On 10 January 2009, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine* issued an “Urgent Call to Greek People: Block the Shipment of US Arms to Israel through Greek Ports.” It reported that the U.S. Navy was planning to ship 3,000 tons of ammunition by merchant ship from the Greek port Astakos to the Israeli port Ashdod just north of Gaza in the coming days. The PFLP also released a call for escalating direct action to interfere with, occupy, and shut down Israeli consulates and embassies worldwide.
The scheduled large-scale shipment of U.S. munitions to Israel from Askalos in Greece has been reportedly cancelled or at least delayed, in part in apparent reaction to a planned demonstration by a coalition of militant Greek activists on 15 January, responding to the PFLP. This may be the first concrete fruit of Greek solidarity with Gaza — threatened massive direct action against a maritime military shipment — though the Pentagon will certainly seek some other less publicized avenue to add weaponry to the “U.S. stockpile in Israel.” A Pentagon spokesperson stated: “I can confirm that the U.S. munition shipment has been delayed and that EUCOM [U.S. European Command] is developing an appropriate course of action to deliver the items to the U.S. stockpile in Israel. I have no information to provide on timelines or possible routes for obvious reasons of operations security.” What is the purpose of that stockpile, purportedly not meant for use by the IDF?
* The PFLP is a secular, revolutionary, Marxist-Leninist political and paramilitary organization, and its military wing units, the Abu Ali Mustapha Brigades in Gaza, are one of the prime targets in the present Israeli aggression. Numerous rockets fired from Gaza have been launched by AAMB activists, including some with the longest range, and part of the present Israeli offensive is aimed at crushing these units completely.
The PFLP General Secretary Ahmad Sa’adat (Abu Ghassan) has been imprisoned since 2002 — until 2006 held in Jericho in a Guantanamo-like facility run by the Palestinian Authority. He was abducted by Israeli military forces in March 2006 and was sentenced by an Israeli military court on 25 December 2008 to 30 years in Occupation prisons. The charge: “membership in an illegal organization” and other “security offenses.” Abu Ghassan is one of the major Marxist prisoners of conscience behind Israeli bars. He has stressed that the “democratic and free society” the PFLP struggles for “cannot be led or dominated by the parasitic and comprador bourgeoisie, but by a unity of the popular forces that share structural interests in national independence, return to the homeland, popular democracy and economic development.”
Sa’adat recently called for national unity in the resistance, despite fundamental political differences. The PFLP in Gaza released a statement on 10 January calling for “strengthening political coordination among all forces, as well as the formation of popular committees in all regions and districts to organize relief and support for all who need it, as well as distribute assistance in cooperation with municipalities.” The PFLP has been adamant in upholding the Palestinian Right of Return for all refugees and, unlike Hamas or Fatah, advocates a one-state secular socialist solution to the conflict.
Bill Templer is a linguist based in Southeast Asia.