The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine salutes the memory of Abu Amal (Mohammed Abdel Karim Khatib), who led the battle of Palestinian forces in Tel al-Zaatar refugee camp in Lebanon against besieging and invading fascist forces. August 12, 2013 marks the 36th anniversary of the massacre at Tel al-Zaatar.
The people of Tel al-Zaatar sent out a message from the besieged camp to the world in July 1976:
“We speak to you now … not to obtain sympathy but from a position of heroic steadfastness which this camp has maintained for every moment of this long siege … But we wish to inform you that we will fight in defense of this camp with our bare hands if all our ammunition is spent and all our weapons are gone, and that we will tighten our belts so that hunger will not kill us. For we have taken a decision not to surrender and we shall not surrender ….
We have survived hunger, thirst and a total lack of medicines, with a potential for steadfastness which no one can paralyze or break. For we know that in defending our camp, we are in fact defending our very existence, the life of our people, their will to exist, and their determination to struggle for their return to their homeland.”
On August 12, right-wing Lebanese forces attacked the camp when camp residents believed the Red Cross was entering to provide humanitarian assistance and evacuation. Two thousand Palestinians were killed and thousands more forced to flee as the camp was razed. Abu Amal and all of the people of Tel al-Zaatar who fought beside him until the end vowed to keep fighting on – until liberation. Tel al-Zaatar is not only the memory of a massacre, it is the symbol of undaunted resistance and an unbroken revolutionary spirit.