Arab A to Z
Who's Who





Saudi Arabia



PALESTINE: Home page

ABOUT PALESTINE: Books | Documents | Economy | Environment | Internet Intifada | Maps | Media | News | Politics | Refugees | Society | Travel | Who's Who

THIS SECTION: Who's Who index | A-B | C-M | N-R | S-Z  

The following biographical notes have been compiled (unless otherwise indicated) by Dr Glen Rangwala of Trinity College, Cambridge, and also appear on his own website. Any corrections and additions should be sent to

Muhammad Dahlan

Head of the Preventive Security Force in Gaza, with rank of colonel. Member of Fatah-RC. b.1961, Gaza, from a refugee family. Former leader of Fatah's Shabiba movement on the West Bank. Was imprisoned for long periods by Israel (1981-late 86), before being deported in 1988 to Jordan. He then joined the PLO in Tunis, where he coordinated with the intifada. Returned to Gaza in 1994. Believed to have drawn up an agreement at the Rome meeting in Jan 94 with senior IDF and Shin Bet officials a plan for containing Hamas (MEI520); frequent member of negotiating team on security issues for Israeli redeployments during the Oslo process, on the return of those expelled after 1967, and on prisoner releases; coordinates with US agencies often. Speaks Hebrew fluently. Sharon blamed him for an attack on a settlers' bus in Gaza in Nov 00, launched attacks on his offices and and said that he deserved to die. Reportedly tendered his resignation on 5 Nov 01, in opposition to the PA's policy of arresting PFLP and Jihad members; but refused by ‘Arafat. His article, "Our partners in life in this land", appeared in Ha'aretz on 31 Jan 02. Was a central figure in running the PA through the "Gang of 5" that took over during ‘Arafat's captivity (Mar-May 02), backed by ‘Asfur, ‘Urayqat, Rashid, Sha‘th, and favouring the creation of a unitary security apparatus that could return to an Oslo-style process (and opposing Rajub).

Ahmad Sidqi Dajani

Former director of PLO-RC. From the Jerusalem branch of the Dajani family, he has been a member of PNC from inception in 1964, and served on PLO-EC from 1966-67. In role as director of RC, was the co-founder of Shu’un Filastiniyya. Served on PLO-EC again from 1977-85, on wh he was chair of education and culture department. Was also representative of the PLO to the Europe-Arab dialogue. Chair of PNC Cultural, Science and Literature Committee, thus with place on PLO-CC.

Ibrahim Dakkak

Leader of Engineering Union. b.Jerusalem, 1929; studied mathematics and science at the Am.Uni.Cairo. From 1967-87 led West Bank Engineering Union; was chief engineer on al-Aqsa restoration project (1969-77). From 1977-91, chaired the Arab Thought Forum, wh he co-founded with Mahdi ‘Abd al-Hadi; and was NGC secretary. Placed under house arrest intermittently from Aug 80. Now deputy head of MAS (Palestine Economic Policy Research Institute), and member of the Board of Governors of PECDAR. Leading signatory of the Dec01 statement of secular-national critics of the PA's arrests of activists.

Bishara Dawud (Bishara Saliba Sulayman Dawud): 

Nationalist mayor of Bayt Jalla from 1976. Deposed in Sept 1978. Now a PLC member for Bethlehem, as an independent Christian (narrowly elected).

Mustafa Dudin

Anti-PLO leader on West Bank. An officer in the Mandatory Palestine Police, he served in Egyptian administration in Gaza Strip after 1948 up to 1965; after 1968, was Jordanian parliamentarian, cabinet minister and ambassador to Kuwait. After dispute with Jordan (over an offence committed by his brother), he returned to West Bank in 1975; and formed an anti-PLO armed militia, calling itself a "village league", in Dura village, Hebron district, in Aug 78. His opposition to the PLO ensured substantial Israeli support, thus creating the Movement of Palestinian Leagues across the West Bank by 1982; Israel accorded municipalities' functions to the Leagues, eg financing rural development projects in member villages, as it deposed elected mayors and commenced Menachem Milson's "civil administration" project in competition with the Palestinian-Jordanian Joint Committees. Called for Palestinian-Israeli talks, with King Husayn representing the Palestinians. Resigned as head of the Village Leagues in 4 Sept 83, with leadership passing to Jawdat Su’allah from Nablus.


