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Jailed PFLP Leader to Run in Palestine Elections

by Anh Pham |
January 24, 2006
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In the upcoming elections for the Palestinian Authority’s Palestinian Legislative Council in the Israeli-occupied territories of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, Ahmad Saadat, the leader of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), has announced his candidacy from jail.

Saadat was interviewed by Fight Back! in May of 2003, a year after his incarceration. He was imprisoned as part of the Jericho Agreement between the Palestinian Authority (PA) and the U.S. and British governments. He has a long history of fighting for the Palestinian people ever since he joined the PFLP as a student in 1967. A son of a low-paid worker, he understands the daily struggles of the people in Palestine.

PFLP spokesperson Dr. Rabah Mohena told the Palestinian newspaper Al-Ayyam that his organization should play a part in the Palestinian parliament, in order to, “represent the issues that concern the Palestinian public.” Another member of the group said that the decision was taken in order to support the “right of prisoners to stand for office and to take part in the Palestinian elections.”

The Palestinian Authority (the Palestinian government established in place of the Palestine Liberation Organization by Israeli and U.S. pressure in 1993) currently by and large serves the interests of the U.S. and Israel. It continues to negotiate away the sovereignty of the Palestinian people and is coming dangerously close to relinquishing the Right of Return. Half of the Palestinian people do not live within the original borders of Palestine. Many who were born and raised in Palestine are not allowed any rights as inhabitants of their homeland. On the other hand, scores of Jewish people born and raised outside of the original and occupied Palestinian territories can obtain citizenship with a simple letter from their rabbi. This is not an example of a just society. Anyone who is to lead the Palestinian people must protect and lead all of her people and this is why Saadat would be an important addition to the Palestinian Legislative Council.

On Dec. 23, 70 U.S. senators passed a resolution labeling Palestinian resistance organizations as ‘terrorist groups’ and attempted to prevent them from running in the Palestinian Legislative Council elections. The PFLP responded by threatening to boycott the elections if representatives of these resistance groups were not allowed to run.

It is not possible for the people of Palestine to be free unless they have control of thier own land. This means the right of return and self-determination and control of their own borders and resources. The Palestinian people need a government and leaders who are working in their interest, not that of the U.S. or the illegal government of Israel. Ahmad Saadat’s candidacy for the Palestinian Legislative Council is a good sign for the Palestinian people and a step towards a free Palestine.