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al-Lydd - اللد: Encyclopedia Of The Palestinians: Biography of George Habash (al-Hakim)


Posted on November 12, 2000

The below article is from Encyclopedia Of The Palestinians edited by Philip Mattar

Habash, George
intellectual, resistance leader
August 2, 1926- January 26th, 2008 Lydda

Georges Habash

Born into a family of Greek Orthodox merchants, George Habash and his family were forced in July 1948 to leave their native town, LYDDA, in what became one of the most infamous cases of deliberate mass expulsions of Palestinians by the Israeli army. Having fled to Beirut, Habash pursued his studies in pediatric medicine at the American University of Beirut and graduated first in his class in 1951. The same year he was arrested after a demonstration. In 1952, he founded the Arab Nationalist Movement (ANM) with WADI HADDAD (a Palestinian), Ahmad al-Khatib (a Kuwaiti), and Hani al-Hindi (a Syrian).

Determined to spread the movement abroad, Habash opened a Clinic of the People and a school for Palestinian REFUGEES in Amman at the end of 1952. He remained there until 1957 .Active during the events of 1956-57 in Jordan, he went underground in April 1957 after the proclamation of martial law by King Husayn. Convicted in absentia, he fled to Syria after it had joined with Egypt to form the United Arab Republic (UAR).

Attracted like many Arab nationalists to the ideas of Jamal Abd al-Nasir, he looked to extend the influence of the ANM to different Arab countries. For him, contrary to the cadres who formed FATAH, Arab unity was the engine of the liberation of Palestine. The Syrian secession from the UAR in 1961 and the subsequent return of the Ba'th to power in that country forced Habash to take refuge in Beirut. In April 1964, he created, within the ANM, a regional command for Palestine that regrouped the Palestinian members of the organization.

The ARAB-ISRAELI WAR OF 1967 dealt a hard blow to Nasir's prestige and gave affirmation to the Palestinian fedayeen movement. On December 11, 1967, Habash played a key role in the creation of the POPULAR FRONT FOR THE LIBERATION OF PALESTINE (PFLP) and became its secretary-general. The PFLP was a radical leftist and nationalist group opposed to any Arab concession to Israel because Israel was not ready to reciprocate. It was equally uncompromising toward the West and conservative Arab regimes, both of whom, together with Israel, were the enemies of the Palestinian people and their struggle for liberation.

Habash was detained by the Syrian authorities in March 1968, fell out of grace with Wadi Haddad in November 1968, and returned to Amman at the beginning of 1969. During this period a break occurred with the ANM leftists led by NAYIF HAWATIMA. Defending radical positions and rejecting UNITED NATIONS SECURITY COUNCIL RESOLUTION 242 and all attempts at political settlement-notably the ROGERS PLAN -his group pushed toward a confrontation with King Husayn. The hijacking of three planes at the Zarqa airport in September 1970 unleashed the events known as BLACK SEPTEMBER and the expulsion of the fedayeen organizations from Jordan.

When Habash's group took refuge in Lebanon, as did other groups of the PALESTINE LIBERATION ORGANIZATION (PLO), Habash played an active role during the Lebanese civil war (1975-76) on the side of the ANM. After the signing of the CAMP DAVID ACCORDS, he worked to reinforce the unity of the resistance, but, in 1980, he had a grave stroke that left him unable to be involved in political affairs for many months.

Violently opposed to the OSLO AGREEMENTS, Habash contributed to the organization of the Damascus-based opposition, included for the first time Islamist organizations outside the PLO-HAMAS and ISLAMIC JIHAD. Remaining intransigent, affectionately called al-Hakim ("the Doctor" or "the Sage"), George Habash has maintained a great amount of respect among Palestinians, notably for his consistent refusal to align his organization with any Arab regime and for his revolutionary zeal in pursuing his goal of liberating Palestine.

Dr. Habash died in on the 26th of January, 2008 in Amman Jordan.

Alain Gresh

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Post Your Comment

long live al hakim
it is really a great loss for the palesinian cause and international revolution. today we remmember Habash the intellectual, revolutionist and the leader. his honest behaviour and revolutionary purness became a minarite for the honest struggler .. this man had taught us what is to fight and sacrifice for a homeland an also what is to open the gate for other strugglers to come and to take your position ..
goerge habash .. we will never forget the light of revolution into your eyes..........
we shouldn't forget such a hero!
al-hakim was a icon of resistance movement;not only in palestaine, but the whole word.
al-hakim, al-hakim, i salute u comrade!
lay down in peace, n sleep.
shouvik reza, bangladesh
can't believe that he is dead for a year now ... wish that he was alive to do something or at least say something ... All love and respect to Dr. George Habash :D rest in peace
one of my hero rest in peace DR.
One of my greatest heros, Dr. Habash, a Palestinian patriot, sleep in peace, your struggle lives and will succeed.
I will support the cause of Palestinian People, as long as I live.
A mother of three, a Turkish Muslim woman, your friend, your sister in struggle...
R.I.P. Doctor George Habash.... my grandfather and him were best friends back in the Lyd, Palestine. He always told me how they worked together back in the days, and I have many pictures and great memories with with Dr Habash. R.I.P Doctor. and LONG LIVE PALESTINE. Your legacy will never be forgotten.
his name will remain for centuries . He had an hounerarble life .
I have heard that this great revolutionary had passed away today, culminating a long and hounorable struggle, first against the Arab backwards and backwardness and second; against international imperialisim and zionism. This man will be remembered for a ery long time as a man of values, true secular who truly believed in Arabism and fredum.
His deeds and his actions will shine forever and his name will be listed among those immortals.

Dr. Ahmed R. Tarawneh