Russia want more terrorgroups in PLO

Delegates from 14 Palestinian organizations – including several terrorist groups – met late February in Moscow following an invitation from Russia. Moscow wants the terrorist groups Hamas, Islamic Jihad and PFLP to unite with the PLO in order to play a political role in a two-state solution.

The Soviet intelligence service KGB recruited Yasser Arafat and his Fatah faction early on. The KGB’s recruitment of Mahmoud Abbas began around 1979, when Abbas arrived in Moscow to study at the Moscow Institute of Oriental Studies. Photo: Al Jazeera English

In his welcome speech, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov described how the lack of unity in the Palestinian ranks was one of the pretexts used to delay talks on a two-state solution. While Russia wants to give Hamas, Islamic Jihad and the PFLP a political role within the PLO, both the US and the EU list the three organizations as terrorist groups.
The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) participated in the Hamas massacre on October 7 in southern Israel. The PFLP shared videos, images and texts on its website and social media praising the massacre.
Moscow’s relationship with Palestinian terrorist groups is long-standing. In November 2016 Ronen Bergman, investigative journalist and writer at Israel’s largest daily newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth (Ynet news), detailed how secret KGB documents revealed the Soviet Union’s deep involvement in the Palestinian acts of terror directed at Israel and the West from the late 1960s.
Both the PFLP and Fatah took part in the Munich attack against the Israeli Olympic team in 1972 when Jews were once again murdered on German soil 27 years after the Holocaust.
That the Soviet security service KGB waged a kind of “shadow war” against Israel via the Palestinian terrorist organizations, is revealed in the notes collated and kept by the defected KGB archivist Vasiliy Mitrokhin during his 30 years of service and which are now at Cambridge University.
For six months, Ronen Bergman went carefully through documents in the archive, translating them and comparing the material with other sources. The archive revealed links going back to the late 1960s when the Soviet spy agency had code names for the PLO’s various factions.

Arafat recruited

The KGB early recruited Yasser Arafat and his Fatah faction where operational collaboration was mainly carried out using Salah Khalaf (Abu Iyad), who was responsible for countless terrorist attacks on Israel.
The PFLP was particularly interesting because of their Marxist-Leninist ideology. Their leader George Habash’s deputy Dr. Wadi Haddad was the mastermind behind a series of hijackings involving Leila Khaled and others.
The Mitrokhin documents reveal how the KGB chief Andropov wrote a top-secret report in late 1969 to the then-Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev detailing Haddad’s recruitment into operations “for Soviet interests.”
In early July 1970, Brezhnev gave the KGB the green light to supply Haddad with money, rockets, missiles, land mines, naval mines, silencers, and military training. Through the KGB, Haddad also established close ties with the Stasi, East Germany’s secret service, who provided training and weapons for the PFLP. The KGB also helped the PFLP contact members of the Baader-Meinhof group.
According to the Mitrokhin documents, the KGB also supported Nayef Hawatmeh, the leader of the DFLP, who used his newspaper to spread KGB publicity and propaganda. Ahmed Jibril (code name “Mayorov”) head of the PFLP-GC, also received support from Moscow.

Abbas recruited 1979

The KGB’s recruitment of Mahmoud Abbas, president of the Palestinian Authority, began around 1979 when Abbas arrived in Russia to study at the Moscow Institute of Oriental Studies. When Abbas finished his thesis, he returned to Lebanon where he spread Soviet propaganda framed by the KGB and Stasi. Abbas accused Israel of colluding with the Nazis, as part of a widespread propaganda campaign run by the KGB in an attempt to create a link between anti-Soviet elements and the Nazis – the ultimate symbol of evil, writes Ronen Bergman.
During the meeting in Moscow last week, Foreign Minister Lavrov congratulated the Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas in his efforts to form a new cabinet.
“Our colleagues from the Institute of Oriental Studies at the Russian Academy of Sciences and the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs – whom you know well – are at your service”, he said.
At the same time that the PFLP and other Palestinian terrorist groups visited Moscow in late February, German police hunted down two terrorists from the Red Army Faction (RAF), also known as the Baader-Meinhof League. About 130 police participated in the search, according to the Reuters news agency.