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Political Parties (Palestine)

Last modified: 2006-02-18 by santiago dotor
Keywords: palestine | politics | fatah | palestine liberation movement | harakat tahrir filistin |
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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

The problem with Palestinian organizations is that there are quite a lot of them, sometimes with more than one name, and sometimes there is no real distinction or ad-hoc unifications. The lack of a real central government and the distinction between the area of the Palestinian Authority, brought to a situation that sometimes local branches handles an independent policy, making the movements a kind of a loose federation.

The use of the flag of one movement (eg. Hamas) in the funeral for a member of other movement (eg. Islamic Jihad) therefore not surprising.

Today, a local Israeli newspaper tried to find some logic in the mess and had a list of the active organizations in Palestine. These were:

"Establishment Organizations"
  1. Palestinian Police
  2. Force 17 (president Arafat's personal bodyguard)
  3. Fatah (or Shuada el-Aqsa Brigades)
  4. Tanzim (youth organization)
  5. Thwarting Intelligence System
"Non-Establishment Organizations"
  1. Hamas (or Iz a-Din el-Qasam Brigades)
  2. Islamic Jihad
  3. Democratic Front
  4. Popular Front
I am not sure this list is either correct or complete.

Anonymous, 26 December 2001

Most of the "Establishment" groups, especially b, c, and d, are part of Fatah, Arafat's faction (the dominant one) of the PLO. Of course, he controls the other two as well. The PLO consisted of numerous other groups, and there were other Palestinian groups that were not members, but outside of the Democratic and Popular Fronts (which also has a "General Command," a separate group), I am not sure any of them (or even some of these last) are still active.

One occasionally hears of Hezbollah, active in Lebanon (along with Amal), as having a presence in Israel. Doubtful, however.

Also to be noted are Israeli Arab movements, including five political parties that sit in the Israeli Knesset, plus the Israeli Islamic Movement.

Nathan Lamm, 26 December 2001


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

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

The leftmost flag in this September 2001 photo of a Palestinian group in Lebanon appears to be the same flag as in Jorge Candeias's scan.

Nathan Lamm, 12 September 2001