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This is a set of short biographies of some of the major Palestinian political leaders since 1967

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George Hazboun: Leading trade unionist, founded Bethlehem General Workers Union in 1964, and its subsequent chairman; one of the founders of the West Bank General Federation of Trade Unions, & its vice-chair from 1978. Served as deputy mayor of Bethlehem from 1976 (stood as independent; narrowly lost to Frayj) to Jan83. Closely linked to PCP; & established in 1979 & led (with 'Adel Ghanem) the Progressive Workers' Bloc.

Amin al-Hindi: head of the Palestinian General Intelligence Service, with the rank of General. A Gazan, was appointed a senior security officer in Fatah from 1970s. Reportedly coordinated the PLO's relations with the CIA through the 1980s. Through his deputy in the West Bank, Tawfiq Tirawi, he has openly challenged Rajub's power (reaching the level of small arms battles in Jenin in Aug98). Offered resignation on 16Jul04, but was retained.

Abd al-Fattah Hmud [Abu Salah]: early Fatah leader. Refugee from al-Tin (al-Majdal), orig. in Muslim Brotherhood. Became a Fatah-CC member, based in Saudi, & appointed to head regional command in Jordan in Feb68. Died on 28Feb in a car crash, on his way to take up his post.

Abd al-Fattah Humayl: PA minister without portfolio and PLC member (Ramallah). b.1950, Kufr Malik. Trained at military college in Baghdad; imprisoned for 17 years before being released in the 1985 prisoner exchange. Imprisoned again from 1990; deported to Jordan in 1992. On returning to Ramallah in 1994, he served as Fatah's S-G for Ramallah district.

Faysal al-Husayni: son of ‘Abd al-Qadir al-Husayni, grandson of Muza Kazim al-Husayni. b.17/7/1940 in Baghdad where ‘Abd al-Qadir lived after Arab Revolt; grew up mostly in Cairo (and was active in GUPS) & returned to Iraq to train as a scientist & as a military strategist at Iraq Military Academy. Originally joined ANM in 1957/1963[?] (reportedly arrested in Iraq for opposition to Qasim in 1959); received commando training in Egypt in 1963. Went on to work as PLO head of popular organisation in the West Bank from 1964, & received further training as part of PLA in Aleppo, Syria. From 1967, returned to West Bank, where worked with PPSF & Fatah, whilst also acting as ANM military commander in West Bank from Aug67 until arrested in Oct67 for arms possession (imprisoned for 1 yr). On release, worked as an x-ray technician in Jerusalem (1969-77); studied history in Beirut. Founded Jerusalem-based Arab Studies Society in 1979, whilst resident in Suwana; & joined Islamic Council in 1982, & held under house arrest 1982-7. Repeatedly imprisoned by Israel from Apr87-Jan89, but remained active in preparing statements for the intifada. Led preparatory talks for Madrid with James Baker in 1990, & was part of the Palestinian steering committee from 1991; but Israel prevented him from taking a direct role in the talks for 2 years; he became head of Palestinian delegation to Madrid talks in 1993. Headed Fatah High Command in the West Bank from 1994, & so coopted to Fatah-CC; served as PLO representative to Jerusalem on the PLO-EC (since Apr96), based at Orient House. Then minister without portfolio in PA & member of final status negotiating team. A Hebrew speaker, he often presented the Palestinian viewpt to Israeli audiences; also a keen researcher of Arab heritage in Jerusalem. d. of a heart attack on 31May01, whilst acting as 1st PLO leader to visit Kuwait since the Gulf War.

