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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 people.

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.###

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