In a remarkable decision taken at the end of August, Germany’s Interior Ministry declined to bar the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) — listed as a terrorist organization by the US, Canada, the European Union, and Australia — “from campaigning as a political party in the September general election to the Bundestag.”

Yes, the PFLP — on a joint list with the Marxist-Leninist Party — plans to field candidates in this month’s elections in Germany and run for Parliament.

What is the PFLP? Formed shortly after Israel’s Six-Day War through the merger of three militant groups — The Young Avengers (Palestinian nationalists), The Heroes of the Return (based in Lebanon), and the Palestinian Liberation Front (which operated largely out of Syria and the West Bank) — it is today, after Fatah, the second largest faction in the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO). Described variously as a blend of “Palestinian nationalism with Marxist ideology” and as “a Palestinian nationalist organization with different ideological outlooks at different times (from Arab nationalist, to Maoist, to Leninist),” it has called for Israel’s destruction and international communist revolution.

Considered more radical than Fatah, it has, ever since its founding, routinely targeted civilians without remorse. During its early days, it was on friendly terms with Germany’s Red Army Faction (the Baader-Meinhof Gang) and received funding from the USSR and China. In recent years the PFLP has been chummy with Iran.

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