- Zuheir Mohsen
Zuheir Mohsen (Arabic: زهيرمحسن, also transcribed "Zuhayr Muħsin" or "Zahir Muhsein") (b. 1936, d. 1979) was a
Palestinianleader of the Syria-controlled as-Sa'iqafaction 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.
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 stateis only a means for continuing our struggle against the state of Israelfor our Arabunity. 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
Haifaand Jaffa, while as a Palestinian, I can undoubtedly demand Haifa, Jaffa, Beer-Shevaand 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
Christiantown 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 15in 1979 in Cannes, France. The assassination is commonly attributed to the Israeli Mossad, but other suggestions include e.g. Iraq, Abu Nidalor Western intelligence services. After his death, al-Sa'iqa's importance dwindled, and Syriapartially turned towards other Palestinian movements, such as PFLP-GCand Fatah al-Intifada.
# Friedman, "
From Beirut to Jerusalem" (HarperCollins Publishers, 1998, 2nd ed.), p. 118
# See for example [http://www.cedarland.org/damour.html this page]
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