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Political Parties (Palestine)

Last modified: 2002-11-16 by santiago dotor
Keywords: palestine | politics | popular front for the liberation of palestine | pflp | democratic front for the liberation of palestine | dflp | hamas | islamic jihad | jihad | arrow | star: fimbriated (red) | flag | map | wreath | text: |
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Logos of the PLO, Fatah (the largest PLO group, almost synonimous with it), the PFLP, PFLP-GC, and DFLP appear at the Information Regarding Israel's Security (IRIS) website. I know the PFLP's symbol appears as white on a red flag.

Nathan Lamm, 26 August 2001

Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine

Popular Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PDFLP) Hawatmeh

[Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (photograph)] [Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (photograph)]
from Yahoo! News Photos from Yediot Akhronot

I guess the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine is another (new/alternative?) name for PDFLP.

Ole Andersen, 18 October 2000

Israeli newspaper Yediot Akhronot of 19 August 2001 shows this flag hoisted during a palestinian demonstration in Gaza. Palestinians have so many groups and subgroups that it is almost impossible to keep track of their flags. However, the inscription drove me to the calculated guess that this is the flag of the DPLO (Democratic PLO), a communist-orientated 'refusal' (i.e. opposed to the Israel-Palestinian Oslo Agreements) organization, in the "old" days quite active in terrorists attacks. Today it has lost ground to other extremist organizations.

Anonymous, 25 August 2001

I cannot make out an inscription on the flag —perhaps your image is clearer— but the symbol (minus the 'rainbow' on top) is that of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP) — a communist organization, as the symbol indicates, which may have been part of the PLO umbrella but now is opposed to any peace talks. I am not sure if the 'rainbow' indicates that it is a separate organization, or just an added design element for the flag (red, of course, requiring a white border for the star). The 'rainbow' is black-white-green (metal separating colors), the remaining Pan-Arab (and Palestinian) colors, along with red, already present.

Nathan Lamm, 26 August 2001

From the International Policy Institute for Counter-Terrorism website:

The DFLP (a.k.a. Popular Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PDFLP) Hawatme) is a Marxist-Leninist and formerly pro-Soviet group that split from the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) in 1969. (...) At the Spring 1977 Palestine National Council meeting, the DFLP gave full support to the Palestine national program, seeking the creation of a Palestinian state in any territory liberated from Israel.

Santiago Dotor, 10 April 2002


Palestine Liberation Movement / Harakat Tahrir Filistin

Fatah or the Palestine Liberation Movement (the name is derived from the initials of the Arabic name, Harakat Tahrir Filistin, in reverse) was founded by Arafat and a handful of close comrades in the late 1950s. They wanted to rally Palestinians in the diaspora to launch commando raids on the young Israeli state. The group came out into the open in 1965; under Arafat's effective leadership it became the strongest and best-organised of the Palestinian factions and it has remained so ever since.

Fatah has had its own militias in the past, the Fatah Hawks. Arafat loyalists, the Fatah Hawks were key players in the first Palestinian intifada which broke out in 1987. The Fatah Hawks were dissolved, but in 1995 the Fatah leadership instituted its own militia, the Tanzim.

The word Tanzim is Arabic for organisation. The Tanzim can be considered a 'reincarnation' of the Fatah Hawks. The Tanzim is only partially controled by Arafat now.

Sources: BBC and CNN.

Santiago Tazón, 24 July 2001


Islamic Resistance Movement / Harakat al-Muqawamah al-Islamiyya

The Hamas (or Islamic Jihad i.e. the Islamic holy war) is a Palestinian group. Most of the Palestinians belong to the Islamic Suna. The Hezballa (i.e. Party of God) is Lebanese and Islamic Shia'a.

Anonymous, 22 September 1998

Hamas, the main Islamist movement in the Palestinian territories, was born soon after the first Palestinian intifada erupted in 1987. Hamas does not recognise the right of Israel to exist, nor does it recognize the Palestinian Authority. Its long-term aim is to establish an Islamic state on the land originally known as Palestine. Hamas has built schools and hospitals in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. The military wing of Hamas is known as the Izzedine al-Qassam Brigades. The leader of Hamas is a 64-year-old quadriplegic, Sheikh Ahmad Yassin. Hamas were allowed to operate in Jordan in the past, but their headquaters were closed by the current King of Jordan, and they moved to Qatar. Sources: BBC and CNN.

