A Heroine of the People: Leila Khaled’s Legacy

Leila Khaled is a name that has become synonymous with the Palestinian resistance movement. As a member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), she gained international notoriety for her role in several high-profile hijackings in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Today, she remains a revered figure among many Palestinians and other activists who see her as a symbol of courage and resilience in the face of occupation and oppression.

Early Life and Political Activism

Leila Khaled was born on April 9, 1944, in Haifa, Palestine (now Israel). Her family fled to Lebanon during the 1948 Arab-Israeli War and later moved to Jordan, where Leila grew up. As a young woman, Leila became involved in political activism and joined the PFLP, a Marxist-Leninist organization that advocated for the armed struggle against Israeli occupation.

A Heroine of the People: Leila Khaled's Legacy
Image from Getty image

World Conference of the UN Decade for Women in Copenhagen July 14th and 13th. Among the delegates already in town is Leila Khaled, who was in the news some years ago due to her involvement in air hijacking.

The Hijackings

Leila’s most famous operation came in 1969 when she was involved in the hijacking of an Israeli El Al flight from Rome to Tel Aviv. The plane was diverted to Damascus, Syria, where Leila and her fellow hijackers demanded the release of several Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli jails. Although no one was killed in the hijacking, Leila’s actions earned her notoriety and made her a symbol of Palestinian resistance.

In 1970, Leila was involved in the hijacking of four commercial planes. The planes, which were flying from Europe to New York City, were hijacked by a group of PFLP members, including Leila. The hijackers separated Jewish passengers from non-Jewish passengers and kept the Jewish passengers as hostages. The hijackers demanded the release of several Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli jails, as well as two German terrorists who were being held in a German prison.

A Heroine of the People: Leila Khaled's Legacy
Image from Getty image

Layla Khaled, one of two hijackers of an American T.W.A. jetliner in Damascus 8/29, smiles after returning to her guerrilla base in Jordan. A time bomb seriously damaged the jet. Two Israeli passengers are still being held in Syria.

The planes were diverted to various locations, including Dawson’s Field, an abandoned British airfield in Jordan. The hostages were eventually released after several weeks of negotiations, and the hijackers were given safe passage out of Jordan. The hijacking was a bold and audacious operation that put the Palestinian cause on the international stage.

Continuing Activism and Advocacy

In recent years, Leila has continued to be involved in Palestinian activism and advocacy. She has spoken at conferences and rallies and has been involved in international campaigns to support Palestinian rights. She has also been critical of some of the policies of the Palestinian Authority, which she sees as being too conciliatory towards Israel.

Leila’s activism and advocacy have inspired many young Palestinians and other activists around the world. Her legacy continues to be felt in the ongoing struggle for Palestinian rights and self-determination.

Leila Khaled Today

Leila Khaled is now in her late 70s, but she remains an active and outspoken advocate for the Palestinian cause. In recent years, she has faced some challenges and controversy regarding her participation in public events and speaking engagements.

A Heroine of the People: Leila Khaled's Legacy
 Photo by Ihsaan Haffejee/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Challenges and Controversy

In 2016, Lelia was scheduled to speak at an event at San Francisco State University, but the event was canceled due to pressure from pro-Israel groups and concerns about the safety of attendees. In response, Lelia filed a lawsuit against the university, alleging that her free speech rights had been violated. The lawsuit was eventually settled out of court, with the university agreeing to host a future event featuring Lelia and other Palestinian speakers.

In 2017, Lelia was scheduled to speak at a conference in Germany, but her visa was revoked by the German government due to her involvement in “terrorism.” The decision was widely criticized by Palestinian activists and human rights groups, who argued that Lelia was being unfairly targeted for her political views.

Despite these challenges, Lelia remains a vocal and active advocate for Palestinian rights. She continues to speak at events around the world, and her message of resistance and solidarity with the Palestinian people resonates with many who share her vision for a just and peaceful resolution to the conflict.

Legacy and Controversy

Leila’s actions earned her both praise and condemnation. To many Palestinians, she was a hero who was willing to take bold and daring actions to draw attention to their cause. To many Israelis and others, she was a terrorist who had committed acts of violence against innocent civilians.

Photo by WATFORD/Mirrorpix/Mirrorpix via Getty Images

A TWA 707 and a Swissair DC-8 had been hijacked earlier by other members of the group and force them to land outside Amman, Jordan at Dawson’s Field.The Militants blow up all three planes after removing the passengers and holding a number of them hostage for several weeks until British, West German, Swiss, and Israeli authorities agreed to release Leila Khaled who along with a male partner had tried to hijack an EL AL flight from Amsterdam. September 1970

In the years that followed the hijackings, Leila continued to be involved in Palestinian activism, although she was less active in armed operations. She became a symbol of Palestinian resistance, and her image adorned posters, T-shirts, and other forms of memorabilia.

Despite her controversial legacy, Leila remains a revered figure among many Palestinians and other activists who see her as a symbol of courage and resilience in the face of occupation and oppression.

Her Legacy and Influence on people’s

Lelia Khaled’s legacy as a symbol of Palestinian resistance and resilience is undeniable. Her actions in the 1960s and 1970s helped to draw international attention to the Palestinian cause, and her image and words continue to inspire activists around the world.

In addition to her activism, Lelia has also been an important figure in the feminist movement in Palestine and the Arab world. She has spoken out against gender-based violence and discrimination and has advocated for women’s rights and gender equality.

Lelia’s influence extends beyond the realm of activism and politics. She has been the subject of numerous books, documentaries, and films, and her life story has inspired artists, writers, and musicians around the world.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *