Abu Ali Mustafa, the newly elected General Secretary of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, declared shortly after officially taking office as successor to George Habash that the PFLP refused to participate in the Camp David summit because it was “being held under the roof of Barak’s five No-s” and that nothing would come of the summit meeting other than “giving [Barak] a new opportunity to deceive and to continute to to be obstinate.”

Abu Ali Mustafa declared during a news conference held in Ram Allah on the West Bank that “we, as the Popular Front, have refused to take part in the Camp David summit which will be convened under the roof of Barak’s five No-s. This summit will constitute a new opportunity for him [Barak] to continue to deceive and to maintain his extremist positions.”

The new General Secretary of the PFLP, who was elected day before yesterday (8 July 2000) as successor to George Habash, also emphasized the refusal of the Popular Front “to consecrate the American administration as the sole referee for the course of the Palestinian effort, which is a way to get the Palestinians to make more concessions. The most outstanding example of that being the statements of the [American President Bill] Clinton calling on us to be flexible.”

Regarding the holding of a referendum on any peace agreement with Israel, Abu Ali Mustafa said that the Front has reservations about this issue “because it is impermissible to hold a referendum over issues which are my natural right.”

The Palestinian Minister of Information, Yasir Abd Rabbih said during a press conference yesterday that the Palestininian Authority would put any agreement reached to a general referendum among the Palestinian people.

Abu Ali Mustafa stressed “whatever the results of the summit at Camp David might be, the battle has begun, not ended.” He stressed, “the struggle with the Israeli enemy is a life-or-death struggle which negotiations cannot decide. He stressed that the Front would focus on strengthening the internal Palestinian situation in order to wage the struggle to ensure Palestinian rights.”

The spokesman for the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, Dr. Mahir al-Tahir, announced on the 8th of July that the election of Abu Ali Mustafa (62 years old), who had served as Deputy General Secretary of the PFLP since the early 1970s, came at the conclusion of the Sixth Congress of the Popular Front, which convened on 27 April 2000.

Tahir said that the Sixth Congress — the PFLP’s first congress in seven years — had reaffirmed the Front’s rejection of the on-going Palestinian- Israeli peace negotiations, and called for new negotiations with Israel based on United Nations resolutions that call for Israeli withdrawal from occupied Arab lands. He added that the Congress stressed the Palestinians’ right to their self-determination including the establishment of an independent Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital.

–“as-Safir” Beirut, 10 July 2000.