Shafiq al-Hut: Veteran PLO leader. b.1932, Jaffa, fleeing with family in 1948 to Beirut. Obtained a BA in biology from AUB, then worked as a teacher, before making his way from 1958 as a pro-Nasir journalist for Beirut newspapers. As a leading figure in a group of intellectuals called the Palestine Liberation Front (established 1961), he wrote a pamphlet, Tariq al-‘Awda (1963) which was taken into name of group (Palestine Liberation Front-Path of Return: PLF-PR). Formed alliance with Shuqayri, who made him PLO rep in Beirut (1965, a position he held until 1993) & onto PLO-EC (Jul66), encouraging the formation of Palestinian associations in Lebanon, through which to recruit activists. PLF-PR incorporated Palestine National Liberation Front of Ahmad al-Sa‘di in 1966; and obtained recruits for PLA. West Bank PLF-PR supported Fatah, & eventually incorporated itself into it by Sept68 after Hut decided to leave. Thought to have been offered position as PLO spokesman after Kamal Nasir’s death, but refused; but did serve as PLO rep to the UNGA on various occasions. As the PLO rep in Lebanon, took a key role in managing the Palestinian position in the conflict & civil war, narrowly avoiding assassination on various occasions, esp by al-Sa‘iqa in Jan76. Opposed Oslo, & suspended his participation in PLO-EC, removing himself from all positions in PLO. Remains critical of leadership's stance towards refugee Palestinians & esp those in Lebanon; helps in coordinating Damascus groups.

Ghazi al-Jabali: PA head of civil police from 1994, based in Gaza, with status of Brigadier-General. Member of PLO-CC. Israel has been demanding his transfer to Israeli custody since 1998, accusing him of coordinating Palestinian police attacks on Israel. Is also noted for abuses against Palestinians, eg repeated detention of human rights activists; and for having threatened physical violence against foreign news correspondents (eg Reuters in Nov94). Has engaged in regular crackdowns on Hamas, especially the killing of 14 outside Gaza's Filastin mosque, Nov94. Deeply unpopular, seemingly with all except ‘Arafat who blocked attempts to send him to serve as ambassador to Russia; his force's shooting of Palestinian demonstrators (inc the killing of a 13-yr old boy) in Oct01 provoked mass protests for his removal. ‘Arafat gave orders for his removal on 2Jul02; refused to comply until 4Jul, when he resigned, announcing his intention to stand against ‘Arafat in presidential elections. Was subsequently reinstated in his position. Kidnapped briefly on 16Jul04, and then dismissed from his position the following day.

Muhammad al-Ja‘bari: (1900-80): mayor ("king") of Hebron. Studied at al-Azhar, gaining degrees in 1918, 1921 & 1922; & a degree in Islamic law in 1931, then taking up title of Shaykh. Became mayor of Hebron under Mandatory rule from 1940. President of Dec48 Jericho conference, giving uncritical support to ‘Abdullah. Subsequently appointed to Jordanian Senate (1950-1, ’59-62, ’63-4) & cabinet (1955, ’58, ’59-60) on numerous occasions, as well as returning to position as mayor of Hebron from 1964. Owned Sawt al-Khalil & Ulema’s Conference magazines; President of Muslim Youth Assoc. Set up a public forum in Hebron, Lajnat al-Masalih al-‘Amma (Public Interests Committee) in 12/69; at 1st, contained 50 notables, expanded to c.150-300 during 1970-1. Intended to boost Ja’bari’s position against his widespread detractors (Jordan & PLO). Concentrated on local issues (arrests, house demolitions), but opposed strikes & demos. Did attempt to stretch his influence, requesting a meeting of all West Bank mayors in Apr70, but Israel refused permission. His position went uncontested in 1972 elections. Constantly shifting his position: after occupation, proposed a Palestinian State in the West Bank & Gaza (8-9/67), bringing strong criticism from Jordan; also earned vehement ire of PLO for this, for his negotiations with Israel for ‘autonomy’ in West Bank, & for rejecting the role of the PLO in any future negotiations; later spoke of sole authority to Jordan. Proposed creating a new pol party, the ‘Land Party’ in West Bank, independent of PLO. Did not run in 1976, giving his support to ‘independent’ candidates, none of whom were elected to the council.

Nabil al-Ja‘bari: Dentist, chancellor (from mid80s) & chair of the Board of Trustees at Hebron Uni. Was a member of the Palestinian delegation to the Madrid process; member of PNC. Clashed with the PA in Nov99 over his wish to keep Hebron Uni independent. 

