ATbar Steinberg, Matti

Steinberg, Matti

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The Worldview of Habash's 'Popular Front'


Of the three prominent Palestinian organizations that are not the handiwork of Arab states - Fatah, Naif Hawatma’s Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP), and George Habash’s Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) - the PFLP is most notable for its ideological dogmatism. This is evident in its efforts to shape an internally consistent worldview, and its striving to reduce as far as possible the dualism that has colored PLO doctrine since 1973 due to the disparity between the precepts of the Palestinian Covenant and the constraints of reality. Indeed, in the past decade the PFLP's principal objective has been to demonstrate that its final goal - the liberation of all of Palestine remains valid and is actually attainable, in spite of external events. What the PFLP seeks is to remove all nagging doubts and to restore the lost sense of certainty. This has caught the PFLP in a web of contradictions and inconsistencies, albeit to a far lesser degree than, say, the Fatah. Thus, the PFLP's rivals are not far from the truth when they accuse it of having shifting dogmatism. On the twentieth anniversary of its founding, we shall examine the foundations of the PFLP's ideological and operational worldview today. Special emphasis will be placed on how the radical Palestinian orientation grapples with obstacles in the path of realizing its goals.

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