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Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (Palestine)

al-Jabha al-Sha'abiya li-Tahrir Filastin, PFLP

Last modified: 2006-02-18 by santiago dotor
Keywords: palestine | popular front for the liberation of palestine | al-jabha al-sha'abiya li-tahrir filastin | pflp | arrow | star: fimbriated (red) | map: palestine |
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[Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine]
by Jorge Candeias | 2:3

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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

The splintering happened in two stages. First the PFLP-DFLP split —and to my knowledge the DFLP has never been known as the PDFLP— then the PFLP-PFLP(GC) split.

The PFLP was one of a number of parties under the PLO umbrella from the 1960s until Yasser Arafat signed the Oslo accords in 1993. At this point they left the PLO as they were opposed to the substance of the accords and formed a new umbrella group, the Alliance of Palestinian Forces (APF) to contest the Oslo principles. Although they and the DFLP, who splintered from the PFLP in the late 1960s, left the APF in 1996, they are still opposed to Oslo. The PLO is of course now moribund, having been superseded by the Palestinian Authority.

The PFLP is still involved in military and terrorist activities and indeed has been at the forefront of such activities in recent years. You see the red flag now a lot more than you did in the heyday of the Israeli occupation.

Maher Mughrabi, 11 September 2002


A photo in a newspaper article on the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (...) showed 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 symbolism other than the obvious one.

Jorge Candeias, 15 July 1998

The emblem represents the return of the Palestinian people, most of which have moved to the East, where the arrow is pointing from.

Al Bitar, 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

A large photograph (scan here) accompanying an article in Spanish newspaper El País of 28th August 2001, p. 2, about the killing of PFLP leader Abu Ali Mustapha, shows two (apparently identical) PFLP flags, one draped from a roof and the other being flown from a window. Both appear to be squarish rather than rectangular, and show the PFLP emblem in the middle, similar to that on the above images but with a much thicker outside circle and a disc instead of a star (right beneath the arrow). Unlike our GIF, however, there are the letters 'P.F.L.P.' beneath the emblem and the PFLP's name in Arab over it. They both look identical and not homemade, so I guess this is quite an 'official' version of the flag. Please note that both are intended for sinister hoist use.

Santiago Dotor, 6 September 2001

The arrow and dot, as you put it, are stylised so that the tail of the arrow in its right-to-left stroke (with the dot beneath) represents the Arabic letter jeem, the first letter of the word jabha, meaning 'front'.

The attribution to Ghassan Kanafani is highly credible, although I do not know for sure. Kanafani was certainly a member and spokesman of the PFLP until his assassination in 1972.

Maher Mughrabi, 11 September 2002

Vertical Flag

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