Khalid al-Fahum

Former president of the PNC. Was member of 1st PNC and PLO-EC from 1964, serving on EC from 1964-5, 1967-9. Speaker of PNC from Jul 71-84, during which time he chaired also PLO-CC from its reestablishment in Jan73. Resigned both positions after he refused to participate in the Nov 84 PNC, held in Amman to show the reconciliation with Husayn; became head of PNSF from its establishment in Mar 85. Continues to head opposition coordination mechanisms (PNSF, Damascus 10) based in Syria, but seemed to coordinate ‘Arafat's rapprochment with Syria in 2001 after supporting dialogue with him from 1999.

Imad Faluji

PA communications minister and PLC member for Jabalya; was a Hamas official (editing its newspaper, al-Watan), but left to accept a senior position within the Oslo-based institutions; may have joined Fatah. Most prominent PLC member not to condemn the Hamas bombings of Feb 96. Remained critical of ‘Arafat: eg voting against Hebron redeployment agreement.

‘Abdullah Franji

Former PLO representative to Germany; coopted onto Fatah-CC in 1991. Author of The PLO and Palestine (1983).

Ilyas Frayj

Mayor of Bethlehem. b.1918/20 [?], Greek Orthodox Christian from one of Bethlehem’s oldest families; employed in the Public Works Department of the Mandatory Govt (with a spell in Cyprus); after 1948, ran his factory in Bethlehem producing olive wood handicrafts, mostly for tourists. Became head of Bethlehem Chamber of Commerce in 1970; mayor of Bethlehem in 1972, and was the main non-nationalist candidate to win in the 1976 municipal elections (tho hemmed in by 3 powerful nationalist/leftist councillors). Also headed Bethlehem Uni board of trustees since 1973. Maintained support for PLO thruout, but also continued his links with Israel and esp Jordan. The only important mayor not to be dismissed in 1982, staying in post until 1997. Initially supportive of Sadat's visit in 1977, though maintained rhetorical loyalty to PLO and acceded in its rejection of Camp David (eg interview in New Outlook 23/1, Jan 80). Signed the (unreleased) "Palestinian Peace Document" of Nov 82 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. Also openly welcomed the Reagan plan due to the urgent need for a two-state solution before the West Bank was to be engulfed with Israeli settlements (eg. in interview with Newsweek, 14 Mar 83; July 83 interview in JPS 13/1). Was a member of Palestinian delegation to Madrid talks; and was minister for tourism and antiquities in the PA. d. in Amman in Mar 98.


Samir Ghawsha

Head of PPSF since 1974. With splintering after commencement of Madrid process, leads the pro-Oslo faction.

Jawid al-Ghusayn

Former head of Palestine National Fund, 1984-1996, now accused of large scale corruption. Profile here.

Ibrahim Ghusha

Head of Hamas information service from its creation in late 92. b. Jerusalem, Nov 1936; trained as a civil engineer in Cairo, then working as an engineer in Jordan and Kuwait (1962-6, 71-2). As official spokesman, was based in Amman. Arrested and held by Jordan from Aug 99, deported in Nov 99 to Qatar. Returned to Amman international airport on 14 Jun 01, provoking an international dispute between Qatar and Jordan, with latter refusing to let him disembark for two weeks. Finally permitted into Jordan on the condition that he freezes his pol work with Hamas.

Muhammad Ghunaym [Abu Mahir]: 

Veteran Fatah leader. A merchant from Jerusalem, former Islamist, left Muslim Brotherhood in 1957-8, to protest against its lack of criticism of the throne's alignment with the US; joined Fatah shortly thereafter. Became regional command of Fatah in Jordan (Feb 68), but left for a training course in China (Jun 68). After, became 'Arafat's deputy for military admin (Jan 69). He ran clandestine operations from Sept71, the civilian organisation in Lebanon, and at present mobilization and organization. A member of Fatah-CC since (1974? 1968?), and has been an ‘Arafat loyalist. Opposed Oslo, and has reportedly refuses to enter the PA areas.


George Habash [al-Hakim, "the Sage"]: 

Former medical student and paediatrician, from Greek Orthodox Christian family from Lydda. b. there, Aug 26 (1925?); witnessed the mass expulsion from Lydda in Jul 48. At AUB, formed “Organization to Oppose Pol Settlement with Israel”, and then Arab Nationalists Movement in 1951-2; and was its rep on the Executive Committee of the National Conference, demanding the return of the Nabulsi government in 1957. Estd Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) in 1967. Was imprisoned by Syria from Mar 68 until being sprung from jail in Nov 68, from wh he escaped to Jordan. From Apr 72, is thought to have had heart trouble, inc a number of heart attacks, and has moved in background, tho was highly critical of 2nd generation leadership at 5th congress (Feb 93). From 1982, was based in Damascus, but moved to Amman with deteriorating health in 1992. Resigned from post as S-G of the PFLP in Apr 00 in order to set up a research centre. 

