habash and his second in command, 43-year-old Dr. Wadia Haddad, the PFLP [Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine] was fiercely independent although it did receive extensive funding from Iraq and had close ties with Red China. The group was militant and radical. "If [it] is the only way to destroy Israel, Zionism, and Arab reaction," Habash asserted in a 1970 interview, "then we want World War III to come." In another he warned, "America is our enemy," and the PFLP was about to "teach the United States a lesson." And, unlike Fatah, which at least officially vowed not to interfere in intra-Arab affairs, the PFLP never hid its intent to replace King Hussein as a first step in liberating Palestine. The group was also fractious, ravaged by intense disputes. Only months after its founding, two important fighters departed to form their own groups. Such disagreements would play an important part in our story, too.
And to imagine that Abbas ordered only 3 days of mourning!

[Hat tip: The Corner]

UPDATE: Arutz Sheva gives further background on the terrorist leader's accomplishments:
The PFLP was founded in 1967, several months after the Israeli victory in the Six Day War. In 1968, PFLP terrorists hijacked an El Al plane that was en route from Rome to Tel Aviv. Its passengers were held hostage for 39 days before being released. This was the first time an El Al plane was hijacked. One month later, the PFLP attacked another El Al jet on the ground at Athens airport. One passenger was killed.

These are some of the PFLP's crimes in 40 years of existence:

* 1970, the PFLP blew up a Swissair flight to Israel in midair. 47 people died, including 15 Israelis.
* 1972, Japanese terrorists trained by the PFLP murdered 24 people, including 16 pilgrims from Puerto Rico, at Lod airport.

Back from Entebbe: Effie Eitam (center) and Efrayim Sneh (left).
IDF Spokesman.

* 1976, PFLP terrorists cooperated with German terrorists and hijacked an Air France jet to Entebbe, Uganda. The hostages were freed by Israel in a daring raid.
* 1980, PFLP terrorists took over the children's room at Misgav Am in northern Israel, and murdered a baby, as well as the kibbutz's director.
* 2000, Habash retired from active leadership of the PFLP, for health reasons.
* 2001, a PFLP squad assassinated Israeli Minister Rechavam Ze'evi.
* The PFLP carried out three suicide bombings between 2002 and 2004, at Karnei Shomron (3 murdered) at Geha Intersection (3 murdered) and at Shuk HaCarmel in Tel Aviv (3 murdered).

In April 2005, the Shabak (General Security Service) told the press that it had successfully uncovered a plot by a PFLP cell to murder Shas spiritual leader Rabbi Ovadya Yosef.
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