Leeds University investigating event with PFLP terrorist advocating 'armed struggle'

Leila Khaled, who took part in the hijacking of two flights, spoke to students at a virtual event


A Palestinian terrorist leader has addressed Leeds University students and advocated using “armed struggle” as a means of resistance.

Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) leader Leila Khaled, who became infamous during  1970s after hijacking two international flights,  spoke to students at a virtual event on Friday.  

During the Zoom meeting, organised by the Leeds University Palestine Solidarity Group, Ms Khaled told students that Palestinians are “not afraid of struggle”.

She went on to say: “We have used all means of struggle and we are still determined to continue using all means of struggle including armed struggle.”

Leeds Jewish Society and the Union of Jewish Students said they are “extremely disturbed and shocked” that the event took place.

"This event also included academics and students at the university, all being complicit in sharing this platform. It is imperative that Jewish students are able to access academic spaces, both virtual and physical, free of hate and prejudice,” they said.

Ms Khaled was part of a team that hijacked TWA Flight 840 on its way from Rome to Tel Aviv in August 1969.

A year later she participated in the attempted hijacking of an El Al flight from Amsterdam to New York City as part of the Dawson’s Field hijackings, a series of simultaneous hijackings carried out by the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP).

She was arrested in London, where the pilot diverted the plane, and later released in exchange for hostages from another hijacking.

In recent years she has lived in Amman, Jordan.

The Telegraph revealed that at last Friday’s  event, the chair of the meeting, Adam Saeed, told attendees: “I think we can all be inspired by this”.

He added: "Everything that she said about international law is true, it doesn't mean that anyone in this meeting endorses or encourages anyone to take arms, what it means is that under international law people are entitled to resist occupation in any means they see fit."

Prof James Dickins, from the university’s Arabic department, attended the event and gave a speech to students following Ms Khaled's address. 

A Leeds University spokesman said: “The student union only became aware of this online event the day before it was due to take place.

 “Organisers had not followed the required protocol and had not given sufficient notice – specifically about the existence of an external speaker ­– so permission for the event was denied.

 “We were disappointed that the event organisers chose to proceed without our permission. We are investigating this matter further.”



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