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Palestinian Liberation Front (Palestine)

Jabhat al-Tahrir al-Filistiniyyah

Last modified: 2024-02-10 by ian macdonald
Keywords: palestine | palestinian liberation front |
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[Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (photograph)] image by Eugene Ipavec, 14 September 2005

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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, 02 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

The emblem on the UFE in the "political flags" section is similar to that of the PFLP-General Command, whose symbol can be seen at this link. It's not quite exact – the writing is below, there is one gun and an arc to the side of the map, and, most notably, a red star (as the DFLP) above, but they look similar. Then again, rifles and the colors are common elements among these groups.Nathan Lamm, 03 Jun 2004

FOTW shows two unidentified Palestinian political flags here and here (located by Jorge Candeias and Nathan Lamm). The flags shown belong to the Palestinian Liberation Front (PLF). I came to this conclusion after looking at the AGS Consulting website, where there is an image of the emblems of the seven major armed groups against Israel. The UFE images are identical to those listed as belonging to the PLF (in the third row, second from left). Here's a brief description of the group:

Palestinian Liberation Front Is a militant PLO faction that split from the PFLP and later from the PFLP-GC (1977) to follow a pro-Iraqi stance. It is led by Palestinian Central Council member Mohammed Zeidan (Abu Abbas), but its position toward the PLO leadership and Chairman Arafat is uncertain. The PLF was responsible for the hijacking of the Achille Lauro in 1985.
Source: website of the Palestinian National Authority

In greater detail:

The Palestine Liberation Front (PLF) was first established in 1959 by Ahmad Jibril, but by 1968 had been absorbed into Jibril's Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine â" General Command (PFLP-GC), after his group split from the main PFLP faction. The PLF became a separate entity again, remaining focused on the destruction of Israel, in 1977, when Muhammad Zaidan (Abu Abbas) broke from the PFLP-GC. The group split again in 1983 into pro-PLO and pro-Syrian factions, with the pro-Syrian bloc undergoing another split in 1984, which resulted in one faction moving to Libya. All factions retained the name Palestine Liberation Front and claimed to act for the group as a whole. The majority of the PLF's attacks against Israel were carried out from Southern Lebanon.
Abbas's Tunisia-based pro-PLO faction became the most well-known in 1985 with the hijacking of the Italian cruise ship Achille Lauro. During the hijacking, PLF terrorists murdered and dumped overboard the elderly Jewish American citizen Leon Klinghoffer. Four PLF members were imprisoned in Italy and Abbas, who was not aboard the ship, was sentenced to life imprisonment in absentia, although he was briefly held and then released by Italian authorities. Following the Achille Lauro affair, Abbas's PLF faction was expelled from Tunisia and took up residence in Iraq.
Current Goals: The PLF continued to carry out attacks against Israelis through the 80's and 90's, often employing unique techniques such as hand gliders, and even claimed a naval unit. Abbas and the PLF did, however, support the signing of the 1993 Oslo accords, and officially renounced terrorism against Israel. Abbas was permitted to move back to Gaza in 1996 under an Oslo-related Amnesty program. PLF involvement in terrorism was still suspected after 1993 due to the group's distribution of Iraqi funds to Palestinian suicide bombers.
Abbas, who had moved back to Baghdad in 2000, also denounced the 9-11 attacks on the US, claiming that the Palestinian struggle is separate from al-Qaeda's holy war. He was captured by US Special Forces in April, 2003, and died in US custody in March, 2004, from natural causes.
Source: TKB

Esteban Rivera, 14 September 2005

The Palestinian Liberation Front (PLF) or, in Arabic, Jabha al-Tahrir al-Filastini, is a very small, left-wing radical organization with little importance today. It formally held a PLO membership, but was splintered into competing factions for much of its existence, with some opposing the PLO and some not. It is most famous in the West for the Achille Lauro hijacking, which brought widespread condemnation of the PLO. Today it has very few supporters left, virtually no political activity, and upholds no military activity at all.
The symbol depicts the land of Palestine (mandate, i.e. including Israel), plus the barrel of a Kalashnikov automatic rifle, and a red star. The Arabic script below is the name of the organization. The scan has the emblem in reverse, with both the map of Palestine and the text inverted, while the photo of sympathizers in Lebanon shows it correctly. Here you can see the symbol inserted on a Palestinian flag, but I doubt that has any separate significance.
This page shows an alternate flag, which seems to be based on the original PLF symbol, but the drawing is also suspiciously clumsy. It is listed as the flag of the Abu al-Abbas group, which was one of the main competing PLF factions, and the one responsible for the Achille Lauro kidnapping. I don't know if it was officially used as a PLF flag by this faction or not, and I've never seen it anywhere else. (Abu al-Abbas himself died in Iraq after being captured there by US forces in 2003.)
Aron L., 29 January 2006

[Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (photograph)] image located by William Garrison, 9 January 2024