Abu 'Ali Mustafa at the PLO Central Council meeting in Gaza in February 2000 (French)

Abu Ali Mustafa is a Palestinian activist born in Jenin in 1938, known for his affiliation with the Arab Nationalist Movement and his alignment with the historical nationalist line of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, and took positions against the leftist group.

He led the first patrols to liberate Palestine across the Jordan River, rebuilt the organization and deployed military cells, coordinated activities between the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, was arrested twice, and Israel tried to assassinate him several times, succeeding in 2001.

Abu Ali was known for his asceticism and simple life, and he was a unitary personality, and the poles of the Palestinian struggle rallied around him of different ideological backgrounds, and defended the option of his return to Palestine after the Oslo Accords, in the face of a torrent of sharp criticism from some of his comrades and colleagues in the resistance factions that rejected the peaceful option of the Palestine Liberation Organization.

He considered that the central arena of confrontation with the occupation is the occupied interior, and he must be present in it, and he is the author of the famous saying, "We returned to resist, not to compromise", and this was accompanied by continuous work to build his organization and prepare it on the ground for any future confrontation with the occupation, which led to his assassination by the occupation forces during the Al-Aqsa Intifada.

Abu Ali (left) receives Khaled Mashaal, head of Hamas' political bureau in 1999 (French)

Birth and upbringing

Mustafa Ali al-Ali al-Zubri, known as "Abu Ali Mustafa," was born in the town of Arraba in the Jenin governorate on May 14, 1938, exactly 10 years before the establishment of an occupation state on the land of Palestine was declared.

His father had been a farmer in the town since 1948, having worked in the Haifa railway and port, and was a participant in the Great Palestinian Revolt of 1936.

Abu Ali is married with five children and is the older brother of Tayseer al-Zubri, a leader of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP) and the first secretary-general of Jordan's Democratic People's Party (Hashd) since its founding in 5.

Study and scientific training

Abu Ali studied the first stage in his hometown of Araba, then moved in 1950 with his family to Amman, where he began his working life and completed his studies.

He also underwent the military course for the graduation of fedayeen officers at the Egyptian "Anshas" school in 1965.

Yasser Arafat receives Abu Ali in 1999 in Cairo after Israel allows him to return (French)

Political and practical experience

Before devoting himself to militant work, Abu Ali worked as a correspondent at the Bank for Reconstruction and Development, and worked in a carpentry, a glass shop, a cardboard factory, and many other simple and numerous works, and his belonging to the poor and the working class contributed profoundly to the formation of his thought, personality and behavior, and this gave him an innate sense of the issues and concerns of the toilers.

At the age of 17, Abu Ali joined the Arab Nationalist Movement, founded in 1955 by George Habash, nicknamed "Hakim" and former secretary-general of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.

He was arrested two years later, when Jordan declared martial law and dissolved political parties. He was tried before a military court and spent five years in al-Jafr prison in the Jordanian desert.

In 1963, Abu Ali met his companion in the struggle, um Hani, and that was immediately after his release, and he married her on July 23, 1964, and insisted on this date out of love for the leader Gamal Abdel Nasser.

After the marriage, he and his family moved to Jenin, lived in the eastern neighborhood, opened a shop for agricultural materials, and then turned it into a popular restaurant for beans, chickpeas and falafel.

Abu Ali remained aligned with the PFLP's historical nationalist line and took positions against the leftist group led by Nayef Hawatmeh, Abd al-Karim Hamad, Yasser Abd Rabbo, and Qais al-Samarrai, who defected from the Front in 1969 and took the name Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine.

From left Abu Ali, Arafat and Za'noun at a meeting in Gaza in 2000 (French)

Throughout his struggle and political career, he stood by Habash and the first leadership of the nationalist movement, Wadih Haddad, Hani al-Hindi, Habash, Ahmed al-Khatib, Hamid al-Jubouri and Saleh Shibl, and alongside new leaders such as Ahmed al-Yamani, Ghassan Kanafani and Tayseer Qabaa. Abu Ali paid little attention to Marxism-Leninism, which the Popular Front committed itself to at its Third Congress in 1972.