Santiago Tazón, 24 July 2001

From the International Policy Institute for Counter-Terrorism website:

The Hamas (a word meaning courage and bravery) is a radical Islamic organization which became active in the early stages of the Intifada, operating primarily in the Gaza Strip but also in the West Bank. (...) In its initial period, the movement was headed primarily by people identified with the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) in the Territories. In the course of the Intifada, Hamas gained momentum, expanding its activity also in the West Bank, to become the dominant Islamic fundamentalist organization in the Territories. It defined its highest priority as Jihad (Holy War) for the liberation of Palestine and the establishment of an Islamic Palestine "from the Mediterranean Sea to the Jordan River". (...) As a result of its subversive and terrorist activity, Hamas was outlawed in September 1989. (...) Today it is the second most powerful group, after Fatah, and is sometimes viewed as threatening the hegemony of the secular nationalists. (...)

Hamas is the Arabic acronym for "The Islamic Resistance Movement" (Harakat al-Muqawamah al-Islamiyya). The organizational and ideological sources of Hamas can be found in the movement of the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) which was set up in the 1920s in Egypt and renewed and strengthened its activity in the 1960s and 1970s in the Arab world, mainly in Jordan and Egypt. The Muslim Brothers were also active in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. The cornerstone of the Muslim Brotherhood is the system of essentially social activity which they call Da'wah. In the twenty years preceding the Intifada, they built an impressive social, religious, educational and cultural infrastructure, which gave them a political stronghold, both in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. It was successful despite their lack of support for the nationalist policy of armed struggle.

The Hamas movement was legally registered in Israel in 1978 by Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, the movement's spiritual leader, as an Islamic Association by the name Al-Mujamma Al Islami, which widened its base of supporters and sympathizers by religious propaganda and social work. A great part of the success of Hamas/Muslim Brotherhood is due to their influence in the Gaza Strip. (...) Another factor, which served the popularity of the Islamic phenomena, was that the Palestinian nationalist movement and the PLO moved the center of their political power away from Palestine, by consolidating an external leadership at the expense of the internal one in the Territories. In contrast, the Islamic camp and its leadership developed entirely within Palestine (al-dakhil) and could thus better serve the interests of the Palestinians. (...) Hamas' prestige is based on both its ideological and practical capabilities, as a movement whose contribution to the daily life of the Palestinians is not less than its contribution to the struggle against Israel and the occupation.

The significant change in the Muslim Brotherhood movement was the transition from passivity towards the Israeli rule to militancy and large-scale violent activity, especially in and from the Gaza Strip. The movement changed its name to the Islamic Resistance Movement - Hamas, and emphasized its Palestinian character and patriotism. It professed to be not just a parallel force but an alternative to the almost absolute control of the PLO and its factions over the Palestinians in the Territories. In August 1988 Hamas published the Islamic Covenant - its ideological credo, which presented its policy on all levels of the struggle, both against Israel and the national movement of the PLO. The Hamas Covenant challenged the PLO and its claim to be the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people, but it did not call for its elimination. (...)

The military apparatus was called Mujahidin [holy fighters]. At first, the leadership did not strive to large numbers of activists in the organization. The aim of the founders was to set up instruments of activity that will rely on a small number of central activists. But a new generation of street leaders emerged out of the complex structural system built by the MB over the years. This generation, obedient and full of religious fervor has become the spearhead of the Islamic struggle. (...)

There is a Hamas emblem here.

Santiago Dotor, 10 April 2002

Palestinian Flag with Shahada

[Palestinian Flag with Shahada (Palestine) obverse, sinister hoist]
by Santiago Dotor and António Martins | 1:2

A photo from the Israeli newspaper Yedi'ot Aharonot of 11 July 1999, which was taken the day before at a demonstration in Ramallah (Palestine Autonomy), shows a Palestinian flag with a Shahada on the white stripe. Other flags that are shown in the photo are regular Palestinian flags. It is possible, that this flag is a home made variant.

Anonymous, 11 July 1999

[Palestinian Flag with Shahada (photograph)]
from the Yedi'ot Aharonot newspaper

Today at an anti-Israeli protest on my university campus I saw a Palestinian flag defaced by some Arabic writing in green on the white center stripe. As I don't read Arabic and was on the other side of the protest, I don't know what it said.

Theodore Leverett, 10 October 2000

It was the Shahada... probably home made as the one in the photograph.

Anonymous, 10 October 2000

It may have been, but the letters looked different to me.

Theodore Leverett, 10 October 2000

We have a report and an image in FOTW about a Palestinian flag with Shahada which does not quite match the variant most frequently seen on television. I have made a GIF combining the existing image of the Palestinian flag and the Shahada as it appears in the Saudi Arabian flag. Of course all of these are unofficial and I guess most are home-made, so none is the correct one. But still this is the one I see most frequently.

