| INTERNATIONAL TERRORIST SYMBOLS DATABASE
| Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (2)
Other DFLP Symbols:|
Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (1)
Description: Set against a red background is a five-pointed red star with a white border. Within the star is a black map of Israel and the Palestinian territories, framed by two olive branches. Above the star is a black, white and green arc.
Explanation: The red background is reminiscent of the red flag that was used by many leftist revolutionary groups. Similarly, the red star, which was used as a symbol for communism and the Soviet Union, refers to the group’s foundation in Marxism. The map of Israel and the Palestinian territories within the star depicts the DFLP’s primary geographical location, as well as its original goal to establish one state for Arabs and Jews in that region. The olive branches framing the map represent reconciliation and victory. The black, white and green arc, coupled with the red background, denote the four colors of the Palestinian flag.
| Name Variations | Overview | Focus of Operations | Major Attacks | Leaders | Ideology | Goals | Methods | Sponsors | U.S.- Related Activities |
The Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine, The Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine – Hawatmeh Faction, Red Star Forces, Red Battalions
The Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP) is a leftist group that seeks to create a separate Palestinian state based on Israel’s borders before the Six Day War in 1967, with Jerusalem as its capital. Founded in 1969 by Nayef Hawatmeh as the Popular Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine, the group’s name was changed to the DFLP in August 1974. The DFLP, which holds that Palestinian national goals can be achieved through a revolution of the lower classes, originally advocated for the creation of a singular, bi-national state for both Arabs and Jews west of the Jordan River. It later introduced the idea of a two-state solution, a separate Palestinian state alongside Israel, to the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO).
The DFLP has carried out terrorist attacks against Israelis within Israel and the Palestinian territories, including a siege on a school in northern Israel that killed 27 people, 22 of them students, in 1974. The group ceased its military operations against Israel in 1987 with the onset of the Palestinian Intifada. The DFLP largely refrained from terrorist attacks during the 1990s, during which time it rejected the Israeli-Palestinian peace process and the Oslo Accords. Resuming terrorist attacks against Israelis during the second Intifada, the DFLP now functions as a social and political body operating in Syria, Lebanon and Jordan, as well as in Gaza and the West Bank.
Focus of Operations
West Bank, Gaza, Israel, Syria, Lebanon and Jordan
- July 16, 2002: Roadside bombing and shooting of a bus approaching a Jewish settlement in the West Bank: nine killed, 20 injured.
- August 25, 2001: Attack on an Israeli military base in the Gaza Strip: three soldiers killed, seven others injured.
- November 13, 1975: Bombing of a wagon rigged with explosives in Jerusalem: seven killed.
- November 19, 1974: Attack on a private home in the town of Beit Shean: four killed.
- May 15, 1974: Three members of the DFLP disguised as Israeli soldiers laid siege to an elementary school in the northern border town of Ma’alot: 27 killed, including 22 students, 134 injured.
- February 10, 1970: Attack on El Al passengers on a bus at Munich Airport: one killed, 11 injured.
- Founder and Secretary General: Nayef Hawatmeh
- Former Leader: Yasser Abd Rabbo (split from the DFLP in 1991)
- Leader in the Gaza Strip: Saleh Zidan
The DFLP, which was founded as a Marxist organization, espouses Palestinian nationalism.
The DFLP employed paramilitary operations before redirecting its focus in 1987 with the onset of the Palestinian Intifada. The group has since conducted small-scale border raids into Israel and has largely confined itself to attacks against Israeli civilian and military targets within the Palestinian territories.
The DFLP seeks to create a Palestinian state alongside Israel based on pre-1967 borders, with Jerusalem as its capital.
Cuba and the Soviet Union reportedly supplied the DFLP with arms until 1991. Syria has also provided financial support, training and safe heaven to members of the DFLP. In May of 2001, Hawatmeh and Syria’s defense minister reportedly discussed “ways of supporting the Palestinian uprising and resistance in occupied Palestine against the Zionist aggressions.”
- In July 2005, Israeli-born Palestinian and naturalized U.S. citizen Maher Amin Jaradat pleaded guilty in Virginia to fraudulently procuring a U.S. citizenship. On his citizenship application, Jaradat failed to disclose that he was a member of the DFLP for sixteen months in the early 1980s and had studied bomb-making and the use of small arms at a DFLP-run training camp in Syria. He was sentenced to three months in prison.
- The DFLP was designated a Foreign Terrorist Organization in October 1997. It was dropped from the list two years later “because of the absence of terrorist activity” and for its “degree of reconciliation with Arafat and apparent acceptance of eventual peace with Israel,” according to the U.S. State Department.
- The Treasury Department listed the DFLP and Nayef Hawatmeh as Specially Designated Terrorists (SDT) that threaten to disrupt the Middle East peace process in accordance with an Executive Order signed by President Clinton in January 1995. The designation prohibits all financial transactions with the DFLP and Hawatmeh and blocks all of the group’s assets in the U.S.