Leila Khaled, member of the Central Committee of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, was in Turkey to speak in a forum titled “The Dynamics of Transformation in the Middle East” organized by the Socialist Refoundation Party. Khaled talked about imperialist plans in Middle East and the resistance against these plans to the Turkish publication YURT (Liberation translation by Taylor Goel).
What do you think of the latest developments in the Middle East?
The Middle East has been a region of conflicts for centuries. The peoples in the region are waging liberation wars. European colonialists have come and gone from the Palestinian land, Ottomans, the same. Now Israel has come. Lying to the whole world and using religion, they came. They claimed they were given this land by God. We reject this. Why? Is God in the real estate business? Promising land for some and exiling others. We absolutely reject such a thing.
There are imperialist forces in the region that support and defend Israel. There are Arab leaderships in the region that pay homage to Israel. USA has been pushing a carrot-and-stick policy in the region. Reactionary Arab forces went to the White House and prostrated themselves one by one and apologized. “We will do whatever you say, our oil is yours”, they said. But the Arab people refuse to succumb.
Where does Turkey stand at this point?
Turkey leads the group that protects Israel. Israel has brought Turkey to her knees. Nine people from Turkey were murdered on the Mavi Marmara. Later, the Turkish consul was insulted. The Turkish government said that Israel was going to issue an apology but Israel never did. They even explicitly said “We will not apologize”. Despite all this, the Turkish government has further increased economic and military cooperation with Israel. The real defense of Israel is accomplished via Turkey. The biggest military base that belongs to the U.S.A. in the region is the Incirlik Base. My call to you: Get rid of that base. Expand the boycott against Israel.
Simon Peres has a new book “The new Middle East”. Check it out, it exactly follows the “Greater Middle East Initiative” of the U.S. As they will, they draw us like a picture and tear us into pieces. They determine how we shall live. You and us, all of us are in the same trench, targeted by these.
Turkey is an unconditional supporter of imperialism. In Turkey, the Kurds do not have the same rights as the Turks. More than ten thousand Kurds are piled in jail. Like the Palestinian inmates. Whatever Israel is doing to the Palestinians, Turkey is doing the same to the Kurds.
You will now ask why does Turkey draw so much of my attention? Of course it does because Turkey pokes her nose into everything in the region.
Would you explain the position of PFLP on the imperialist aggression in Syria?
Now, they want to establish the “Greater Middle East Initiative” using religious and sectarian conflict. This is what is going on in Syria. According to the last census, there are 11 million, 800 thousand Palestinians. But only a quarter of this population is living on Palestinian land. A huge population is exiled and the only country that has received that population with open arms is Syria. What was done to us is now being done to Syria.
I am screaming with the top of my voice: We stand by the Syrian Army and the people of Syria. We are confident in the people of Syria, who have taken us, Palestinians, under their wings and hosted us on their land for over sixty years. We are confident that they will prevail over this problem.
Is the revolutionary claim of PFLP still on?
Yes. After the death of George Habas, Abu Ali Mustafa was chosen as the General Secretary, to be killed by Israel shortly after. Our third President Ahmad Sa’adat was elected. He is now being held hostage in an Israeli prison. Despite all these hard times, as PFLP, we are still standing strong, continuing our struggle. Our biggest priority is the unity among Palestinians. As the PFLP, we are trying really hard to achieve this unity. I can say that PFLP is in good shape. And we played an important role in the last Gaza war.
What do you say about the cooperation of Hamas with Turkey?
Hamas has accepted cease-fire with Israel. As PFLP, we do not accept this and view this as the wrong attitude. As far as the relation Hamas has established with Turkey, we see it as one between political Islamists. Hamas does not represent all of Palestine.
Do you have any message for the revolutionary women in Turkey?
Continue your struggle, unite, act in unity. Do not believe in lies. It is not the “Greater Middle East Initiative” of the U.S. that will shape the Middle East but only us. All the peoples of the Middle East will rebuild it. together.