Santiago Dotor, 5 June 2001

Palestinian Islamic Jihad

I saw a television report about the training camps of the Islamic Jihad for junior members. In the report the members show black flags with some golden Arabic writing (I am not sure if it was the Shahada).

The Palestinian Islamic Jihad was originated in the Gaza Strip during the 1970s. The first leader Fathi Shaqaqi was murdered in Malta in October 1995. Normally take Israeli soldiers as targets. The group operates primarily in Israel, but has also carried out attacks in Jordan and Lebanon. The faction has a small support base. Unlike the far bigger Hamas, which runs schools and hospitals, Islamic Jihad has no real social or political role. The group is based in the Syrian capital, Damascus, and its financial backing is believed to come from there and Iran. Islamic Jihad is committed to the creation of an Islamic Palestinian state and the destruction of Israel through holy war. It also opposes pro-Western Arab governments. Sources: BBC and CNN.

Santiago Tazón, 24 July 2001

Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine

[Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine]
by Jorge Candeias | 2:3

[Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, vertical] 3:2
by Jorge Candeias

I have a photo from a newspaper some years ago that shows hanging from a wall a flag I've seen nowhere else. The article was on the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, a palestinian group I know very little about (I don't even know if it is still a terrorist group or if it is engaged in the peace process... or even if it still exists). The flag is hanged vertically semi-folded for space reasons, and seems to have proportions close to 2:3. It's a red flag with the PFLP symbol in the centre: a white circular device representing a stylized map of Israel and what looks like an arrow pointing to it with a dot below the arrow. I suppose this arrow-and-dot thing may have some arabic sybolism other than the obvious one. I made GIFs of both the vertical version of the flag pictured in the photo and of its eventual horizontal variation.

Jorge Candeias, 15 July 1998

I checked my info about Palestine People's Liberation Front. The flag that I know is also red with larger emblem (circular arabic inscription and within the white map of Palestine and two crossed riffles; below a ribbon with inscription). The flag of the Palestine Liberation Front has an emblem similar to the one that Jorge Candeias posted. The emblem is white with red border in all the sides. The emblem is red (in the center) and has the map of Palestine, a soldier with one arm directed by the map; at right of the soldier (right of the observer) is a stilized half moon, and above the soldier is a fivepointed star. The flag posted by Jorge Candeias seems a mixture of both. Perhaps in the last years the two organizations are merged?

Jaume Ollé, 24 July 1998

The emblem on the flag of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine does not represent anything in Arabic, it merely represents the return of the Palestinian people, most of which have moved to the East (where the arrow is pointing from).

Al Bitar (Palestinian Embassy at Bucharest), 13 February 1999

The arrow is a combination of the first Arabic letter of the word Front and the symbol of the return to the homeland. I believe, but I am not sure, that the designer was the palestinian writer-artist Ghassan Kanafani.

Gunnar Nordin, 16 October 2000

In Anders Jerichow's PLO — partisaner eller terrorister, Samlerens Forlag, Copenhagen, 1978, page 36, is an illustration of PFLP's symbol, "Pilen, som trænger ind i Vestbredden og Israel, er det første skrifttegn i PFLPs navn og betyder "Fronten" (al djabha) (Kilde: PFLPs Manifest, se note 7)." In English, "The arrow, penetrating the West Bank and Israel, is the first letter in PFLP's name, meaning "The Front" (al-jabha) (source: PFLP's Manifesto, see note 7)." Note 7 is PFLP's Manifesto, Strategi för Palestinas Befrielse, Komministiska [sic] Arbetsgruppen, Sverige 1971.

Ole Andersen, 16 October 2000

According to Anders Jerichow's PLO — partisaner eller terrorister, Samlerens Forlag, Copenhagen, 1978, the Palestinian People's Liberation Front was splintered in three in 1969:

Ole Andersen, 18 October 2000

Unidentified Political Flags

This scan is a fragment of a photo portraying a group of young intifadians ducking from Israeli bullets in Ramallah. The fragment has been rotated for clarity, but there's nothing I can do about the foreground stuff that obscures the fly area of the flag.

Jorge Candeias, 2 April 2001

In a recent television report showing the funeral of a victim of Israeli violence, the relatives and friends began running from Israeli bullets crying Allahu Akbar, and in that run the camera focused for a while one of them who was flying a white flag charged with a triangle made with three unconnected trapezoids in the palestinian colours (black, green and red) enclosing a firearm, probably a Kalashnikov, in black. There was some Arabic writing around the symbol.

Jorge Candeias, 25 April 2001

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