Imil Jarjoui [Imil Musa Basil Jarjoui]: PLO-EC member; PLC member for Jerusalem (Fatah). Deals with Christian affairs for the PA, inc heading committee welcoming the Pope in Jan00. Owns the Christmas Hotel in Bethlehem.

Bassam Jarrar: Islamic intellectual. Leading member of Higher Islamic Council in Jerusalem; imam of Ramallah mosque; director of al-Nun centre for Qur’anic studies in al-Bira. Has harshly criticised the opening of a casino in Jericho & the model women’s parliament. Thought to be a Hamas supporter.

Ahmad Jibril: head of PFLP-GC. b.1935, Ramle; fled with family to Syria in 1948, and later became an army cadet, then an officer, rising to the rank of captain. Left army (alternatively: was expelled from army) with formation of UAR, & established Palestine Liberation Front in 1959, with close ties to Syrian army. Closely cooperation with Fatah after 1965, but merged group into creating the PFLP in 1967. Held operational leadership of PFLP whilst Habash was imprisoned, but after disagreements with Marxist turn, left to form PFLP-GC in Oct68. His eldest son, Muhammad Jihad Jibril, was killed in a car bomb in Beirut on 20May02, which Ahmad Jibril blamed on Israel.

Wasfi Kabha: Hamas member and PA minister for prisoners from 2006. Trained in civil engineering at the University of Detroit (BSc in 1984).

Sa‘id Kamal: From ANM background. Was deputy director of PLO’s pol department in mid70s; then PLO representative in Cairo at time of Sadat's visit to Jerusalem, and was kept there to continue discreet negotiations with Sadat. From at least mid90s, was assistant Secretary-General of the Arab League, responsible for Palestine affairs.

Zahira Kamal: Fida & women's leader in the West Bank. b.1945; trained as a physics teacher, after physics training at Cairo Uni & education diploma in Jordan. Emerged as leading activist at UNRWA's teacher training centre for women in Ramallah where she worked. Founder (in 1978) & head of the DFLP-affiliated Women's Work Committee, which became the Union of Palestinian Women’s Action Committees in 1989. WWC acted to mobilize women in professional, clerical & factory positions; thought to have had 5000 members in 1986 (Hiltermann, p.141). Became member of DFLP's politburo, & was held in administrative detention for 6 months in 1979; & then placed under town arrest (in Jerusalem) from Jun80-Mar86; though with UNRWA pressure was allowed to travel to Ramallah for work. Participated in 1st all-female meetings with leading Israeli female politicians in May89 Brussels conference; & joined ‘Abd-Rabbu as a member of the Madrid delegation in 1991. Retained UPWAC position until 1992, when joined Fida in the DFLP split; became a member of its Executive Committee. From 1992, headed technical committee on women's affairs, dealing with interim negotiations. Appointed head of the PA's Gender Planning & Development Directorate (within Planning & International Development Ministry) in Nov95. Narrowly missed out on election to PLC in Jerusalem in 1996. Fida nominated her to take a place on ‘Abbas' first PA cabinet from Apr03; unclear why she was not included in the eventual cabinet approved on 29Apr03. More full biography here; more recent here.

Hamdi Kan‘an (Hamdi Tahir Kan‘an): mayor of Nablus from 1963. b.1910, and worked as a industrial entrepreneur, leading Nablus Chamber of Commerce as its S-G from 1950-65. Also a loyalist, also became critical of Jordan before 1967, eg as first signatory on a Nablus petition calling for the arming of West Bank frontline villagers after the Samu‘ attack & cooperation with PLO. After 1967, was a frequent contributor to al-Quds: he proposed the emergence of a local leadership, chosen through elections & probably leading to a federation with Jordan (1Jan69). He resigned from mayoral position on numerous occasions when his policy was opposed by other leading locals (usually over his insistence that elections should be held for municipal office), & on 12/9/68 (retracted after popular referendum: see SWB); but retracted each time until 12/3/69, when he finally left after Nablus population ignored his appeals for an end to demonstrations against Israeli occupation. Became more critical of Hashimites with Black September, but continued to see a role for Jordan in the West Bank’s future. Accepted UAK plan in 1972, & was intending to stand in 1972 municipal elections, but withdrew under PLO pressure. d.1981.

