TEL AVIV – Palestinian leaders mourned the death of Cuban President Fidel Castro, hailing the revolutionary leader as a “comrade” to the Palestinian cause who supported the battle against “Zionist imperialism.”
The Palestinian National Council emphasized the close relationship between late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat and Castro, who lent support to “armed resistance” against Israel. At Castro’s behest, Arafat visited Cuba at least eight times.
The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), a Marxist-Leninist terror organization, praised the Cuban leader for his support of “the oppressed peoples of the world in their confrontation with imperialism, Zionism, racism and capitalism,” the independent Palestinian Ma’an news agency reported.
“Cuba stood with the Palestinian people and their liberation movement in all facets of the international struggle, building a revolutionary alliance for collective movement against imperialism, colonialism and its particular manifestation in Palestine, Zionism,” the PFLP said in a statement. “Zionism has been a key weapon of racist oppression, a fact recognized by Fidel Castro and the Cuban people and state.”
The PFLP also hailed the 1959 Cuban revolution for turning the island nation into “an example of the nationalization of production, the division of wealth, and the construction of exceptional free education and health care systems.”
“From Angola to South Africa, Palestine to Mozambique, Bolivia to El Salvador, Castro’s legacy of international revolutionary solidarity and struggle continues to serve as an example in practice that transcends borders of revolution, democracy and socialism,” the statement continued.
Secretary-General Nayif Hawatmeh of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine on Saturday mourned “the departure of the comrade, the leader, the friend, the great revolutionary, the patriot, and the nationalist Fidel Castro is a great loss for all revolutionary and nationalist forces around the world.”
Cuba first condemned Israel at the United Nations following the 1967 Six Day War. According to Al Jazeera, the Cuban leader then began providing military support to the Fatah movement and other Palestinian “resistance” groups, eventually training Palestinian terrorists during the First Intifada against Israel in the 1980s.
In the aftermath of the Yom Kippur War in 1973, the revolutionary leader severed diplomatic ties with Israel.
In 2014, Castro charged Israel with committing a “Palestinian Holocaust” in Gaza during the summer conflict with Hamas, describing Operation Protective Edge as a “repugnant form of fascism.”