Sakhr Habash (Yahya) [Abu Nizar]: 

Head of Fatah-RC and its Ideological Mobilization Department. b.1939 in Bayt Dajan, nr Jaffa; a refugee first in Ramallah, then in Balata camp (Nablus). Joined the Ba‘thists in 1952; and decided to study geology and water resources at Ein Shams Uni (Cairo) from 1958. From 1960, moved from Ba‘thism to Palestinian nationalism, joining Fatah in 1962 with responsibility for recruitment. He took over Fatah regional command in Lebanon in Oct72. Member of Fatah-CC since Aug89. Loyal critic of ‘Arafat and Oslo; now resident in Ramallah. Interview here. Some interpret his role as that of subduing local Fatah structures (under Marwan Barghuthi, Jibril Rajib) to ‘Arafat's rule.

Wadi‘ Haddad [Abu Hani]: 

PFLP leader. b.1927, Safad, into Greek Orthodox family; 1948 refugee. Medical student at AUB, grad 1952; participated in the establishment of ANM. Estd Amman clinic with Habash and worked with UNRWA in Jordan Valley in 1956. Arrested by Jordan in 1957; escaped to Syria in 1961. Strongly favoured taking up commando action from 1963, despite Abd al-Nasir's opposition; and active in formation of the "struggle apparatus" that led to the earliest ANM missions. Had direct role in planning the first PFLP plane hijacking in Jul 68 of El Al jet; also was key organiser of the Sept 70 hijackings. After Black September, was heavily criticised from within PFLP, and was barred from international acts of violence in future. Continued operations under the tag of "PFLP External Operations", coordinating with Abu Nidal group; culminated in the Entebbe operation of Jun 76, for which he was expelled from the PFLP (1976). Died in E. Germany of leukaemia on 28 Mar 78.

‘Abd al-Rahman Hamad

Minister of Housing and chair of Palestinian Energy Authority (from Feb 95; home page here). b.1944, Bayt Hanun; PhD in electrical engineering from Wisconsin Uni (1975), going onto to Unis at Baghdad (1976-80) and Birzayt (1980-94), wh became dean of engineering faculty. Part of Palestinian delegation at Madrid talks; leading role in PECDAR (1994-6), before won seat to PLC (Jabalya) and ministerial appointment.

Said Hamami

PLO diplomat. b.Jaffa, 1941; fled with family to Amman in 1948. Received BA in English lit from Damascus Uni; then worked as a journalist and teacher. Joined Fatah in 1967 and rose quickly to be elected a delegate to the PNC in Feb 69. Appointed PLO's 1st delegate to the UK (officially as head of the Arab League's Palestine Information Office) from 1972. Was critical of international violence, esp the Black September Organization at Munich. Began, seemingly with ‘Arafat's support, to call for a mutual Israeli-Palestinian recognition in Times articles of 16 Nov 73 and 17 Dec 73. Met MK Uri Avineri in 1974, the first meeting between a MK and a PLO leader; came to explicitly support a State in the 1967 Territories, obtained through negotiations at Geneva; and became critical of PLO's continued rhetorical allegiance to the idea of a Democratic State in all Palestine (eg in Trouw, 28 Jun 75). Assassinated 4 Jan 78 by the Abu Nidal group; buried in Amman.

Wahid al-Hamdallah

Former mayor of Anabta. Placed under house arrest from Aug 80, given a suspended sentence of five months in prison by an Israeli military ct in Tulkarm (9 Sept 80), then dismissed and replaced with Israeli official on 30 Apr 82. Again under house arrest on 22 Jan 89. Signed “Call of the Homeland petition”, and was once again placed under house arrest, this time by the PA, in Nov 99, albeit briefly.

Akram Haniya

Editor of semi-official al-Ayyam newspaper, and political advisor to ‘Arafat. Member of final status talks team; held leading role in Camp David talks. Previously was editor of al-Sha‘b, for wh he was placed under house arrest from Aug 80; elected to Fatah-RC in 1989 after being deported in 1987; became an aide to Abu Jihad.

Hilmi Hanun

Former mayor of Tulkarm. b.1913 [?-WSJ12/10/78 claimed he was 61] in Jaffa, and worked in international citrus marketing [was co-founder of al-Sha‘b newspaper in Jaffa, 1947 - ?]; a ’48 refugee. Served on Tulkarm council from 1951, and elected mayor of Tulkarm in 1963 Jordan elections as a National Front member; retained this position until 1982. A moderate nationalist, supporting PLO from its inception, but striving to maintain relations with both occupying powers. Returned as Tulkarm mayor until removed by PA in 1998 (?) and replaced by an unelected Fatah official.

