Name of leader         Mustafa Alhaj

 

Nom de Guerre              Mustafa Ali Zibri

Kunya                               Abu Ali Mustafa

 

Organization                   al-Jabha al-Sha'biyye li-Tahrir Filastin

 

English Translation       Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP)

Conflict country             Israel

 

Gender                             Male   

    

Year of birth                    1935 [1] or 1938 [2]

 

Place of birth                  Arraba, Mandatory Palestine [3]

 

Year of death                  2001 [4]

 

 

Deceased

 

Yes; on August 27, 2001, the Israel Defense Forces assassinated Alhaj using Apache helicopters to attack his office in al-Bireh.

 

Birth order

 

His birth order is unknown.

 

Age at start of rebel leadership

 

He became the leader in 2000.[5] If 1935 is his birth year, he was 65 years old. Another source says he was 63 in 2001, which indicates he was 62 in 2000.[6]

 

Leader entry method

 

He was elected as the PFLP leader.[7] However, he was the only candidate in the election.[8]

 

Powersharing

 

No; the PFLP has a politburo and a central committee.[9] The national congress is the organization’s highest governing authority.[10]

 

Education (also name universities attended, if any); note any relevant experiences while a student

 

He left school before graduating in order to become a farm-hand.[11] The education he did have was in Jenin.[12]

 

Ever married? If yes, age of first marriage

 

Yes; he married.[13]

 

Children

 

Yes; he fathered five children.[14]

 

Religious identification

 

He practiced Islam.

 

Elite family background

 

His father was a farmer and horse-breeder,[15] providing a “modest” upbringing.[16]

 

Political affiliations and intellectual circles; note any relevant social connections made

 

He held membership of the PLO Executive Committee and the head of the Department of Palestinian Refugees.[17] In the PLO, he was in charge of Lebanese affairs.[18]

 

Physical and mental health

 

His physical and mental health are unknown.

 

Pre-militant leader occupation

 

In the 1950s, he worked in a Jordanian bank.[19]

 

Experience in a state military, and role; any relevant social ties

 

Yes; he served in the Egyptian military. The source does not say if he was an Egyptian citizen. However, he returned to the Jordanian-controlled territory of the West Bank at the time.[20]

 

Experience in a nonstate military, and role; any relevant social ties

 

Zibri founded an unnamed paramilitary organization in the West Bank before joining Habash.[21]

He was the deputy to PFLP leader George Habash.[22] He was the commander-in-chief of the PFLP’s military forces.[23] He was also the head of the PFLP delegation in the Aden-Algiers talks in 1984. He was the PFLP representative to the European Community.[24] He was a member of the Arab Nationalist Movement.[25] 

 

Combat experience prior to assuming resistance organization leadership?

 

In 1955, he was arrested for participating in terrorist attacks in Israel. Shortly after the organization's founding, Zibri led PFLP terrorist forces operating out of the West Bank,[26] from where planned and executed fedayin attacks on Israel in the 1960s.[27] 

 

Held government position prior to assuming leadership?

 

No, there is no evidence he held a government position.

 

Lived in exile?

 

Yes, he was in exile in Syria and Jordan after the 1967 War[28], also in Lebanon.[29] Another source says he had been in exile since 1958.[30]

 

Study abroad?

 

No; there is no evidence he studied abroad.

 

Did the leader receive military training abroad?

 

Yes; he received military training in Egypt in 1965.[31]

 

Did the leader have extensive work experience abroad?

 

Yes; he was the PFLP representative to the European Community in 1984.[32]

 

Serve time in prison? Social connections during that time?

 

“In 1957, the 19-year-old youth was imprisoned for belonging to Habash's Arab Nationalist Movement.”[33] He was also sent to a Jordanian prison in 1965.[34]

 

Was there an assassination attempt on the leader by the state?

 

No; there is no evidence of a failed assassination attempt against him.

 

Cause of Death?

 

He died via assassination. [35]

 

Primary language, and other languages spoken as adult

 

He spoke Levantine Arabic.[36]

 

 

Image Credit: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/0/05/Abu_ali_mustafa_ap.jpg

[1] “Mustafa Zibri,” CNN, August 28, 2001, Accessed June 12, 2018, http://edition.cnn.com/2001/WORLD/meast/08/28/profile.mustafa/index.html.

[2] Lawrence Joffe, “Abu Ali Mustafa,” The Guardian, August 27, 2001, Accessed June 12, 2018, https://www.theguardian.com/news/2001/aug/28/guardianobituaries.israel.