After completing his training course in Anshas in 1965, Abu Ali returned to Jenin to lead the work of the Arab Nationalist Movement in the northern region of the West Bank, until he was re-arrested in 1966, after the events of the Battle of Samu', south of Hebron, and remained in prison for several months, before being released the following year, after the defeat of June 1967.

Abu Ali led the first patrols to the Palestinian homeland across the Jordan River, smuggled weapons into the country, rebuilt the organization, deployed military cells, and coordinated activities between the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. He was pursued by the occupation and disappeared for several months in the West Bank at the beginning of the establishment of the Front, and took charge of the interior in the leadership of the Popular Front, and then became the military official of its forces in Jordan until 1971.

He was the military commander of the Front during the battles of the resistance in its early years against the occupation, and Abu Ali participated in the battle of Karama in 1968 and the confrontations of Jerash and Ajloun against the Jordanian army in "Black September" in 1970. He secretly left Jordan for Lebanon in 1971.

While in Lebanon, Abu Ali participated in resisting the Israeli invasion in 1982, went out with Palestinian resistance elements to Syria, headed the delegation of the Popular Front in its dialogue with the National Liberation Movement (Fatah) in Aden and Algeria in 1984 and in Bulgaria in 1987, and became a member of the Central Council, and a member of the Executive Committee of the PLO between 1987 and 1991.

Abu 'Ali receiving him in the West Bank on his return on September 30, 1999 (French)

Functions and responsibilities

After his release from prison in 1966, Abu Ali assumed command of the northern region of the West Bank and co-founded the "First Commando Unit" within the Arab Nationalist Movement, which was concerned with operating inside Palestine.

In 1967, Abu Ali co-founded with Habash the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), and held several positions there, becoming deputy secretary-general for the past three decades, and then secretary-general in 2000, after the resignation of Habash, who had been his companion for 45 years.

One year, Abu Ali became a member of the Palestinian National Council, following the transformations of the PLO and the rise of guerrilla organizations to the PLO leadership after the resignation of Ahmad al-Shugairi. He was also elected to the Central Committee of the Front in 1969 and a member of the Daily Command in 1970.

At the Third National Congress in 1972, Abu Ali was elected Deputy Secretary-General, until 2000. At the Sixth National Congress in 2000, he was elected Secretary-General of the Popular Front, a position he held until his martyrdom in 2001.

Abu Ali with his mother on his return to the West Bank village of Araba after spending 32 years in exile (French)


The attempt in which he was assassinated was not the first of its kind, as Abu Ali was subjected to several attempts, the most prominent of which was in the Cola area of Beirut, where he lived in an apartment in a 12-story building, and a car bomb with explosives was parked under the building, but the vigilance of his security apparatus made him discover it.

Before that, while in the Jordan Valley region, his car was subjected to heavy artillery shelling, and the most optimistic did not think that the person in the car had survived, but Abu Ali managed to throw himself out of the car and hide in the nearby banana plantations until the danger passed.

After the Oslo Accords between the PLO and Israel in Norway in 1993, Abu Ali decided to return to the West Bank, despite the strong rejection and opposition of a number of his comrades. He was allowed to return in 1996 and received his national number as a Palestinian citizen of the town of Araba.

There at the "Bridge of Return" he famously announced his saying, "We returned to resist, not to compromise", and indeed Abu Ali did not calm down and did not rest, and Israel accused him of responsibility for a number of bombings in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and near Lod airport during the years 2000 and 2001. On August 27, 2001, Israeli warplanes assassinated him by bombing his office in Ramallah.

He was succeeded in the position of the Front's General Secretariat by Ahmad Sa'adat "Abu Ghassan," who did not hesitate to avenge him by assassinating the Israeli minister Rehavam Ze'evi on October 17, 2001.

Source : Palestinian Press