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New Left Review I/67, May-June 1971

Ghassan Kannafani

On the pflp and the September Crisis

The Popular Front is best known in the non-Arab world for its hijackings in September 1970. A lot of criticisms of the hijackings have been made. Some of these are bourgeois criticisms. But there are two others which I would like to pose here. The first criticism has been made both by people within the Palestinian resistance, such as the Central Committee spokesman Kamel Radouan, and by people outside: it is that the hijackings gave Hussein an excuse to attack the resistance at a time when he would not otherwise have done so. The second criticism is made mainly by people outside the resistance movement. This is that the hijackings gave an illusory sense of power and confidence to the Palestinian masses, which was far in advance of their real organizational and military strength. The hijackings were thereby a substitute for organizing the masses, and were a theatrical event that encouraged fantasy. This is not to deny that the hijackings had the positive effect, of giving you a world audience on television, to whom you could explain the purpose of the Palestinian resistance. This point is not in question. But do you now defend the highjackings?

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Ghassan Kannafani, ‘On the PFLP and the September Crisis’, NLR I/67: £3

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