Bilal al-Hasan

Former PDFLP leader and writer. Was an early ANM activist in Damascus, taking a role in the local branch after the 1961 break-up of the UAR. Became a member of the 1st command structure of the ANM’s Palestine Action Committee (established Sept 64); then from 1965 acted on the editorial board of al-Hurriyya, where he pressed for early commencement of attacks on Israel, and for independent Palestinian action. Joined PDF politburo after breakaway, and was its 1st rep to the PLO-EC (from Sept 69), but strongly objected to PDF’s confrontational stance towards Jordan in early 70. Left PDF politburo and PLO-EC in 1971. Went on to become editor of Shu'un Filastiniyya and a respected journalist.

Hani al-Hasan [Abu Tariq, Abu-l-Hasan]: 

Fatah leader. b.1937/9, Haifa; refugee in Yarmuk camp, nr Damascus, wh he organised an Islamist slate, Shabab al-Aqsa, to compete in student elections; and joined  Muslim Brotherhood in early50s. Went on to study engineering in the late 50-60s in W Ger (Darmstadt and Munich), wh he worked through the Union of Palestinian Students in Europe, and acted as Fatah’s main Eu link after he merged his own commando group to Fatah in 1963 until 1967; also served as President of GUPS from 1962. Served as regional head in Jordan briefly in early 1970; then S.Khalaf’s deputy in Rasd. From 1974, acted as pol aide to ‘Arafat; then pol rep to Tehran; then to Amman from 1982. Became a member of Fatah-CC in May 80. Criticial of the leadership's stance towards Iraq after Aug 90, and at Oslo; but returned to Gaza Str in Nov 95, and is now chief pol adviser to ‘Arafat as well as PLO-CC member and head of the PNC foreign relations committee.

Khalid al-Hasan (Khalid Muhammad al-Hasan) [Abu Sa’id]: 

Fatah leader. b.1928 in Haifa, the oldest of six children; worked for British military in 1948 and evacuated to Sinai. Later joined family who were refugees in Sidon; then moved to Damascus wh formed a short-lived group, Tahrir Filastin, in 1949. Also had worked in EAfr, imprisoned in Egypt; but through his job as a teacher in Damascus in the early 1950s helped found the Isl Liberation Party in 1952. After being arrested in late 52, left to work as a civil servant in Kuwait, rising from a position as a typist to General-Secretary of the Municipal Council Board, and was awarded Kuwaiti citizenship. In parallel, he came into contact with Fatah from 1959; is thought to have become a full member in 1963; was possibly the leader of the first Fatah CC, and opposed the commencement of military actions on Israel in 1964-5. On PLO-EC from 1968-73 as head of Pol Department, but resigned at Jan73 PNC due to his opposition to the resn to overthrow the Jordanian monarchy (claimed to Cobban, PLO, that it was because PLO-EC did not take his recommendation to consider the WBG State option). After 1973, became head of the PNC foreign relations committee; also built and maintained Fatah's strong links with Saudi from 1969. Made argument at Fatah-CC meeting in Shtaura after Oct 73 war that Palestinian struggle cd only continue with WBG State, as Arab States were looking to make peace with Israel. Thought to have been the author of the "Fahd memorandum" of May 77, wh formed basis of discussion with US before Sadat's visit. Made "unofficial" Palestinian 5-pt proposal in tour of EEC in Apr-May 1980, for Israel's withdrawal from OTs, replaced by UN forces wh will make arrangements for the creation of a WBG State within 1 yr; followed by international negotiations at which remaining issues will be dealt with . Was generally opposed to military means, stressing collective leadership and democratic values. Broke with ‘Arafat due to latter's position in the Gulf War, but was nonetheless stripped of Kuwaiti citizenship. Moved to Morocco, wh he was author of Grasping the Nettle of Peace (1992) in wh he proposed a “Swiss-style confederation” in wh citizens wd vote according to their canton. Opposed to Oslo, due to lack of democratic decision-making; but d.10/94 from cancer.

Nayif Hawatmah [Abu al-Nuf]: 

Head of DFLP. b. Nov 35 (37?) in Salt, Jordan, a Greek Catholic Christian; studied pol and economics in Amman, Cairo and Beirut, then returned to Jordan to join the ANM, and became a leading member of the leftist wing. Brief periods of pol activity in Lebanon (1958), Iraq (1958-63, as head of ANM) and S.Yemen (1963-7) before he was allowed to return to Jordan. There, he helped found the PFLP, of which he became one of the left-wing leaders. Went on to found P/DFLP.

