1970: Speech of Al Hakeem – Dr. George Habash. Amman – Jordan


At Jordan International Hotel,

in Amman, at 5:00 am, on June 12, 1970.

Ladies and Gentlemen;

I feel that it’s my duty to explain to you why we did what we did. Of course from a liberal point of view of thinking, I feel sorry for what happened, and I am sorry that we caused you some trouble during the last 2 or 3 days. But leaving this aside, I hope that you will understand, or at least try to understand, why we did what we did.

Maybe it will be difficult for you to understand our point of view. People living different circumstances think on different lines. They can’t think in the same manner, and we, the Palestinian people, and the conditions we have been living for a good number of years, all these conditions have modeled our way of thinking. We can’t help it. You can understand our way of thinking, when you know a very basic fact. We, the Palestinians, for 22 years, for the last 22 years, have been living in camps and tents. We were driven out of our country, our houses, our homes and our lands, driven out like sheep and left here in refugee camps in very inhumane conditions.

For 22 years our people have been waiting in order to restore their rights, but nothing happened. 3 years ago circumstances became favorable, so that our people could carry arms to defend their cause and start to fight to restore their rights, to go back to their country, and liberate their country. After 22 years of injustice, inhumanity, living in camps with nobody caring for us, we feel that we have the very full right to protect our revolution. We have all the right to protect our revolution. Our code of morals is our revolution. What saves our revolution, what helps our revolution, what protects our revolution is right, is very right and very honourable and very noble and very beautiful, because our revolution means justice, means having back our homes, having back our country, which is a very just and noble aim. You have to take this point into consideration. If you want to be in one way or another, cooperative with us, try to understand our point of view.

We don’t wake up in the morning to have a cup of milk with Nescafe and then spend half an hour before the mirror thinking of flying to Switzerland or having one month in this country or one month in that country. We don’t have the thousands of millions of dollars that you in America and Britain have. We live daily in camps. Our wives wait for the water, whether it will come at 10 o’clock in the morning, 12 or 3 o’clock in the afternoon. We can’t be calm as you can. We can’t think as you think. We have lived in this condition, not for one day, not for 2 days, not for 3 days. Not for one week, not for 2 weeks, not for 3 weeks. Not for one year, not for 2 years, but for 22 years. If any one of you comes to these camps and stays for one or two weeks, he will be affected. He can’t think and handle things regardless of the conditions he will be living.

When our revolution started three years ago, so many attempts were planned to strike our revolution. Actually, all commando organizations after June 1967, a very well-known date to you, started and their eyes aimed at the conquered land. But when the revolution went on, so many forces – our enemies – put so many plans to beat this revolution. America is against this. We know this very well. We feel this very well. We felt it last year from the aid of the Phantoms. America is against our revolution, they work to crush our revolution. They work through the reactionary regime in Jordan and the reactionary regime in Lebanon. They tried on the forth of November in 1968 to crush the revolution.

Nevertheless; during events here, all of us were aiming for the conquered land. This was the first attempt on the 4th of November 1968. A second attempt, four months ago, on the 10th of February and during the last week we lived the 3rd attempt. Actually, they are working daily against the revolution. Every day. These dates are the peaks only. When their attempts reached a certain high level, every time we lose men, we lose blood, we give sacrifices. On the 10th of February, there was something like 50 casualties at least. Regarding this 3rd attempt from the reactionary regime to smash the revolution, and people who live here in Jordan know it very well and feel it very well, the reactionary regime started this. Anybody who lives in Jordan knows this very well. We can’t base our revolution on lies. I am talking facts here.

Last Saturday, there was an incident here in Amman. On Sunday, there was an incident Zarqa. And then things flared. This time, we felt, to be frank with you, that this attempt, at least from their point of view, seems to be the final attempt. I mean to say; we felt that this time they are determined to smash the revolution no matter what level the sacrifices were. Here, we felt that we have all the right in the world to protect our revolution. We remembered all the miseries, all the injustices, our people and the conditions they lived, the coldness with which world opinion looks at our case, and so we felt that we will not permit them to crush us.

We will defend ourselves and our revolution by every way and every means, because – as I told you – our code of morals is our revolution. Anything that protects our revolution would be right. This is our line of thinking. So we put counterplans deciding that we should win. One of the items in this plan was you, what happened here. We felt that we have the full right to make pressure here on the reactionary regime and in America and all forces, and this will be a winning card in our hand. I am talking very frankly and I also have to be frank and tell you something; we were really determined. We were not joking.

I am so glad that things and conditions went the way they should, because – to be frank – we were fully determined, that in case they will smash us the camps, we will blow all this building and the Philadelphia all over. We were really determined to do this. Why? Because we know that our revolution will continue even if they crush us here in Amman and we want your governments to know that from now on the Front will mean every word it says, we were fully determined to blow this Hotel and the Philadelphia Hotel on one condition and in one circumstance, we were keen not to lose our nerves. They are very determined, by their tanks, artillery and airplanes, to smash us.

You are not better that our people. In the last incidents there was something like 500 casualties, the least number, believe me, the least number. Yesterday, I was in one hospital only, where the doctors told me that there are 280 wounded and 60 dead. Dead fighters.

Ladies and Gentlemen;

I fell so much released now that we were not put in the corner, and forced to do all that we were determined to do, in case conditions went in that way. I know the liberal way of thinking, I know it very well. I know how much it would be difficult to convince you. I know that some of you will be saying at present; “What do I have to do with these conditions? This is very unfair and very unjust and rude and selfish”. All right, conditions in which people live – these conditions, actually, determine their way of thinking and code of morals. We tried our best – and I hope we succeeded in this – that during your presence in this Hotel under the auspices of the Front that you would be treated the best way we can. This is the first time we manage a hotel. Our men, I am sure, know how to fight very well, but I don’t know to what extent they were good at managing the Hotel. But instructions were very clear. I hope they succeeded in this.

I think we always helped you by keeping our nerves. The day before yesterday, Al-Wahdat camp was shelled for more than half an hour. Anyone of you can go to Al-Wahdat camp and see the places affected. It is very natural to start thinking that time of executing the item. We held our nerves very well.


Ladies and Gentlemen;

You have to excuse my English. From the personal side, let me say, I apologize to you. I am sorry about your troubles for 3 or 4 days. But from a revolutionary point of view, we feel, we will continue to feel that we have the very, very full right to do what we did.

Thank you very much.


Al Hakeem was talking to hostages, captured from the hijacked planes after a massive quadruple hijack operation and in the face of the US-backed Jordanian regime.

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