Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine

Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine

A Profile

1) The Foundation

The D.F.L.P was founded on 22/2/1969, as a leftist independent organization, and one of the major Palestinian resistance movement factions, during the period encompassing one of the major defeats of the Arab National Movement, the June war, 1967. In this period, the depth of the crisis within the national movement in general, and in the Jordanian-Palestinian arena in particular, reached to programmic extent, as well as its leadership formation simultaneously: socially, ideologically and politically. Awareness of the massive proportions of the crisis, and the dilemma which it produced, formed the basis for the gathering of large sectors of militants from various parties. This resulted in a political consensus to turn leftward, and to adopt a national program of a democratic and revolutionary nature, under a new social and ideological banner.

These sectors had, at the time, limited options. Neither Fateh, with its national stance and its historical initiative to offset armed struggle, representing the national bourgisie, nor the formal Leftist Communist Party, who suffered throughout its historical process, due to difficulties conceiving the particularities of Palestinian national question, possessed the ability for political initiative, and failed to grasp the specific historical moment. Both were unable to conceive the correct position of armed struggle in the resurrection of the Palestinian entity, or the renaissance of the national Palestinian movement after June war 1967.

Due to these interwoven factors, the formulation of a revolutionary party representing both a new kind of Palestinian national identity and encompassing an Arab affiliation, was anticipated. This party would involve itself in the national armed resistance movement, while presenting a democratic, radical solution to the Palestinian question, adopting the labor class ideology, struggling to confirm its vanguard in the National Palestinian Revolution, and the Arab National Liberation Movement. This ambition was the motivation and incentive for the birth of the D.F.L.P., which was inextricably linked to the changes, undergone by the Arab National Movement, in all its branches, in the beginning of the 1960's, and the ideological political conflict borne out amongst all its branches (specially after June, 1967). This eventually culminated in its coordinated branches, establishing their independent party frameworks in their own countries, including the Palestinian branch, which had been striving since December 11,1

At of its foundation, the D.F.L.P. introduced itself as a united leftist front, calling in earlier times, for the establishment of a Democratic revolutionary alliance. On this basis, the leftist and democratic sectors of different persuasions, which did not previously belong to a specific organization, were gathered under one umbrella. The D.F.L.P also attracted groups, which were scattered throughout the various classes of both the national democratic movement and the youth movement. Within this framework, two leftist organizations joined after just two months of its foundation: "The Leftist Revolutionist Palestinian league" and "The Popular Organization for the Liberation of Palestine." Later, in 1972, sectors of the revolutionary Popular Front joined as well.

Since the foundation of the D.F.L.P, Nayef Hawatemeh has held the position of Secretary General. But other leaders coming from different organizational military backgrounds have also played a role in the establishment of the Front, since its early days. The Front continues to work under the title, "The Democratic Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine", until 1975 when it adopted officially "The Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine for the Liberation of Palestine".

Early on, certain axes on political, ideological contents, and military practice levels emerged and became enriched due to the national process taking place. Those which carry most importance and are thus worth mentioning include: the concept of stages of the national palestinian question as a national liberation movement, which is emphatically specific. The position which occupies the national unity affair, and the relationship between its political line and the organizational instruments, which propel it toward its specified political targets, on a basis of ensuring the mobilization and ingathering of forces, strengthening their national unity, and the alliance emanating from it.

2) The Interim programme.

The defeat suffered by the Palestinian Resistance Movement in 1970, and the incipient following, which led to the elimination of its unhindered existence in Jordan, motivated within the ranks of the D.F.L.P. a complete, open and critical review of its policy and the general resistance policy in Jordan. It faced the deep and complicated realities of the Palestinian-Jordanian relationship, in particular the regional divisionism in the Jordanian society, its roots found within the unique position Jordan occupies on the map of imperialist interests in the region, and the role it plays, through its confiscation of the Palestinian peoples' right to self-determination, and in the independent expression of their national identity.

This critical review marked the beginning of the stage of the formation of the programme, which embraced the "right of return, right of self-determination, and the establishment of an independent Palestinian State on the palestinian territories occupied in 1967, with Jerusalem as its capital." That is the interim programme, which represented in reality, the reformulation of palestinian political thinking, which at that time had concentrated around the two-fold contradiction between "resistance" and "settlement", between "armed struggle" and "political solutions."