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, and its vice-chair from 1978. Served as deputy mayor of Bethlehem from 1976 (stood as independent; narrowly lost to Frayj) to Jan 83. Closely linked to PCP; and established in 1979 and led (with 'Adel Ghanem) the Progressive Workers' Bloc.

Amin al-Hindi

Head of the Palestinian General Intelligence Service. A Gazan, was appointed a senior security officer in Fatah from 1970s.

‘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, and appointed to head regional command in Jordan in Feb 68. Died on 28 Feb in a car crash, on his way to take up his post.

Faysal al-Husayni

Son of ‘Abd al-Qadir al-Husayni, grandson of Muza Kazim al-Husayni. b.17/7/1940 in Baghdad wh ‘Abd al-Qadir lived after Arab Revolt; grew up mostly in Cairo (wh active in GUPS) and returned to Iraq to train as a scientist and 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, and received further training as part of PLA in Aleppo, Syria. From 1967, returned to West Bank, wh worked with PPSF and 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 histy in Beirut. Founded Jerusalem-based Arab Studies Society in 1979, whilst resident in Suwana; and joined Islamic Council in 1982, and 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, and was part of the Palestinian steering committee from 1991; but Israel prevented him from taking a direct role in the talks for 2 years, wh became head of Palestinian delegation to Madrid talks in 1993. Headed Fatah High Command in the West Bank from 1994, and 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 and 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 31 May 01, 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) and 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, and 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 and civil war, narrowly avoiding assassination on various occasions, esp by al-Sa‘iqa in Jan 76. Opposed Oslo, and suspended his participation in PLO-EC, removing himself from all positions in PLO. Remains critical of leadership's stance towards refugee Palestinians and esp those in Lebanon; helps in coordinating Damascus groups.


Ghazi Jabali

PA head of civil police, based in Gaza, with status of Brigadier-General. 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 Nov 94). Has engaged in regular crackdowns on Hamas. Deeply unpopular, seemingly with all except ‘Arafat wh blocked attempts to send him to serve as ambassador to Russia; his force's shooting of Palestinian demonstrators in Oct01 provoked mass protests for his removal. Member of PLO-CC.

Muhammad al-Ja‘bari: (1900-80): 

Mayor ("king") of Hebron. Studied at al-Azhar, gaining degrees in 1918, 1921 and 1922; and a degree in Islamic law in 1931, then taking up title of Shaykh. Became mayor of Hebron under Mandatory rule from 1940. President of Dec 48 Jericho conference, giving uncritical support to ‘Abdullah. Subsequently appointed to Jordanian Senate (1950-1, ’59-62, ’63-4) and cabinet (1955, ’58, ’59-60) on numerous occasions, as well as returning to position as mayor of Hebron from 1964. Owned Sawt al-Khalil and 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 and PLO). Concentrated on local issues (arrests, house demolitions), but opposed strikes and 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 and 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, and 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 mid-80s) and 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 Nov 99 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 Jan 00.

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 and 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, and 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 Oct 68.


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 mid-90s, was assistant Secretary-General of the Arab League, responsible for Palestine affairs.

Zahira Kamal

Fida and women's leader in the West Bank. b.1945; trained as a physics teacher, after physics training at Cairo Uni and education diploma in Jordan. Emerged as leading activist at UNRWA's teacher training centre for women in Ramallah where she worked. Founder (in 1978) and head of the DF-affiliated Women's Work Committee, wh became the Union of Palestinian Women’s Action Committees in 1989. WWC acted to mobilize women in professional, clerical and factory positions; thought to have had 5000 members in 1986 (Hiltermann, p.141). Became member of DFLP's politburo, and was held in administrative detention for 6 months in 1979; and then placed under town arrest (in Jerusalem) from Jun 80-Mar 86; tho with UNRWA pressure was allowed to travel to Ramallah for work. Participated in 1st all-women meetings with leading Israeli female politicians in May 89 Brussels conference; and joined ‘Abd-Rabbu as a member of the Madrid delegation in 1991. Retained UPWAC position until 1992, wh 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 and Development Directorate (within Planning and International Development Ministry) in Nov 95. Narrowly missed out on election to PLC in Jerusalem in 1996. 

  • 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 and cooperation with PLO. After 1967, was a frequent contributor to al-Quds: he proposed the emergence of a local leadership, chosen through elections and probably leading to a federation with Jordan (1 Jan 69). He resigned from mayoral position on numerous occasions wh his policy was opposed by other leading locals (usually over his insistence that elections shd be held for municipal office), and on 12/9/68 (retracted after pop referendum: see SWB); but retracted each time until 12/3/69, wh 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, and was intending to stand in 1972 municipal elections, but withdrew under PLO pressure. d.1981.