Ghassan Kanafani (Ghassan Fayiz Kanafani): writer & PFLP leader. b.9Apr36; from Acre, a 1948 refugee. Recruited to ANM in 1953. Had worked as an UNRWA teacher in Syria; but expelled from Damascus Uni (where he studying Arabic lit) in 1955 due to political activities. Thereafter, worked as a teacher in Kuwait 1955-60, combined with recruiting for ANM & acting as editor of al-Ra‘i; & moved to Beirut from 1960, to edit al-Hurriyya. Became leading member of PFLP, & was editor of al-Hadaf, its weekly magazine. Stories concern the trauma of uprooting & refugee life, esp Men in the Sun (1962), on the attempts by 3 Palestinian refugees, interpreting their present situation through their memories, to smuggle themselves from Lebanon to the Kuwait, but who die at the border; and Ard al-Burtuqal al-Hazin (Land of Sad Oranges, 1962): on the oranges bought by a Jaffan family as they flee northwards in 1948, as a memory = oranges as a metonym for the lost homeland. Return to Haifa (1967; lit: Returnee to Haifa), moves between 1948 & 1967, with a refugee returning to visit his former home after 1967. Major non-fictional works include: Adab al-muqawama fi Filastin al-muhtallah, 1948-66 (Beirut: Dar al-Adab, 1966); and his history of the 1936-39 revolt, orig in Shu’un Filastiniyya (1972), but reproduced in widely circulated Ar & English PFLP booklets. Married to Anni, a Danish activist. Killed by an Israeli car bomb in Beirut, 8Jul72, together with his niece.

Marwan Kanafani: PLC member for Gaza city; advisor to ‘Arafat. b.1938; brother of Ghassan Kanafani, & fluent in English & Fr. Grew up as a refugee in Lebanon & Syria; then worked as a football player in Egypt until mid60s, where joined PLO & studied at an Egyptian uni. Married Egyptian TV broadcaster Najwa Ibrahim; & lived pre-94 in the US. PLO’s information officer from 1989 until 1996; went on to lead the Palestinian Team on the Trilateral Anti-Incitement Committee. Says that his aim is to become Palestine’s foreign minister.

Sa‘id al-Karunz: PA minister of transport from Apr03; previously minister for industry from Aug98-Jun02. b.1958, al-Burayj, from a refugee family from al-Faluja. Trained in maths, achieving a BA at Mansura Uni Egypt, a MSc in Saskatchewan, Canada and a PhD at Purdue Uni. Worked as head of the maths and statistics dept at al-Azhar Uni in Gaza, then at Islamic Uni of Gaza. Lives in Nusayrat camp. Elected as a Fatah candidate to the PLC for Dayr al-Balah.

Abd al-Wahhab Kayyali: ALF leader & historian. b.1939/40, Jaffa. Grew up in Lebanon, where joined the Ba‘th party & was a leading member by 1960[?]. Graduated from AUB in 1968, & elected a member of the PNC whilst still a student. Leading member of ALF, serving as its Secretary-General from [at least] 1972-74 [not 1970 or 1975]; & in PLO-EC from Jan 1973 as its rep, heading Educational-Cultural Affairs Department. Took PhD at SOAS in Palestinian history; his history of Palestine (Tarikh Filastin al-hadith, 1970) was publd in Ar, & v.widely read, going through at least 9 edns; transld into English & Fr. Whilst in UK, participated in founding of Free Palestine [?]. After doctorate, founded the Arab Institute for Research & Publishing in Beirut; then returned to London with his American wife & established the Third World Centre in London in 1979. Assassination by unidentified gunmen in Beirut on 6Dec81.