[3] Lawrence Joffe, “Abu Ali Mustafa,” The Guardian, August 27, 2001, Accessed June 12, 2018, https://www.theguardian.com/news/2001/aug/28/guardianobituaries.israel.

[4] Alan Philps, “PLO Founder Killed by Israeli Missile Attack,” The Telegraph, August 28, 2001, Accessed June 12, 2018, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/israel/1338783/PLO-founder-killed-by-Israeli-missile-attack.html.

[5] “Mustafa Zibri”.

[6] Alan Philps, “PLO Founder Killed by Israeli Missile Attack,” The Telegraph, August 28, 2001, Accessed June 12, 2018, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/israel/1338783/PLO-founder-killed-by-Israeli-missile-attack.html.

[7] “Mustafa Zibri”.

[8] “Radical Palestinian Group Chooses New Leader,” Associated Press Archive, July 8, 2000, Accessed June 18, 2018 via News Bank.

[9] Jon Immaneul, “PFLP Freezes Membership in PLO,” The Jerusalem Post, July 2, 1996, Accessed June 19, 2018 via Lexis Nexus.

[10] Harold M. Cubert, PhD, The PFLP’s Changing Role in the Middle East, (London: Frank Cass, 1997), 117-118.

[11] “Abu Ali Mustafa, Pragmatist Killed by Israel After Leading PFLP,” Agence France Presse-English, August 27, 2001 via Lexis Nexus.

[12] "أبو علي مصطفى". Al Jazeera, Accessed June 22, 2018,  http://www.aljazeera.net/specialfiles/pages/787a3d68-08ee-4048-b174-b3fd0f942ec8

[13] “Mustafa Zibri”.

[14] “Mustafa Zibri”.

[15] “The PFLP’s Abu-Ali Mustafa: Habash Envies My Homecoming and Fahoum Yearns for Nazareth,” Mideast Mirror, October 8, 1999, Accessed June 20, 2018 via Lexis Nexus.

[16] “Abu Ali Mustafa,” Intelligence Newsletter, July 27, 2000.

[17] Nafez Nazzal and Laila A. Nazzal. Historical Dictionary of Palestine, (Lanham: Scarecrow Press, 1997), 209.

[18] David Rudge, “S. Lebanon Army Patrol Kills Gunman, Wounds Another, in Security Zone Clash,” The Jerusalem Post, April 4, 1991, Accessed June 19, 2018 via Lexis Nexus.

[19] "أبو علي مصطفى".

[20] "أبو علي مصطفى".

[21] “Abu Ali Mustafa,” Intelligence Newsletter, July 27, 2000.

[22] “Mustafa Zibri”.

[23] Joe Stork and Kristen Kane, Erased in a Moment: Suicide Bombing Attacks Against Israeli Civilians, (New York: Human Rights Watch, 2002), 87.

[24] “Al-Zabri, Mustafa (1938-2001),” Encyclopedia of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, Volume 3, R-Z, Edited by Cheryl A. Rubenberg, (Boulder: Lynne Rienner Publishers, 2010), 1653.

[25] Joffe.[27] Michael R. Fischbach, “Zibri, Mustafa,” Encyclopedia of the Palestinians, Revised Edition, Edited by Philip Mattar, (New York: Facts on File, Inc, 2005), 549.

[28] “Al-Zabri, Mustafa (1938-2001)”. 1653.

[29] “Mustafa Zibri”.

[30] “Radical Palestinians Choose Leader” The Associated Press, 2000, accessed June 12, 2018 via Newspaper Source Plus.

[31] Danna Harman and Lamia Lahoud, “Hawatmeh Entry Depends on ‘Change in Deeds,’” The Jerusalem Post, September 30, 1999, Accessed June 18, 2018 via News Bank.

[32] Fischbach. 549.

[33] “Al-Zabri, Mustafa (1938-2001)”.

[34] https://www.theguardian.com/news/2001/aug/28/guardianobituaries.israel

[35] "أبو علي مصطفى".

[36] Alan Philps, “PLO Founder Killed by Israeli Missile Attack,” The Telegraph, August 28, 2001, Accessed June 12, 2018, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/israel/1338783/PLO-founder-killed-by-Israeli-missile-attack.html.

[37] “Jordan: Palestinian Dissident Abu Ali Mustafa,” AP Archive, Accessed June 21, 2018, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G1ccRvuxhLU.

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