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What is the PFLP, this Marxist Palestinian movement accused of also holding hostages in Gaza?

“We have no connection with the PFLP.

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What is the PFLP, this Marxist Palestinian movement accused of also holding hostages in Gaza?

“We have no connection with the PFLP.” Jean-Luc Mélenchon's executive lieutenants, Éric Coquerel and Manuel Bompard, tried to dot the i's as best they could. Is the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine terrorist? “[He] is included on the list of terrorist organizations in a certain number of countries,” said the spokesperson for France Insoumise Manuel Bompard, interviewed on BFMTV this Wednesday.

“It is a historic group on the side of the Palestinians, coming from Marxism, nationalist, which acts especially in Gaza, and apart from this information that I am giving you, I do not know much more,” assured the deputy Éric Coquerel. old on the 24-hour news channel. France Insoumise is accused of collusion with the Palestinian movement, particularly after the invitation to the National Assembly made by the insoumise deputy Ersilia Soudais of the Palestinian activist Mariam Abou Daqqa, engaged in the terrorist movement and finally expelled from French territory on the 10 november. Last spring, several rebellious executives, including Éric Coquerel, signed a platform to demand the release of Georges Abdallah, sentenced to life imprisonment for complicity in the assassination of American and Israeli diplomats in 1987 and committed to the PFLP.

Accused by the Israeli army of detaining the Bibas family, whose youngest Israeli hostage Kfir is a 10-month-old baby, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine is in fact one of the first Palestinian movements, created in 1967 by Georges Habache, himself at the origin of the Arab Nationalist Movement. “It is linked to a form of radical Arab nationalism, and therefore inherited revolutionary and Marxist software from the 1970s,” specifies David Rigoulet-Roze is an associate researcher at the Institute of International and Strategic Relations (Iris).

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The organization quickly joined Yasser Arafat's PLO, presented a radical line in comparison with Fatah, and campaigned for the solution of a single state comprising Jews and Arabs. “The PFLP has never recognized the Oslo Accords” concluded between the PLO and the Jewish state to initiate a peace process, specifies David Rigoulet-Roze.

Responsible for several attacks and hijackings since its creation, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine is today considered terrorist by the United States and the European Union. The most famous of these unfortunate episodes was that of 1976 when a Tel Aviv-Paris Air France flight was hijacked by members of the PFLP and the Revolutionary Cells, close to the “Baader gang”. Nearly 240 people were then held hostage in Uganda. The Israeli armed forces led a raid to free them during which Benjamin Netanyahu's brother, Yonatan Netanyahu, a special forces commander, was killed. At the same time in Europe, several far-left terrorist groups responsible for several attacks in Germany do not hide their support for the PFLP in the name of the anti-imperialist struggle.

Then, from the 2000s, attacks increased in Israel, notably from the armed wing, the Red Eagle Brigades or Abu Ali Moustapha brigades, responsible for several suicide attacks in several cities in the country. “Since the collapse of the USSR, they have looked for other support, first in Syria, then in Iran,” the researcher also explains. In 2006, when Hamas came to power in the Palestinian territories, the PFLP obtained three seats in Parliament and therefore remained in the minority. “They gradually joined the Islamist movements and undoubtedly participated with Hamas in the attack of October 7, but this can only be marginally.”

The researcher also points out that the movement's secretary general, Ahmad Saadat, is still imprisoned in Israeli jails, sentenced in 2008 to 30 years in prison. And he did not benefit from the historic exchange of 1,000 Palestinian prisoners for Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit. If the PFLP does hold little Kfir, does it intend to use him to demand the release of Ahmad Saadat?

Although in the minority, PFLP supporters in any case expect a lot from these releases. “We are the people of Mohammed Deif!”, the elusive leader of Hamas' military wing, shouted the crowd in Ramallah welcoming the Palestinian hostages on Tuesday. Many Hamas supporters were present but PFLP red flags could also be seen during this rally. The Marxist movement today mixes with Palestinian Islamist movements in the name of the fight against the State of Israel.

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