Top Popular Front official makes rare visit to Gaza

Following Hamas departure from Damascus, PFLP leader calls for Palestinian unity, "resistance" against Israel.

PFLP leader Maher Taher 390 (R) (photo credit: Khaled Al Hariri / Reuters)
PFLP leader Maher Taher 390 (R)
(photo credit: Khaled Al Hariri / Reuters)
In the first visit of its kind, one of the leaders of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine [PFLP] arrived in the Gaza Strip Sunday.
Maher Taher, who has been living in Syria and Lebanon for the past four decades, entered the Gaza Strip through the Rafah border crossing with Egypt.
It is not clear whether Taher, 63, was planning to move to the Gaza Strip permanently.
In the past few weeks, some senior Hamas officials who used to live in Syria moved together with their families to the Gaza Strip.
The move came after Hamas refused to support Syrian President Bashar Assad in his confrontation with anti-government demonstrators.
Last Friday, Hamas became the first Damascus-based Palestinian group to declare its support for the Syrian uprising against Assad.
The PFLP has thus far refrained from taking sides in the conflict.
The PFLP is one of several Palestinian groups that are members of the PLO. Fatah is the largest faction in the PLO.
The PFLP has offices in Damascus and Beirut, as well as the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
The group’s Secretary-General, Ahmed Sa’dat, has been in Israeli prison since 2002 for his role in the assassination of tourism minister Rehavam Ze’evi a year earlier.
Like Hamas, the PFLP is opposed to the Oslo Accords and supports the use of violence against Israel.
Upon his arrival in the Gaza Strip, Taher called for unity between Fatah and Hamas “so that we can confront occupation and attempts to Judaize Jerusalem.”
He also voiced support for “resistance” against Israel.
“I can’t believe that I’m in the land of beloved Palestine,” Taher told Palestinian reporters. “I have long been dreaming of this historic moment.”
The PFLP leader urged the Palestinian Authority to abandon the peace process “because Israel wants to control everything.”