Although it came as a general sign in this context, the call of the D.F.L.P. for the Palestine National Council, in its ninth session (July 1971) to set up a safe, liberated supportive base, in the occupied territories, was intended to maintain the continuity of the Palestinian revolution, until it achieving its goals. The work of the first general national conference of the Front (Nov 1971), deepened discussions around the subject. The Fourth meeting of the Central Committee (August 1973) formulated the elements of the interim programme, and confirmed it officially, through a document entitled "Ten subjects about the general line of the interim programme in the occupied lands and Jordan." It should also be noted, that this programme presented, for the first time, the idea of the popular uprising, regarding it as the most distinguished form of popular war, permitted by the special conditions of the palestinian struggle.

These subjects, became instantaneous and tangible, in the declaration, issued by the meeting of the extended Central Committee in October 1973, immediately after the October War, which led to partial improvements in the Arab side's balance of forces with Israel. The same resulted in the call, issued by the Front in the occupied territories (November 1973). In its twelfth session (June 1974), the Palestine National Council confirmed the interim programme, under the title: "The Programme of Ten Points," which after the fourteenth session (January 1979) became a programme for Palestinian national consensus, for a decade and a half, until the signing of the Oslo Agreement (September 13 1993).

3) National Unity

Since its inception, the D.F.L.P. has been cautious to remain one of the main pillars in the first national alliance, which unified guerilla activities under the banner and leadership of " the armed struggle ", and in the membership of the PLO National Council and its Executive Committee (established in September 1969). Moreover, in this session the D.F.L.P presented "a plan to achieve the unity of Palestinian national forces and groups, in the unified national liberation front". Also, the difficult circumstances which resulted from September 1970 events, led the D.F.L.P. to realize, the necessity of promoting the components of the national palestinian movement built upon a more organizational and consolidatory level, based upon proportional representation. This formula was developed, within a project, presented by the D.F.L.P. at the ninth session of the Palestine National Council (July 1971) which strove to build a "unified national liberating front", and a complete political and organizational project.

The D.F.L.P. experience in its ideological, political, and organizational independence, and in the maintenance of national unity simultaneously, affirms the vital relationship of the Palestinian Left Front inside the Palestinian National Movement. Thus, this Left did not become independent in order to be isolated, but to incorporate itself in the national unity, as a true revolutionary component and to take part within the framework of this unity, as a militant vanguard adhering to the correct political stance. Through it, the national slogan and the stage missions, responding to the unanimous interests of the whole Palestinian people are defined. National unity central importance, in the thinking and practices of the D.F.L.P. was steady clear: during the first years of open struggle in Jordan (1970), throughout the revolutionary experience in the camps of Lebanon and Syria until the Israeli invasion 1982. Also in the period of severe divisions, which assailed the palestinian political arena, as a result of the Israeli war, the regional conflicts, and the attempts of the dominating leadership to deal with settlement proposals like the Reagan Plan (September 1982).

The D.F.L.P. adopted a decisive position against the Palestinian split throughout the years 1983-1987,playing an initiative role in the democratic alliance, which signed with leaders of Fateh's Central Committee the agreement of Yemen (Aden)-Algeria, 28/6/84 and 9/7/84. Although this agreement did not succeed in the reunification and prevention of the dominatng official wing of the PLO to unilaterally call for the seventeenth session, of the Palestinian National Council in Amman on November 7,1984, it set up a base from which to regain unity later, within the framework of the unifying council in Algeria (the eighteenth session, April, 1987). The D.F.L.P. objected to the political results of the Amman Council and the emanating organizational structures, and firmly opposed attempts to refute its legality, fearing and attempting to preclude the dangers of a deep and irreversible schism within the P.L.O. The Oslo Agreement, which broke down the political alliance framework of the P.L.O. was the second trial that the national unity faced.

