The EU Shouldn’t Renege on Its Designation of the PFLP as a Terrorist Group

June 20, 2019 | Jan Kapusnak
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During the 1960s and 70s, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) made a name for itself with airplane hijackings and other acts of terror; its members also carried out suicide bombings and other forms of murder during and after the second intifada. But only in 2002 did the European Union designate the PFLP as a terrorist organization, and it now faces pressure from both Palestinian groups and far-left EU parliamentarians—who share the PFLP’s Marxist-Leninist ideology—to remove it from the list, or at the very least to restrict the terrorist designation to the group’s so-called military wing. Jan Kapusnak comments:

A standard ploy used by terrorist groups to disguise their true nature is to cast themselves as comprising distinct “military” and “political” wings—the former engaged in “legitimate acts of resistance,” the latter in promoting purely political goals. Falling for this ploy, in 2013 the EU designated Hizballah’s “military wing” as a terrorist organization while sustaining a working relationship with its “political wing.” . . . Similarly, a recent report by [the compulsively anti-Israel] Human Rights Watch described the PFLP as a political party with “an armed wing that attacked Israeli civilians.” . . .

In reality, the PFLP’s two wings—the Political Bureau and the Abu Ali Mustafa Brigades—are interdependent parts with only one leadership. . . . And while the group has persistently sought to reinforce the illusion of two distinct wings by carrying out terror attacks under the Brigades banner, its political leadership has regularly supported indiscriminate violence against Israeli civilians.

Thus, Deputy Secretary-General Abu Ahmad Fouad stated that “the occupation and racist settler colony [i.e., Israel] perched on our land cannot be defeated without a long-term people’s liberation war, in which armed struggle is in the forefront.” He added that “attempting to negate revolutionary violence as a leading method of struggle against the occupier only perpetuates the existence of the occupation.”

[In] September 2017 Leila Khaled [the group’s best-known member and the first woman to hijack an airplane] was invited to speak at a European Parliament conference in Brussels, organized by the Spanish delegation of far-left Izquierda Unida as part of the European United Left/Nordic Green Left bloc in the parliament [along with various EU-funded pro-Palestinian groups, including] the boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) movement. Lambasting the EU for considering the PFLP a terrorist group, Khaled asked the audience to pressure their respective governments to end this practice since “there cannot be peace while there is even one Zionist on the Palestinian territory.”

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