Husam Khadr: PLC member for Nablus (Fatah independent), from Balata refugee camp & originating from Jaffa. b.8Dec61 in Kufr Romman, graduating from Nablus Uni in business administration & political sciences. Claims to have been arrested 23 times before the first intifada, including an 18 month detention and a 1 year house arrest. Helped create youth & student organisations at the start of the 1987 intifada, but was deported on 13Jan88 to S.Lebanon - the first activist to be deported during the intifada. In exile, represented PLO in Latin America; and elected representative of international Islamic Youth in Senegal, 1989; & Khartum, 1992. Became member of PNC's pol committee. Returned to Palestine on 5Apr94. Co-founded Fatah Higher Committee with Faysal al-Husayni & Marwan Barghuthi in 1994. Even though he came within the top 7 candidates in the Fatah primaries in Nablus, selecting candidates for the 7-member slate for the 1996 PLC elections, Fatah Central Committee overruled his membership of the slate; he ran, and was elected, as an independent candidate. After establishment of PA, took role as director of student & youth organisations at the Ministry of Sport & Youth; but became one of ‘Arafat’s sternest secular critics, esp re corruption & for refugee rights; has led strikes against the PA, & has had his membership of Fatah revoked. Opposes ‘Arafat’s reelection (in Jul02 interview); and refused to attend the reconvening of the PLC in Oct02. Heads the Association for the Defence of Palestinian Refugee Rights, opposed to abandoning the right of return in a deal with Israel. Israeli forces stormed his house on 17Mar03, and are holding him on the allegation that he is aligned with the al-Aqsa brigade, and is a recipient of illegal funds from Iran. Supportive website is here.

Karim Khalaf: mayor of Ramallah. b.1935-8[?], a Greek Orthodox Christian, trained at Cairo Law School & criminal lawyer in Israeli military government (District Attorney for Ramallah, Judge in Jericho). Elected mayor of Ramallah in 1972. Supported non-cooperation with the military government, and was pivotal in the creation of the PNF; coordinated contacts with PLO. On 2Jun80, was maimed by bombs, later attributed to Israeli settlers, losing his R leg. Dismissed & replaced with Israeli official in Mar82, & placed under town arrest in Jericho. Portrayed the Fez resolutions as the PLO's definitive acceptance of a 2 State solution (eg, in New Outlook, Feb84). Died of a heart attack on 30Mar85.

Salah Khalaf [Abu Iyad]: Fatah leader & chief ideologue. b.31Aug33, Jaffa, where attended Marwaniyya school; a refugee in 1948 to Gaza, where he acquired paramilitary youth training through the Muslim Brotherhood (in the Shabab al-Tha‘r). Left Gaza in 1951 to train in Cairo as a teacher, and came to lead the Palestinian Students Union with ‘Arafat, firstly as ‘Arafat's deputy (1952-6) & then president (1956-7). After teaching in Gaza, moved to Kuwait where he was a founder of Fatah. Khalaf attributing the model to the FLN in Algeria (autobiog, 24); claimed his other personal influences were Lenin, Mao, Fanon (ibid, 34-35). Chief of PLO ‘Special Services’ (the Revolutionary Surveillance Directorate, Mufawwadiyya al-Rasd al-Thawri) from 1968 until Sept71, & then the Jordan Affairs Bureau (created Mar72) to conduct operations there; widely credited with Black Sept operations, tho he claimed to know them without participating (ibid, 97-114). 1st Fatah advocate of the Democratic State from 10Oct68; & of 2 State solution from Feb74. In Apr89, recorded a video message to Israel appealing for a 2 State solution. A leftist, & critical of the conservative Arab governments, he maintained close ties with PFLP & DFLP; & opposed ‘Arafat’s reconciliation talks with Mubarak in Dec83. Strongly critical of Iraq's invasion of Kuwait; he reportedly told Saddam Husayn that he was destroying the Palestinian movement. This seems to have led to his assassination on 14Jan91 in Tunis by the Abu Nidal faction. His autobiography is My Home, My Land (1981); a tribute is here.

