George Habash

Habash, George, 1925?–2008, Palestinian guerrilla leader. When Israel was established (1948), he fled to Lebanon, where he attended the American Univ. of Beirut (M.D., 1951). He practiced medicine in Jordan during the 1950s. In 1953 he co-founded the Arab Nationalist Movement, which advocated pan-Arab action against Israel. Disenchanted with pan-Arabism after the 1968 Arab-Israeli War, Habash founded (1967) the Marxist Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), a member of the Palestine Liberation Organization. In the late 1960s and 1970s, PFLP mounted a terrorist campaign of bombings, kidnappings, and hijackings, e.g., the 1970 hijacking and destruction of four Western airliners. Its actions also precipitated a brief civil war in Jordan, which ended with the expulsion of Habash and the PFLP from the country. A longtime rival of Yasir Arafat and the leader of the Palestinian "rejectionist" wing, Habash denounced Arab-Israeli peace negotiations and opposed the 1993 Oslo accords. He retired from the PFLP leadership in 2000.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

See more Encyclopedia articles on: Middle Eastern History: Biographies