Remembering Al-Hakim, Dr. George Habash

On the ninth anniversary of the passing of Dr. George Habash (Al-Hakim), the PFLP Historical Documentation project recalls his immense contributions to liberation struggle on the Palestinian, Arab and international levels, and salutes his consistent commitment to a clear revolutionary vision that always centered Palestinian refugees and their right to return, the working class, and the peasants and toilers of Palestine and the Arab world. As the founder of the Arab Nationalist Movement and then the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, working collectively with committed revolutionaries, Al-Hakim put his theories to the test in the direct practice of struggle.

On this occasion, we present some of his historic English-language articles that continue to resonate today with their sharp revolutionary vision and clarity of analysis.

1984 interview in English with Dr. George Habash on the 1984 PNC, the democratic vision for Palestine and the struggle for Palestinian national liberation:

January 1974 – Habash: Liberation Not Negotiation

Originally published in the Italian newspaper Il Manifesto on 29-30 January 1974, this interview presents Al-Hakim’s take on the so-called “Geneva Peace Conference” and the current political situation for Palestinians and Arabs.

“The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, as a revolutionary organization, struggles for the interest of the oppressed Palestinian masses, for liberation, repatriation and self determination. Given that we are part of the Arab liberation movement and the world revolution, the P.F.L.P. cannot adopt a position except through the recognition of the basic interests of these revolutionary forces.”

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August 1974 – Interview with Comrade George Habash

This interview originally took place in Arabic with Al-Hadaf on 3 August 1974, and includes a discussion of the results of the October War, the role of Arab regimes, and political developments within the Palestine Liberation Organization.

“The capitulationist rulers will have no choice but to submit to the conditions set by U.S. imperialism. This will take place with the approval of the Zionist state which raises the slogan that « in return for every piece of land we should get a piece of peace. » The peace referred to here is the Zionist peace. It begins with the implicit recognition of Israel and ends with the Israelis shopping in the streets of Cairo.”

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October 1974 – George Habash Outlines PFLP Policy in a Press Conference

This press conference took place on 25 October 1974, before the Arab Summit in Rabat, Morocco. Al-Hakim comments on the relationship between Arab states and imperialism, the danger of political settlement and capitulation overseen by the U.S.

“One day truth will be clear to all, that there is no peace in the area with the existence of a facist, racist state based on a reactionary doctrine and with the aim of serving the imperialist interest. The slogan of a democratic society in Palestine raised by the Palestinian revolution is the only road to freedom and progress for the entire people of the area, including the Jews, and is the road to permanent and durable peace.”

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May 1980 – Comrade Habash Speaks on International Workers’ Day

This speech was presented on 1 May 1980 at an event at Ain el-Helweh refugee camp in Saida, Lebanon, marking May Day, International Workers’ Day. It addresses international struggles against imperialism, developments in Iran and several Arab countries and the importance of workers’ leadership.

“The imperialist, Zionist and Sadat alliance safeguards not only the imperialist interests, but the Zionist interests and the interests of the ruling reactionary bourgeois class in the area as well…We must build the alliance of the workers and peasants, Palestinian, Lebanese, Syrian, Arab, Mideastern and internationally, that destroys the imperialist, Zionist and Sadat alliance. We are 100% capable of that, and the movement of history points in this direction.”

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January 1982 – Interview with Comrade Habash

The following interview took place on 9 January 1982 in Sabah al-Kheir magazine, and addressed the reactionary role of Saudi Arabia, the alliance between Zionism and imperialism and other international political developments.

“What must be made clear to our masses is the true nature of the Zionist entity – that it is the arm that deals the blows for imperialism in our Arab land and that it is organically linked to the Zionist movement, whose very existence depends on the destruction of our national existence. If our people are made aware of this truth, then imperialist, reactionary and Zionist maneuvers will have no chance of success.”

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March 1982 – George Habash at PFLP International Women’s Day Event

The following speech was delivered on 8 March 1982 at an International Women’s Day meeting for PFLP cadre. The view of the relationship between national and social liberation reflected here is one that has in many ways since been revised, with the full understanding that social liberation cannot be viewed as a stage that comes primarily after revolutionary victory. However, the presentation affirms a clear commitment to full participation and liberation of women as an inseparable and necessary part of the Palestinian revolution.

“The path leading to genuine liberation of Palestinian and Arab women is the path of participation in the national democratic revolution. Some women may achieve individual liberation to a certain degree; however, complete liberation cannot be separated from the ongoing battle between the forces of progress, liberation and socialism on one hand, and the forces of imperialism, Zionism and reaction on the other.”

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October 1983 – Comrade Habash on The Crisis: Roots and Solutions

This presentation was delivered on 31 October 1983 at the General Union of Palestinian Writers and Journalists in Damascus. It addressed the current crisis and situation of the Palestinian people as well as the threat of capitulation on the part of Palestinian right-wing forces and struggles inside the PLO. Note, this took place at the time of the PFLP-DFLP Joint Leadership following the invasion of Lebanon. For more information on this period, see: PFLP Bulletins Fall 1983 and Winter 1983.

“The Palestinian bourgeoisie took up arms, having ambitions and dreams which I believe were genuine. They began to £ace difficulties as well as becoming a politically recognized force on the Arab and international levels. Based on these conditions, the Palestinian bourgeoisie adopted the position that corresponds to its class nature, to accept a share in the settlement. The rightist approach is greatly responsible for the outcome of two main stages: Our experience in Jordan, and the stage of settlement.”

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