Saturday, May 20, 2006

Credit To The DFLP

LGF links to a report by Michael Totten on his visit to the city of Ramallah- and takes offence as his reference to Saeb Erekat as an honourable politician.

The Totten report makes for interesting reading- Ramallah is most likely not what you think, given the impression of the region from the media. I know the feeling- having grown up in Northern Ireland I'm used to people thinking that Belfast and environs resemble scenes from the Blitz.

Anyway, as I was reading through Totten's piece I came across a reference to the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine. Totten says this of them-

The DFLPers have a crackpot ideology, but to their credit they insist Palestinians should only fight Israeli soldiers, and that Palestinians should only fight Israeli soldiers in Palestine. Israeli civilians are to be left alone.

That would be the same DFLP responsible for the Ma'alot School Massacre in 1974-

The Palestinian gang who took the children hostage had tried to stop a van a few miles from Ma'alot several hours before entering the school.

Three men dressed in army uniforms opened fire when the van pulled away, killing one girl inside.

Just before dawn they broke into flats in Ma'alot and forced their way into one apartment. A woman, her husband and five-year-old child were shot dead.

The gang then walked to the school and woke the caretaker, who was also shot. They took the children hostage and separated them into boys and girls.

They had promised to release half of the teenagers once they received a code word from their organisation in Syria.

Although the Israelis entered into negotiations with the DFLP, and even agreed to release prisoners as per their demands, it all went wrong.

At 5:45 p.m., a unit of the elite Sayeret Matkal special forces group stormed the building. They managed to kill all the hostage takers, but not before they had used guns and explosives to kill some of their hostages. A total of 26 Israelis were killed and more than 60 people were wounded in what became known as the Maalot Massacre.

Twenty one of the dead were children.

Since that time the DFLP has waned, politically and with regards to their ability to conduct their terrorist campaign. In fact, in the groups existence, only 8% of their targets have been military. A student was attacked by axe-weilding members of the DFLP in 1975, a civilian was found murdered in his apartment on March 31st 1994, they carried out a mortar bomb attack with Fatah in August 2005, they fired mortars at the
Netzer Hazani settlement in June 2005, injuring a civilian Thai worker, they fired mortars at the settlement of Morag and Netzarim in January 2005, and they fired two rockets at the settlement of Netzarim in December 2004.

The DFLP were also responsible for the June 2002 attack on the settlement of Itamar which left five dead and four wounded. The victims were a forty year old woman and her three sons- aged 16, 12 and 5- and a neighbour who came to their aid.

They also carried out the attack which killed three Israeli soldiers and wounded seven more in 2001.

The same man who was in charge of the DFLP at the time of Ma'alot remains their leader.

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