Ghassan Kanafani (Ghassan Fayiz Kanafani): 

Writer and PFLP leader. b.9 Apr 36; from Acre, a 1948 refugee. Recruited to ANM in 1953. Had worked as an UNRWA teacher in Syria; but expelled from Damascus Uni (wh studying Arabic lit) in 1955 due to pol activities. Thereafter, worked as a teacher in Kuwait 1955-60, combined with recruiting for ANM and acting as editor of al-Ra‘i; and moved to Beirut from 1960, to edit al-Hurriyya. Became leading member of PFLP, and was editor of al-Hadaf, its weekly magazine. Stories concern the trauma of uprooting and 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 wh die at the border; and Ard al-Burtuqal al-Hazim (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 and 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 and English PFLP booklets. Married to Anni, a Danish activist. Killed by an Israeli car bomb in Beirut, 8 Jul 72, together with his niece.

Marwan Kanafani

PLC member for Gaza city; advisor to ‘Arafat. b.1938; brother of Ghassan Kanafani, and fluent in English and Fr. Grew up as a refugee in Lebanon and Syria; then worked as a football player in Egypt until mid60s, wh joined PLO and studied at an Egyptian uni. Married Egyptian TV broadcaster Najwa Ibrahim; and 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 Pal’s foreign minister.

‘Abd al-Wahhab Kayyali

ALF leader and historian. b.1939/40, Jaffa. Grew up in Lebanon, where joined the Ba‘th party and was a leading member by 1960[?]. Graduated from AUB in 1968, and 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]; and in PLO-EC from Jan 1973 as its rep, heading Educational-Cultural Affairs Department. Took PhD at SOAS in Palestinian histy; his histy of Palestine (Tarikh Filastin al-hadith, 1970) was publd in Ar, and v.widely read, going through at least 9 edns; transld into English and Fr. Whilst in UK, participated in founding of Free Palestine [?]. After doctorate, founded the Arab Institute for Research and Publishing in Beirut; then returned to London with his American wife and established the Third World Centre in London in 1979. Assassination by unidentified gunmen in Beirut on 6 Dec 81.

Husam Khadr

PLC member for Nablus (Fatah independent), from Balata refugee camp and originating from Jaffa. b.1962; deported during the 1st intifada on 13 Jan 88 to S.Lebanon [other sources 8 years from 1986 -?; others say repeatedly arrested during intifada -?]. In exile, represented PLO in Latin America; and elected representative of international Islamic Youth in Senegal, 1989; and Khartum, 1992. Became member of PNC's pol committee. Returned to Palestine on 5 Apr 94. After establishment of PA, took role as director of student and youth organisations at the Minister of Sport and Youth; but became one of ‘Arafat’s sternest secular critics, esp re corruption and for refugee rights; has led strikes against the PA, and has had his membership of Fatah revoked. Heads the Committee for the Defence of Palestinian Refugee Rights, opposed to abandoning the right of return in a deal with Israel.

Karim Khalaf

Mayor of Ramallah. b.1935-8[?], a Greek Orthodox Christian, trained at Cairo Law School and 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 2 Jun 80, was maimed by bombs, later attributed to Israeli settlers, losing his R leg. Dismissed and replaced with Israeli official in Mar 82, and placed under town arrest in Jericho. Portrayed the Fez resolutions as the PLO's definitive acceptance of a two-state solution (eg, in New Outlook, Feb 84). Died of a heart attack on 30 Mar 85.

Salah Khalaf [Abu Iyad]: 

Fatah leader and chief ideologue. b.31 Aug 33, Jaffa, wh attended Marwaniyya school; a refugee in 1948 to Gaza, wh he acquired paramilitary youth training through the Muslim Brotherhood. Left Gaza in 1951 to train in Cairo as a teacher, wh led Palestinian Students Union with ‘Arafat as its deputy (1952-6) and then president (1956-7). After teaching in Gaza, moved to Kuwait wh 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 Sept 71, and 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 10 Oct 68; and of 2 State soln from Feb 74. In Apr 89, recorded a video message to Israel appealing for a 2 State soln. A leftist, and critical of the conservative Arab governments, he maintained close ties with PFLP and DFLP; and opposed ‘Arafat’s reconciliation talks with Mubarak in Dec 83. 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 14 Jan 91 in Tunis by the Abu Nidal faction. 