Taysir Khalid (Mahmud Odeh): DFLP political leader, and its representative on the PLO-EC. Based in Nablus. Wounded by a rubber bullet to the back of his head when Israeli troops fired on an anti-settlement demonstration at 'Asira, nr Nablus, on 28Mar98. Acted as an "adviser" to ‘Arafat at Camp David in 2000, although his participation appears to have been minimal. His short article on the Oslo proposals (Feb97) is here. Was arrested in late 2002 by Israeli forces, and was released on 2Jun03.

Samiha Khalil: Women's rights activist. b.Anabta, Tulkarm, but lived in Ashqalon before 1948; became refugee in the Gaza Strip 1948 until she left by boat for Beirut, and then moved to the West Bank, where she worked for charities. Member of the PNC since 1965; also since 1965, president of the Women's Federation Society of El-Bireh, the Union for Voluntary Women's societies, and the General Union of Palestinian Women (GUPW); founder (in 1967) & president of In'ash al-Usra Society. Was the only person to stand against 'Arafat in the 1996 presidential elections; won 12% of the vote. Died on 26Feb99.

Anwar al-Khatib (b.1911, Hebron; d. Feb93): Jerusalem leader. Brought up in Hebron, he trained first in social science at the Arab college in Jerusalem, and worked as a teacher in Beersheba and al-Rashidiyya school in Jerusalem, whilst also training in law (finally achieved his BA in mid-40s). Was a member of Hajj Amin’s AHC, imprisoned for 6 months and dismissed from his job. Moved to Baghdad, then Muscat, until 1945 when he returned to Jerusalem & was appointed Sec-Gen of the Waqf administration. Appointed mayor of Jerusalem in Oct48 until the Jordanian annexation. Elected as a member of the Jordanian parliament from 1951-4, and became supportive of the Jordanian position in the West Bank: held various positions in the cabinet 1961-5 [?], inc minister for economics & construction (from 1953[?]), then the first Jordanian ambassador to Egypt with the resumption of relations (1964), & then governor of Jerusalem district (from 1965). Continued to represent a pro-Egyptian & pro-Jordanian position in the West Bank after 1967. Israel placed under house arrest in Safad for 2 months in 1967 due to his opposition to the occupation. Continued to represent pro-Jordanian interests in the West Bank, including through the Supreme Islamic Board (which he helped establish in 1967), and spoke on its behalf often during the 1987-93 intifada; he was strongly criticised by the PLO throughout for this role. However, was also privately critical of Jordan, eg writing a series of anonymous articles in al-Quds in Mar72 against Husayn’s UAK plan, & arguing that Palestinians had a distinctive identity. Signed the (unreleased) "Palestinian Peace Document" of Nov82 which recognised the PLO as the sole legitimate representative, but urged them to authorise King Husayn to negotiate on Palestinians' behalf and to accept a confederation with Jordan. Served as member of the Jordanian delegation to the Madrid talks.

Ghassan al-Khatib: PA Minister of Labour, from 9Jun02. Leading member of PPP, director of Jerusalem Media & Communication Centre. b.1954, Nablus; trained in economics at Manchester Uni, and obtained an MA in Development Studies. Active in PNF & was in Israeli detention from 1974 to 1977 for this. Also works as lecturer in cultural studies at BZU; and is head of the non-profit United Agricultural Company, channelling foreign aid to West Bank farmers. Was member of Palestinian delegation to Madrid process, which he boycotted from Apr93. Signatory of Dec01 statement criticising PA's arrest of leftist activists. Is the Palestinian editor of Bitter Lemons; and is in the process of completing a PhD in Middle East politics at Durham University. Mahmud ‘Abbas has sought to demote him to the position of Tourism Minister from Apr03.

Ruhi al-Khatib: b.1914; appointed mayor of Jerusalem in 1957; dismissed & deported on 3Mar68 for his role in leading the Muslim Council; continued to speak out against Israeli annexation of East Jerusalem, through the Save Jerusalem Committee. Consistently pro-Jordanian. Returned to West Bank in May93; died 6Jul94.
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