The D.F.L.P presented a number of initiatives in their tangible political contexts, steadily continuing its unifying policy. Most of them concentrated on the total national discussion to regain national consensus around instantaneous and permanent status negotiations (2/97,5/97, 5/98, 4/99, 2/2000). These initiatives took into consideration the fact that a major aspect of the Palestinian National Movement is that it still stands to confront the national liberation tasks despite its interweaving, after the implementation of the Oslo agreements, with the mission of democratic, political, and social struggle.

4) The connection between the political line and the organizational line.

D.F.L.P. crystallized an organizational work strategy in connection with its political strategy. The interim programme ensures the basis to gather and mobilize the capacities of the palestinian people. In this context, and in addition to its distinct political initiatives which, influenced the national movement, the D.F.L.P. participated in many other distinct militant actions. The intimate relationship between the political line in every national situation and organizational initiative, ensure to the highest degree national alliance among the various political and social forces, which allows them to efficiently undertake the immediate tasks.

This is a consistent feature in the D. F. L. P.'s general policy, expressing deep understanding of realities, public opinion and the people's movement. The military operations which the D.F.L.P. waged (1974-1979) under the banner of the interim programme, introduced clear examples of the correct relationship, between militant practice and political targets. This, in a period when it was necessary to unify the people and their political forces behind a programme, in order to confront the unjust campaigns to which its vanguards and militants were exposed. Simultaneously, the organization did not lose sight of the main direction of the struggle and the need for direct military combat with Israel, during the civil war in Lebanon and the various confrontations within the region, resulting from the American settlement project.

The D.F.L.P's call for the formulation of a unified leadership for the popular uprising in the first weeks after its outbreak on December 9,1987, and its initiative to formulate the aims and the missions of the uprising in call No.2 (January 10, 1988), is evidence of the D.F.L.P's ability to read public opinion and influence its developing line, permitting the investment of mass energies and abilities, to accelerate the national struggle.

5) Exceeding the Oslo Agreements impasse

The Oslo Agreements, which considered the occupied palestinian territories to be "disputable territories," led to partial redeployment of the israeli occupation army in these territories, and to the formation of an autonomous palestinian authority which relied upon a legislative institution, with limited authorities (The Palestinian Council), and an executive institution (ministries and other institutions) of interior security and civil prerogatives, on a part of the occupied palestinian territories. In addition, it allowed the continuation of settlement activity, expansion, and a continuation of the illegal israeli occupation, its 'civil' administration under Israeli military rule and complete Israeli control over much of palestinian land and water, regional air space, and complete domination over the Palestinian economy. Oslo agreements consist of two stages, transitional and permanent.

The first stage losing international legitimate resolutions reference, compelled the Palestinian situation in a very tedious negotiating direction, a chain of partial agreements consisting of requirements which Israel did not bind itself to, did not fulfill its promises to and did not honor all its commitments to the Palestinian side. As a result, the application of Oslo agreements led to the continuation of the occupation, settlement building and expansion, and the further suppression and confiscation of palestinian national rights. They did not offer an adequate solution to the objective contradiction of interests, between the palestinian people and the Israeli occupation. On the contrary, they increased its severity. This contradiction formed the main factor that instigated the eruption of the previous Palestinian Uprising (Intifada of 1987-1993), the biggest uprising the palestinian people have yet seen.

This contradiction continues to en The crystallization of the palestinian option to confront the dangers of this situation, on the present and the future, regarding the Palestinian national question and rights, should rely upon regaining the formulation of national consensus and vivify the mass movement to confront israeli policy in imposing facts by the force and domination of the occupation, through the creation of palestinian facts based on the right, supported by international legitimacy, by force of popular struggle through the embodiment of the declaration of independence, the exercise of palestinian sovereignity over the land internationally acknowledged and acclaimed as Palestine (The West Bank, including Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip), call upon israeli authorities to hold negotiations that acknowledge permanent and balanced peace, on the basis of application of UN Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338, which acknowledge the exchange of land for peace, a just solution for the problem of refugees and displaced, by the implementatio These negotiations should be held within the framework of a suitable international formula, which on one hand permits the regaining of the coordination between the Palestinian national track and the other Arab tracks; on the other hand ensures an international supervision of the peace process, replacing the unilateral American one by the vital participation of the United Nations and all other active forces, especially the European Union, Russia, China added to the US. Insuring the success, in the over mentioned process, is based upon the requirement of regaining the reconstruction of the Palestinian house, in order to secure the necessities of steadfastness, to confront the expected aggressive procedures by Israel and to ensure necessary Arab and international support. All this should rely upon a unified militant strategy, based upon the general popular mobilization to confront Israeli violence, by renewing the popular uprising in new forms.

