Our comrade Ilan Halevi has left us, and an important chapter in the Palestinian struggle for national liberation thus closes.
Ilan Halevi (Photo: Collectif Urgence Palestine)
Exactly a year ago, Ilan and I shared a platform at the University of France with the Palestine Solidarity Association (AFPS). If Ilan's body betrayed his fatigue and its many failures, his mind displayed the same clarity that I had known for more than four decades. A few months later it was in a hospital that I met him, further weakened and now with great difficulty in expressing himself clearly.
We do not inherit our identity but create it, on the basis of genetic and sociological data, and this identity is always multiple. Yet I have not known anyone with such a multiple identity as Ilan. Let Ilan speak for one last time: "I am 100% Jew, I am 100% Arab."
In deciding after the 1967 war to move to Israel, Ilan chose to be 100% Israeli. In 1968 he joined the anti-Zionist left group Matzpen, helping to strengthen the anti-colonial coherence of it programme and fighting for unconditional support to the Palestinian struggle for national liberation. After leaving Israel in 1974, he joined the ranks of the PLO and quickly became 100% Palestinian.
It is in the ranks of the PLO and Fatah in which Ilan became a leader. Here he could utilise his immense talents in writing but also in speaking and polemics in both the political sphere and diplomacy. Ilan's footprint in the Palestinian-Israeli negotiations, as well as in his role as a Fatah representative in the Fourth Socialist International is indelible. His unmatched ability of persuasion could break many locks intended to isolate Palestine in the international arena. It is no exaggeration to say that Ilan Halevi has played a key role in the long process of recognition of Palestine by the international community.
Ilan devoted his entire life to the struggle, often at the expense of his family and always to the detriment of his health, which he allowed to deteriorate on the altar of his 100 percent commitment.
Palestine lost a son today, the PLO an officer, and his very many friends in Beirut, Paris, Tel Aviv, Bamako, Ramallah and San Francisco mourn a brother and a friend.