Name of leader         George Habash

 

Kunya                                al-Hakim

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

 

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

Conflict country             Israel; Jordan; Saudi Arabia; (Shah's) Iran; Lebanon

 

Gender                             Male   

    

Year of birth                    August 2, 1926 [1]  

 

Place of birth                  Lydda, British Mandatory Palestine

Year of death                  January 26, 2008 [2]

 

 

 

Deceased

 

Yes; he died of a heart attack in 2008.

 

Birth order

 

He was the second of three children.[3] According to another source he had six siblings.[4]

 

Age at start of rebel leadership

 

He began his leadership role at age 41.

 

Leader entry method

 

He founded the organization.

 

Powersharing

 

No; there is no evidence of powersharing.

 

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

Habash studied medicine. “Habash completed his elementary education in Lydda and then moved to the National Orthodox College in Jaffa for his secondary education; he received his matriculation certificate at Terra Sancta College in Jerusalem.”[5]  He earned a medical degree at the American University of Beirut (AUB) in 1951.[6] “He was an exceptional student who divided his university years between his study and his numerous hobbies such as athletics, art, and music in addition to cultural and political activities.”[7]  “The dominant influence on his thought and nationalist identity came from contact with the thought and teachings of Arab history professor Constantine Zurayk. Dr. Zurayk was a secular Arab unionist, nationalist, and liberal thinker. During this period the university was full of Arab students from all the Arab countries who carried with them their national concerns and dreams. Their meeting place was the cultural student society al-‘Urwa al-wuthqa. Zurayk was its spiritual father, and Habash was elected its general secretary for the academic year 1949–50.”[8]

           

Ever married? If yes, age of first marriage

 

Yes; in 1961, Habash married his cousin Hilda. He was age 35 when they married.[9]

 

Children

 

Yes; Habash had two daughters.[10]

 

Religious identification

 

He practiced Eastern Orthodox Christian.[11]

 

Elite family background

 

Yes; he was born “to a rich Arab Christian Orthodox family that owned agricultural lands and commercial stores.”[12]

 

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

 

Yes; Habash was originally affiliated with the pan-Arab movement and help found the Arab National Movement (ANM).[13]

 

Physical and mental health

 

Yes; “on the personal level Habash suffered a near-fatal heart attack in 1972 and a severe brain hemorrhage in 1980 with which he coped through strength of will.” [14]

 

Pre-militant leader occupation

 

He started medical training.

 

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

 

No; he did not serve in a state military.

 

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

 

Yes; he was a part of the ANM. In the early 1950s, he was also a member of the Organization, “Oppose to Political Settlement with Israel” and associated with the Pan-Arabist movement of Gamal Nasser.[15]

 

Combat experience prior to assuming resistance organization leadership?

 

No; there is no evidence he had combat experience.

 

Held government position prior to assuming leadership?

 

No; he did not hold a government position.

 

Lived in exile?

 

Yes; in 2008, he died in exile in Amman, Jordan.[16]

 

Study abroad?

 

Yes; he studied abroad at AUB in Beirut, Lebanon.

 

Did the leader receive military training abroad?

 

No; there is no evidence he received military training abroad.

 

Did the leader have extensive work experience abroad?

 

No; there is no evidence he had extensive work experience abroad.

 

Serve time in prison? Social connections during that time?

 

Yes; Habash was imprisioned in Syria.[17] He spent 5 years in prison in 1990 for killing his sister’s boyfriend.[18] Also, after graduating from medical school “he devoted his efforts organizing street demonstrations by students, which led to his being arrested a number of times, and establishing a nationalist and progressive youth organization.”[19] 

 

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

 

Yes;[20] in 1973, Israel attempted to assassinate him.[21] From 1961- 1965 “he and his colleagues were subject to pursuit and detention as well as assassination by the forces that carried out the break-up [of Sryia-Egypt union].”[22] 

 

Cause of Death?

 

He had cancer but died of a heart attack.

 

Primary language, and other languages spoken as adult

 

He spoke Arabic as his primary language and he also spoke English. [23]

 

 

 

[1]Image Credit: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:George_Habash.jpg

 “George Habash,” Ma’an, March 1, 2010, www.maannews.com/Content.aspx?id=264026.

[2] “George Habash,” Ma’an, March 1, 2010, www.maannews.com/Content.aspx?id=264026.

[3] Mahmoud Soueid, “Taking Stock: An Interview with George Habash,” Journal of Palestine Studies 28, 1 (1998): 86.

[4] “George Habash,” palestinian journeys, accessed January 14, 2019, https://www.paljourneys.org/en/biography/6564/george-habash.

[5] “George Habash,” palestinian journeys, accessed January 14, 2019, https://www.paljourneys.org/en/biography/6564/george-habash.

[6] “George Ḥabash,” Encyclopedia Britannica, September 5, 2012, accessed January 14, 2019, https://www.britannica.com/biography/George-Habash.

[7] “George Habash,” palestinian journeys, accessed January 14, 2019, https://www.paljourneys.org/en/biography/6564/george-habash.

[8] “George Habash,” palestinian journeys, accessed January 14, 2019, https://www.paljourneys.org/en/biography/6564/george-habash.

[9] Edmund L. Andrews and John Kifner, “George Habash, 82, Founder of Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine,” New York Times, January 27, 2008,

www.nytimes.com/2008/01/27/world/africa/27iht-obits.1.9523942.html.

[10] Edmund L. Andrews and John Kifner, “George Habash, 82, Founder of Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine,” New York Times, January 27, 2008,

www.nytimes.com/2008/01/27/world/africa/27iht-obits.1.9523942.html.

[11] Mahmoud Soueid, “Taking Stock: An Interview with George Habash,” Journal of Palestine Studies 28, 1 (1998): 86.

[12] “George Habash,” palestinian journeys, accessed January 14, 2019, https://www.paljourneys.org/en/biography/6564/george-habash.

[13] “George Habash,” Ma’an, March 1, 2010,www.maannews.com/Content.aspx?id=264026.

[14] “George Habash,” palestinian journeys, accessed January 14, 2019, https://www.paljourneys.org/en/biography/6564/george-habash.

[15] “George Habash,” Jewish Virtual Library, accessed January 14, 2019, https://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/george-habash.

[16] “Rebel from a Bygone Era,” The Guardian, January 28, 2008, accessed October 12, 2018, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2008/jan/29/israelandthepalestinians.comment

[17] Gideon Levy, “This Biography Makes It Clear,” Haaretz, April 15, 2018, www.haaretz.com/middle-east-news/palestinians/.premium-biography-makes-it-clear-this-palestinian-leftist-leader-was-right-1.5994244.

[18] Edmund L. Andrews and John Kifner, “George Habash, 82, founder of Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine,” The New York Times, January 27, 2008, accessed October 12, 2018, https://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/27/world/africa/27iht-obits.1.9523942.html

[19]  “George Habash,” palestinian journeys, accessed January 14, 2019, https://www.paljourneys.org/en/biography/6564/george-habash.

[20] Ian Black and Benny Morris, Israel’s Secret Wars (New York: Grove, 1991).

[21] Revolutionary and Militant Organizations Dataset (REVMOD); accessible at www.revolutionarymilitant.org.

[22] “George Habash,” palestinian journeys, accessed January 14, 2019, https://www.paljourneys.org/en/biography/6564/george-habash.

[23] “George Habash,” The Telegraph, January 27, 2008, www.telegraph.co.uk/news/obituaries/1576681/George-Habash.html.

Habash.png