6) The Organization and its Conference Stations.

The D.F.L.P's organizational structure is horizontal and circular, based upon units within local organizations (determined geographically, sectionally and at professional levels). Its pyramidical stratum height consists of the required number of linking stations on the one hand, and the necessity of unifying its direction, to guarantee the unification of work on the other. This basic organizational principle and its centralized democracy direct the relationship of the D.F.L.P's with the various gatherings of palestinian people, social groups, and the popular movement in general. The tested and applied systems of this organizational principle ensure, by periodic conferences and daily work relationships, that the participation of the members and organs of the D.F.L.P review its policy, elect the leading committees and the exchange of judgement and control. The locality organs meet in the district organs and the latter in regional organizations. All of these components are directed by the general political line, acknowledged by the one leading center of the D.F.L.P., a line from which a unified political policy is derived. In this framework, the regional organizations have wide latitude of independence in their work plans, with respect to the special and actual needs and realities of each Palestinian gathering.

The One leading center is comprised of: 1-The General National Congress (The highest political and legislative authority) elected by the locality in ascending order. The Congress is held once every five years. 2-The General National Conference. (This body is also elected, and called upon at certain times when necessity warrants). The Conference has the same authority as the general Congress, but within the limits of its brief agenda. 3-The Central Committee. (The first political and organizational leadership elected by the General Congress and between two sessions). It is held four times per year. 4-The political Bureau. (The highest executive leadership of the Central Committee, and elected from it). 5-The party controls committees, command the right application of the internal status and guarantee the members and the organs' rights on all levels, including the one leading center. The mass democratic and professional organizations represent independent frameworks, with specific programmes and internal regulations, acknowledged by elected committees from their periodical conferences. The D.F.L.P. considers these organizations as a framework within which its friendly cadres are organized, also as one of the major organizational forms of the democratic revolutionary alliance, which include sectors of various social forces to mobilize their abilities within the context of the national and social struggle.

The D.F.L.P. has held seven general national Congresses and conferences. 1) The foundational Congress (The first general Congress) was held in August 1970, in which the first Central Committee was elected. It issued the political programme, the general programme, and the internal temporary statute. 2) The first general national conference in November 1971 issued internal statute. In 1972, it elected the second Central Committee, which adopted the interim programme (at its fourth session, in August 1973), the political programme, and the interim statute (1975). This later was dedicated to the independence of the D.F.L.P. Branch in Jordan (Majed) and its distinct character. The conference permitted it to draw up its specific political programme and its internal statute, according to the national democratic struggle in Jordan (issued in 1978). 3) The second general national congress (May 1981). Through it, the theoretical, political and organizational report was issued, reviewing the documents of the political programme and the internal statute. It also elected the third Central Committee. 4) The second national conference (July 1991) elected the fourth Central Committee.

It also made basic amendments to the internal statute, in light of the termination of the work of the D.F.L.P. Branch in Jordan (Majed) and in the light of establishment of the Jordanian People's Democratic Party (Hashd), a Jordanian independent party. (The common framework organizes its relationship with the D.F.L.P.) Finally, a report prepared for this purpose, attempted to ascertain the root causes of the internal crisis within the D.F.L.P., to extract the main causalities from it and to enhance the democratic renovation 5) The third general national congress in Septemper/October, 1994, elected the Fifth Central Committee, and solidified the new formations in the political programme, the internal statute, the political report: "on the new tasks after the Oslo agreement", and theoretical themes: "The crises of the left in a changing era". 6) The third general national Conference in January 1998, elected the sixth Central Committee, approved a complete political review of the Oslo agreements and the terms of an alternative national programme. 7) The fourth general national congress in April /May 1998 approved a political report and presented a complete national initiative, dealing with: "Spreading the sovereignty of the Palestinian State over all of the palestinian territory occupied in the aggression of 1967"

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