Leila Khaled: Hijacker

Synopsis: Leila Khaled was the first woman to hijack a plane. In 1969, she showed her grenades to the terrified passengers by order of the Che Guevara commando unit of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. Through the ensuing media bombardment, she put the Palestinian nation on the global map. The pretty 24-year-old Leila became a hero to many Palestinians, including the Swedish/Palestinian teenager Lina Makboul, who is now a filmmaker. At least Leila dared to do something, Lina thought at the time. She visits Leila 35 years later with a camera, and finds a woman who does not regret anything.
Genre: Documentary
58 min

The woman over there,

with the cases, is a terrorist.

With two hand grenades

taped to her waist

and a pistol tucked

into her panties

she became the first woman

ever to hi-jack an airplane.

That's why she became my idol.

Supposing during any of these

operations she was killed

- what would you think then,

your own sister?

Yes, I would feel proud for that she is...

she's one of a freedom fighter...

for their own land and

for their own country...

There is no way how to use

terror against civilians.

You can't justify it.

There is no way.

They trained for it and

went for it.

And I don't think it has helped

them at all, to tell you the truth.

I really don't think it

has helped them at all.

From a distance you

could tell that they were young.

She especially was

young and attractive.

I mean, she was a striking individual

that you wouldn't associate

with a hijacking.

A not unattractive girl, the Palestinians feels

she gives the movement a touch of glamour.

War is war.

We have to fight our enemy

until we go back to our country.

Our demands and

conditions are very clear:

The release of comrade Leila Khaled.

What are they going to do...

when they'll be free?

This young lady will go to a convent?

She will get married and raise children?

If it does good for my cause,

I'll be happy to accept death.

The story of Leila Khaled

begins in Haifa.

An lsraeli port

on the Mediterranean Sea.

She was born here

on the 9th of April 1944.

At that time, Haifa

was part of Palestine.

This is the earliest photo

of Leila Khaled.

She's the one to the left

of her brothers and sisters

standing in front of the family

home on Stanton Street.

Far away from

what's going on in Europe...

Just one month

after this photo was taken

Leila turns four and becomes a refugee.

Palestine becomes lsrael.

The victims of the Holocaust have,

after years in exile,

a country they can call their own.

Journey's end.

The first of ten thousand Jewish

refugees arrive at Haifa.

Reunions between long lost relations

now write a happy ending to a tragic story.

But the situation in

the new nation is untenable.

These men are members of

the Jewish terrorist group

known as the Stern Gang,

best known for the assassination

of Folke Bernadotte,

the Swedish UN negotiator.

On Leila's fourth birthday,

they kill hundreds of people

in the village of Deir Yassin.

The Palestinian population

is in panic.

Leila's family does

what everybody else does.

They leave their home

in fear of their lives.

Leila's father stays in Haifa to fight

in the Arab-lsraeli war,

to get his home back.

The rest of the family flees to Lebanon.

Life in Lebanon is about endurance.

And waiting.

Everything will be fine

if they can Just return.

This photo was taken in 1967.

It's one of the few photos

in which Leila is smiling.

Maybe because she has just

packed her bags

and bought a one-way ticket to Haifa.

She's convinced she will at last return.

This is the man who raised her hopes.

The Egyptian president,

Gamal Abdel Nasser.

He has promised that

the Palestinians will return.

Today, the President said:

if lsrael threatens war, we are ready.

At last he has come, the leader

that would demand their return.

To many outside Egypt he became

a symbol of resistance

to western colonialism and imperialism.

He's defied lsrael and its

powerful allies in the West.

The world holds its breath.

And Leila Khaled believes him.

Exile will soon be a distant memory.

The time has come.

On June the fifth lsraeli planes struck

the Egyptian air force on the ground.

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    "Leila Khaled: Hijacker" Scripts.com. STANDS4 LLC, 2021. Web. 11 Apr. 2021. <https://www.scripts.com/script/leila_khaled:_hijacker_12430>.

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