George Habash: The Future of the Palestinian National Movement (Interview)
Dr. George Habash, the General Secretary of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, was interviewed by the Journal in Damascus on May 14, 1985. The interview is one in a series of JPS interviews with leading figures in the Palestinian national movement.
JPS: Following its departure from Beirut in 1982, the PLO split into two currents: one is described by observers as moderate, is led by Yasir Arafat and seeks a political settlement in coordination with Jordan and Syria; the other is described as radical, enjoys Syrian support and seeks to revive the policy of armed resistance. Do you agree with this analysis? How do you assess the potential of both currents given prevailing Palestinian, Arab and international conditions?
Habash: Before answering, I would like to point out an important issue overlooked by the question; namely, that these two major currents on the Palestinian scene do not date from the period following the departure from Beirut in 1982 but, rather, have been in existence for many years. This division, or distinction, is as old as the Palestinian revolution. Since the earliest days of post-1948 Palestinian national action, there has been a conflict between the movement's two main wings: the rightist wing, representing national bourgeois policy in the revolution, and the leftist wing, representing the policy of the working and popular classes. The distinction may be observed at most, if not all, the major milestones in the history of the revolution and the PLO.