  • His autobiography is My Home, My Land (1981); a tribute is here.
  • Profile: Passia

Anwar al-Khatib: Jerusalem leader. b.1911, Hebron; d. Feb 93. 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 wh he returned to Jerusalem and was appointed Sec-Gen of the Waqf administration. Appointed mayor of Jerusalem in Oct 48 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 and construction (from 1953[?]), then the first Jordanian ambassador to Egypt with the resumption of relations (1964), and then governor of Jerusalem district (from 1965). Continued to represent a pro-Egyptian and 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, and arguing that Palestinians had a distinctive identity. Signed the (unreleased) "Palestinian Peace Document" of Nov 82 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

Leading member of PPP, director of Jerusalem Media and Communication Centre. b.1954, Nablus; trained in economics at Manchester Uni. Active in PNF and was in Israeli detention from 1974 to 1977 for this. Also works as lecturer in cultural studies at BZU; head of the non-profit United Agricultural Company, channelling foreign aid to West Bank farmers. Was member of Palestinian delegation to Madrid process, wh he boycotted from Apr93. Signatory of Dec01 statement criticising PA's arrest of leftist activists.

Ruhi al-Khatib

b.1914; appointed mayor of Jerusalem in 1957; dismissed and 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 May 93; died 6 Jul 94.

Sami Kilani

Director of the Community Service Centre at al-Najah Uni; was part of the Palestinian delegation to the Madrid process.


‘Abd al-Raziq al-Majaydah

Major-General; S-G of the PA’s High Security Council, in charge of public security in PA areas. Was ‘Ayn Jalut forces battalion commander (1967-73), brigade operations officer (1973-6), commander of brigade units in Lebanon (1977-82). Was head of civil police in Gaza until elevation to his current post [?]. Member of PLO-CC.

Jamil al-Majdalawi

Senior PFLP member: one of their two reps on the PLO-CC, and rep to the National and Islamic Forces. Head of the PFLP Political Office; based in Gaza. In detailed Jan 01 interview, declared that armed struggle was not the only way to liberation, but other forms of struggle were equally valid.

‘Abd al-Rahim Malluh [Abu Sharif]: 

PFLP deputy S-G, non-participating member of the PLO-EC (from 1991). b.1945, Jaffa; refugee in 1948 to Jiflik. Moved to Kuwait in 1963; and became part of PLA in Baghdad. An early member of PFLP; claims to have been injured in battle of Karama (Mar68), curiously given PFLP's retreat before Israel's invasion. Was close to Zabri, and was made military commander by him from 1972; on politburo from 1973. Imprisoned in Jordan 1977-8; commander of PF forces in Beirut in 1982. With Zabri, requested (and obtained) permission from Israel to return to the West Bank in 1999; became head of PF's pol department in 2000. Stood for election to the post of PFLP's S-G in Oct01, but defeated by Sa'adat > became deputy S-G instead. 

  • Official biography here.

Jamal al-Mansur (Jamal ‘Abd al-Rahman Mansur): 

Hamas leader in West Bank, b.1960, Balata camp. Rose to prominence as an Islamist student leader at al-Najah; early leader of Hamas, deported to Marj al-Zahur in Dec92, and became spokesman of Hamas delegation to dialogue with PA and major organiser of Hamas pol activities in the West Bank. Spent 5 years in Israeli jails, two in PA custody. Released in late 2000; but murdered 31 Jul 01 from an Israeli helicopter missile strike on his office in Nablus.

Hikmat al-Masri (1905/7 in Nablus; d. Dec 94): 

Powerful Nablus notable, active in the Palestinian revolt of 1936-9. Served as deputy for Nablus in the Jordanian Parliament 1950-7, and was a leading member of the National Socialist Party; pro-royalist and for Arab unity. Was speaker of the Jordanian Parliament from 1952-3, ’56-7; minister of agriculture 1953-4. Was chair of the “National conference” that convened in Nablus out of 200 delegates, inc a majority of deputies, after the dismissal of the Nabulsi government in Mar 57, to promote its reinstatement; with failure, he resigned from Parliament. Moved to Jordanian Senate in 1962-71, sometime its acting chairman; and again until 1988. PLO vice-president in 1964. His criticism of Husayn for Black September led to his detention in Amman. When PLO was considering a Govt-in-Exile in mid-70s, was widely touted as its potential PM. Signed the (unreleased) "Palestinian Peace Document" of Nov 82 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.

Mahir al-Masri (Mahir Nash‘at Tahir al-Masri): 

PA minister of economy and trade, and PLC member for Nablus (Fatah); said to have run a very flashy campaign. b.25/12/46 in Nablus; MA in economics from AUB, working as a businessman in Beirut (1973-5), Jordan, Saudi and Nablus (1987-96). Leads Palestinian negotiators in economic talks with Israel. Brother of Tahir al-Masri – senator, former deputy (1973-4, 1984-97), ambassador (to Spain, Belgium, UK), FM (1984-1988), deputy PM (1989), PM (Jun-Nov 91) - of Jordan, wh has been nominated for Ar League general commissioner for civil soc.

