The Strategy for the Liberation of Palestine

             The Strategy for the Liberation of Palestine is both a historical document and a living political program for the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. Issued in 1969 at the time of the Front’s second Congress, this document lays out the fundamental understandings and analysis of the PFLP in relation to the colonization of Palestine, the forces of the revolution and the forces arrayed against the Palestinian people. In addition, the second section of the “Strategy” puts forward the organizational vision and program of the Front. In Arabic, in fact, this document is known as the “Political and Organizational Strategy” of the Front; however, its English title, the Strategy for the Liberation of Palestine, lays out clearly what this document presents—a vision, analysis and understanding to guide the tasks of the Palestinian national liberation movement in working for freedom, return and liberation. Since the original publication of this document, nearly fifty years have passed. In that time, a great deal of historical developments and changes have taken place since its publication. The document contains references to a global socialist camp and the Soviet Union, which no longer reflect our current reality. Many other changes have taken place as well, including some which firmly underline the analysis presented in this publication. The process of negotiations and political settlement that began with Madrid and Oslo and led to the establishment of the Palestinian Authority to represent certain sectors of the Palestinian capitalist class while undermining the Palestinian national liberation movement—including engaging in security coordination with the Israeli occupation against the 8 Strategy for the Liberation of Palestine Palestinian resistance, a dagger in the back of the Palestinian revolution. The development of the Palestinian Authority and its role well reflects the analysis originally presented here in “The Palestinian Bourgeoisie.” The entire path of Oslo and the role of the Palestinian Authority have served to create an institutional framework for Palestinian capital as a subcontractor for Israeli occupation while diverting the Palestinian cause from a path of resistance and revolution to a futile road of negotiations. Today, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine continues to uphold the position represented in this document and by leaders such as Abu Ali Mustafa, slain in 2001 by an Israeli-fired, US-made missile in the window of his office in Ramallah: “Liberation, not Negotiations!” This document also reflects the Front’s close relationship at the time of its founding with anti-colonial and revolutionary movements around the world. The document takes inspiration from the writings of Mao Zedong, the experience of the Chinese Revolution and, contemporaneously, the struggle of the Vietnamese people for liberation, unity and socialism. The close relationship reflected here with other revolutionary and national liberation movements has continued to be a strong reality in principle and in practice throughout the history of the PFLP—from the period of the 1970s and 1980s, when fighters in African, Asian, Arab and Latin American liberation movements both joined the ranks of the Front but also trained for their own struggles in the Palestinian camps in Lebanon—to today’s ongoing joint struggles against our mutual enemies, in confrontation of imperialism, Zionism and capitalism. In addition, the analysis of Arab reactionary regimes 9 PFLP Introduction to this Edition has remained exceptionally valid to the present day. While the roles of specific regimes has shifted—note, for example, the role of the Camp David agreement in shifting Egypt toward normalization and reaction—the analysis presented in this document continues to guide the Front’s relationship with powers like Saudi Arabia, deeply enmeshed with U.S. imperialism and playing a destructive role in Palestine and throughout the region. 2017 is a particularly significant year for the republication of this document, as it marks a series of anniversaries that only reiterate the importance of the analysis presented herein. It marks 100 years of the Balfour declaration and British colonization of Palestine, highlighting the centrality of the imperialist role in the colonization of Palestine until the present day, in which global imperialist powers, especially the United States, are the key strategic ally of the Zionist regime. This year also marks 70 years of al-Nakba, the Palestinian catastrophe in which over 700,000 Palestinians were driven from their homes and lands by advancing Zionist militias to declare the racist, colonial-settler state of Israel on the land of Palestine. These militias, funded and supported by the world Zionist movement, reflect a role for the world Zionist movement that did not end in 1948 or 1969, upon this book’s publication, but continue to play a key role around the world in maintaining alliances with imperialist and colonialist powers and working to suppress international and Palestinian organizing for justice and liberation. 2017 also marks the 50th anniversary of the 1967 occupation of the West Bank, Gaza Strip and all of Jerusalem, as well as the Arab lands of the Syrian Golan Heights (which remains occupied today) and the Egyp- 10 Strategy for the Liberation of Palestine tian Sinai peninsula. It also marks the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine in the period immediately following the 1967 war as a revolutionary response to setback and defeat. This political timing is tangible throughout the document; it is an urgent response to a critical development for the Palestinian and Arab peoples. The republication of this document in English today makes it clear that despite the significant events that followed its publication, including “Black September” and the attack of the Jordanian regime that drove the Palestinian revolution from Jordan, the Lebanese Civil War and the Zionist invasion and occupation of Lebanon that pushed the central location of the Palestinian revolution from the refugee camps of Lebanon, to the Intifadas and the devastation of Oslo, the fundamental analysis presented here remains the guiding political framework of a leftist, revolutionary approach to the liberation of Palestine—an approach that we view as fundamentally necessary to achieving victory and liberation in Palestine. Since the release of the “Strategy,” the Front’s position has been further developed and elaborated in response to the movement of history and the developing Palestinian, Arab and international situation. The Front’s Congresses and Conventions have produced political documents that highlight the position of the Front, both as a political organization and as an active revolutionary movement deeply engaged in Palestinian resistance of struggle inside occupied Palestine, in the refugee camps of the Arab world and everywhere in the world where Palestinians and their comrades struggle for justice and liberation. One of the most important 11 PFLP Introduction to this Edition arenas of struggle for the Front have been Israeli jails, where thousands of comrades developed a revolutionary school of resistance and steadfastness in the face of torture and interrogation, a trend that is represented today by Ahmad Sa’adat, the imprisoned General Secretary of the PFLP, and hundreds of imprisoned comrades held with him and with fellow Palestinian revolutionaries behind the bars of the occupier’s jails. Ghassan Kanafani, one of the founders and leaders of the Front, a shaper of its political vision, a revolutionary strategist and a creative thinker, artist and writer, participated in the creation of this document alongside his comrades in the leadership of the Front. For his role in the culture and practice of resistance, he was assassinated—along with his niece Lamis—by a Mossad car bomb in 1972. However, his words of the time remain just as compelling today, and the occasion of the English republication of this document once again recalls their correctness and urgency: “The Palestinian cause is not a cause for Palestinians only, but a cause for every revolutionary, wherever they are, as a cause of the exploited and oppressed masses in our era.

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