Zuheir Mohsen

Zuheir Mohsen

Zuheir Mohsen (Arabic: زهيرمحسن, also transcribed "Zuhayr Muħsin" or "Zahir Muhsein") (b. 1936, d. 1979) was a Palestinian leader of the Syria-controlled as-Sa'iqa faction of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) between 1971 and 1979. Previously active as a refugee in the Jordanian wing of the Ba'th party, he was installed in this position after defence minister Hafiz al-Assad's 1969-1970 takeover in Syria, which he had supported against the previously dominant regime of Salah Jadid.

Trouw interview

Zuhair Mohsen is perhaps most widely known in the West for having made the following statement in a March 1977 interview with the Dutch newspaper Trouw [James Dorsey, "Wij zijn alleen Palestijn om politieke reden", Trouw, 31 March 1977 (translation unverified)] [ containing extracts of an Interview with former PLO functionary Zuheir Mohsen, spelled "Zoehair Mohsen" in the Dutch article's text, Trouw archives, Jacob Bontiusplaats 9, Amsterdam, 1977-03-31] :

:"The Palestinian people does not exist. The creation of a Palestinian state is only a means for continuing our struggle against the state of Israel for our Arab unity. In reality today there is no difference between Jordanians, Palestinians, Syrians and Lebanese. Only for political and tactical reasons do we speak today about the existence of a Palestinian people, since Arab national interests demand that we posit the existence of a distinct "Palestinian people" to oppose Zionism."

:"For tactical reasons, Jordan, which is a sovereign state with defined borders, cannot raise claims to Haifa and Jaffa, while as a Palestinian, I can undoubtedly demand Haifa, Jaffa, Beer-Sheva and Jerusalem. However, the moment we reclaim our right to all of Palestine, we will not wait even a minute to unite Palestine and Jordan."

While this contravened the PLO charter, which affirms the existence of a Palestinian people with national rights, it was in line with al-Sa'iqa's Syrian-Ba'thist ideology.

Role in Massacre

In 1976, Zuheir Mohsen gained notoriety for being the commanderFact|date=April 2008 of the Arab forces that invaded the Lebanese Christian town of Damour, which resulted in the massacre of hundreds of Christian citizens, known as the Damour massacre. However according to Robert Fisk, the attack was led by Col. Abu Musa, a senior commander of the PLO and Fatah, but later leader of an anti-Arafat faction. Fact|date=April 2008

Mohsen was assassinated on July 15 in 1979 in Cannes, France. The assassination is commonly attributed to the Israeli Mossad, but other suggestions include e.g. Iraq, Abu Nidal or Western intelligence services. After his death, al-Sa'iqa's importance dwindled, and Syria partially turned towards other Palestinian movements, such as PFLP-GC and Fatah al-Intifada.

Notes

References

# Friedman, "From Beirut to Jerusalem" (HarperCollins Publishers, 1998, 2nd ed.), p. 118
# See for example [http://www.cedarland.org/damour.html this page]

External links


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