Hajj Ma‘zuz al-Masri

Mayor of Nablus after Hamdi Kan‘an resigned on 12 Mar 69; officially taking up post on 16 Jun 69. An entrepreneur, he held extensive financial interests in the EBnk and was consistently pro-Jordan. Was a long-standing member of Nablus municipal council from 1951. Agreed to run in 1972 elections, after Kan‘an withdrew, under strong Israeli pressure and despite PLO urging; was elected. Did not run in 1976 elections, despite Israeli pressure, and became more vocal in his criticism of Israel wh the Sebastia settlement was established; gave his support to the successful nationalist bloc. Died in Aug 94.

Zafir al-Masri

Former mayor of Nablus. b.1942; deputy mayor of Nablus in late70s; appointed mayor by Israel in Dec85 with PLO approval. Took on role of coordinating ties between Jordan and West Bank leaders. Assassinated on 2Mar86 by PFLP, wh portrayed him as leading the West Bank in the direction of civil autonomy under Israeli rule. Funeral was attended by 50,000 West Bankers.

Muhammad Milhim (Muhammad Ayyash ‘Abd al-Jawad Milhim): 

Graduate in English literature, teacher and nationalist. Deputy mayor of Halhul until 1976; mayor thereafter. Deported on 2 May 80 for allegedly inciting violence; perpetuated, despite SC condemnation and legal appeals. Appointed to PLO-EC. Has returned and is again mayor of Halhul, as well as PLO-CC member. Stood as independent for election to PLC in Hebron, but not elected.

Khalid Mish’al

Head of Hamas political bureau from 1996. b. 1956, Silwad, Ramallah; displaced from 1967 to Kuwait, where he remained until 1990. Leader of Islamic bloc at Kuwait uni, where he trained in physics (and taught this in schools). After 1990, lived in Jordan. The target of an attempted Israeli assassination in Jordan in Sept 97; expelled from Jordan in Nov 99.

Zuhayr Muhsin

Sec-Gen of Sa‘iqa from 1971 to 1979. b.1936, from Tulkarm. Trained as a teacher in Amman, but lost his job in Jordan due to Ba‘thist activism; then moved to Qatar, Kuwait and then Syria in 1967. As an Asad loyalist and Ba‘th party member, was appointed to head Sa‘iqa when the pro-Jadid leadership was purged. A member of the PLO-EC throughout his leadership of Sa‘iqa, he served as head of the military department. Was repeatedly promoted by Syria to become chairman of the PLO-EC whenever dissatisfied with ‘Arafat (esp during early 76 clashes). Famously declared that the assertion of Palestinian identity was just a tactical manoeuvre in the struggle (Mar77 interview). His family's house in Tulkarm was picketed after gave support to Syria in 1976 Lebanon clashes with Palestinians. Was assassinated in Cannes on 15 Jul 79.

Hilmi Muhtasib

From Hebron; member of Shari‘a ct of appeals, based in Amman, at the time of occupation; became Director of Shari‘a Affairs from Jul 67, and then head of Islamic Board and chief Qadi when al-Sa’ih was deported in Sept 67.

Sa‘id Musa Muragha [Abu Musa]: 

Head of Fatah's dissident wing in Lebanon. b.1927; served in Jordanian army and trained at Sandhurst military academy. By 1970, had turned against Jordan and planned unsuccessful coup there in mid70. Joined PRM that year, rising to the position of colonel within Fatah, commander of PLO forces in South Lebanon (1972-77) and deputy military head of PLO operations room in Lebanon (1977-82). Syria attempted his assassination in 1978. On Fatah-RC from 1980-83. Led PLO's defence of Beirut in 1982; but was deeply critical of the leadership's stance, esp with ‘Arafat's appointment of his loyalists over more capable officers. Began open criticism in May 83, resulting in fracturing of Fatah's forces and open fighting in Oct 83; his faction has been popularly known as Fatah-Uprising, assisted by Syria; has retreated from active role through 1990s.

Ahmad Musa (Ahmad Shawqi Mahmud al-Musa): 

Mayor of Jenin from 1976, dismissed by Israel (6 Jul 82).

Muhammad al-Musallami

Former PFLP leader. From Gaza, originally a member of the Muslim Brotherhood, but joined ANM in 1956-7. Became member of PF’s 1st politburo (Feb 69), responsible for OTs, esp coordinating operations in Gaza. Failed to win reelection to PF politburo in Feb 93.


Last revised on 18 June, 2009