Personalities - Alphabetical Listing





Born in Nazareth in 1923; grew up and was educated in Nazareth, then enrolled at the AUB, where he studied Chemistry, graduating in 1945; returned to Palestine and fought in the 1948 War, during the course of which he was forced to flee, first to Bint Jbeil, Lebanon, then to Syria; worked as a Science teacher in Dir’a Secondary School in Damascus, then was appointed its principal; became Director of the Educational Dept. in the Dir’a District; moved to Cairo, where he worked in the Ministry of Education for eight months focusing on student scholarships; served as Cultural Attaché of the United Arab Union in Washington until the split of the Union; returned to the Syrian Ministry of Education; joined the PLO in 1964; member of the 1st PNC in 1964; member of the PLO Exec. Committee in 1964-65 and 1967-69; participated in the first Arab Summit led by Egyptian Pres. Gamal Abdul Nasir in Jan. 1964; was elected as speaker of the PNC at its 9th session held in Cairo in July 1971 (until 1984); Chairman of the PLO Central Council from Jan. 1973; involved in dialogue within the PLO and between the PLO and Syria; resigned from his positions in 1984 after boycotting the PNC in Amman, which resulted in a reconciliation between the PLO and King Hussein; co-launched the PNSF on 25 March 1985 in Damascus and served as its head since; member of the Damascus Ten based in Syria; was involved in PLO internal dialogue in the late 1990s and supported PLO-Syrian dialog since 1999; died in Syria on 5 Feb. 2006.



Prominent nationalist from Nazareth; member of the Ottoman Parliament, representing Nazareth; mayor of the city for two terms during the Ottoman rule and for one term during the British Mandate era; was active in the opposition movement led by the Nashashibis; died in 1935.



AL-FalOuji, Imad ABDUL HAMID (1962-)

Born in Jabalia Refugee Camp on 27 July 1962; received a BA and an MA in Civil Engineering from the USSR, graduating in 1987; was a member of the Muslim Brotherhood; joined Hamas after its foundation in 1988; was imprisoned by the Israeli authorities for six years; published a novel in 1992 entitled Novels from the Darkness; edited the newspaper Al-Watan; participated in the Middle East Economic Forum held in Amman in 1995, join the ranks of the PA; was involved in Palestinian national dialogue in Cairo in May 1994; was elected PLC member for the Jabalia constituency in the Jan. 1996 elections (ran as an independent); was appointed as PA Minister for Post and Telecommunications from 9 May 1996 until Oct. 2002; voted against the Jan. 1997 Hebron Agreement; ran unsuccessfully in the 2006 PLC elections (Fateh, Jabalia district).



Born in Nablus on 14 June 1936; went to school in Nablus, then attended Cairo University to study Medicine; was deported in 1958 for his political activity and membership in the Communist Party; moved to Beirut and Baghdad, then to the Soviet Union, where he resumed his studies in Medicine at Moscow University; was unable to return to Palestine following his graduation since the Jordanian government refused to renew his passport; lived and worked in Moscow until his Jordanian passport was renewed in Spring 1964; returned to Palestine through Damascus in April 1964 but was arrested by the Jordanian authorities upon his arrival and detained for 100 days; after his release, worked as physician and deputy director of Jenin Public Hospital; also opened a private clinic in Nablus; following the 1967 War, closed his clinic and moved to Jerusalem to volunteer as a doctor at Maqassed Hospital (still under construction at the time), which the Israeli authorities threatened to confiscate; joined the National Guidance Committee in Dec. 1967; was appointed as head doctor of the UNRWA Medical Center in Al-Am’ari Refugee Camp near Ramallah; established a private clinic in Ramallah in 1971; was elected Chairman of the UNRWA Staff Society in the West Bank  in 1975; served as Chairman of the Birzeit Charitable Society (until 1978); was awarded a scholarship by the World Health Organization to do his graduate studies in Public Health at Liverpool University, graduating in 1980; Board member of the Arab Thought Forum (1977) and the Arab Studies Society (1980) in Jerusalem; became deputy health officer at UNRWA in 1985; lectured in Public Health at Bethlehem University; member of the Birzeit University Advisory Council and Chairman of its Board of Trustees until he passed away on 26 Jan. 1988.



FARAH, BULOS (1910-1993)

Born in 1910; owned a bookshop for progressive publications; one of the founders and leaders of the National Liberation League in the early 1940s; at the same time, co-founded (with Emile Habibi and Tawfiq Toubi) the Shu’aa Al-Amal (Ray of Hope) club, which became a progressive gathering point for workers causes; rejected the 1947 UN Partition Plan; published several articles and produced four studies, incl. Introduction to the Social History of Arabs (Arabic, 1962), a study on the Arab labor movement in Palestine (1987), and his autobiography The Transfer from Ottomans to the Jewish State (Arabic); died in 1993.



Born in Nazareth on 30 April 1923; grew up in Haifa (until 1965); studied first in Nazareth, then attended the Teacher’s Training College in Jerusalem; worked as a teacher and short-story writer; wrote literary pieces for several magazines and radios, incl. London Radio; moved with her husband (Rafiq Farah) to Jerusalem, Ramallah, Jordan, Beirut and eventually London; published jointly with him Al-Ra’ed spiritual magazine in 1957 and another magazine while in Jordan in 1972; also lived in Canada; her collections – novels, stories, poems and plays - include For Whom Does Spring Come (1963), The Way of the Cross, and A Continent Called Palestine (London, 1996).



Born in Nablus in 1917; studied at the Nablus Secondary School; was a member of the Arab Higher Committee; became a member of the Jordanian Parliament for six terms representing Nablus district; was also a landowner and engaged in agriculture; died in Amman in the late 1970s.


FARES, QADURA (full name: AbdUL qader IbRAHIM Faris hamed) (1962-)

Born in Silwad, near Ramallah, on 13 June 1962; completed high school (graduating with a tawjihi); was imprisoned by Israel for several years; elected PLC member (Fateh) for the Ramallah constituency in the Jan. 1996 elections; served as rapporteur for the PLC Land and Settlements Committee, as member of the PLC Education and Social Affairs Committees, and as Chairman of the Human Rights and Monitoring Committee; member without portfolio in the Nov. 2003 cabinet of PM Ahmed Qrei’a (until the cabinet reshuffle in Feb. 2005 following the Palestinian Pres. Elections); member of the Fateh Higher Committee; among the signatories of the Geneva Accords in December 2003; ran unsuccessfully in the 2006 PLC elections (Independent, Ramallah district).


aL-FARRA, MOHAMMED Hussein (1927-)

Born in Khan Younis on 1 Jan. 1927; elementary and secondary education in Jaffa graduating in 1946; became Sec.-Gen. of An-Najada national organization in Jaffa and the Arab Students’ Organization in 1947; served as Secretary of the Security Council formed in the Arab Orthodox Club in Jaffa in 1947 aiming to protect the city from Zionist expansion; received a BA from Suffolk University in 1950 and a higher degree in Law from Boston University in 1951; continued his studies and earned a PhD in Legal Jurisprudence from Pennsylvania University in 1957; was an Exec. Committee member and served as Vice-Pres. of the Arab Student Organization in the US in the mid 1950s; worked for the Arab League Promotion Office as Head of the UN Dept. from 1955-59; was consultant for the Syrian delegation to the UN in 1957, providing resources about the Palestinian Question; after the declaration of the United Arab Union, was appointed Jordanian deputy representative to the UN in New York in 1959; worked in the Jordanian representative office in Cairo in 1963; was appointed Jordanian delegate to the UN in 1965 and became its representative to the UNSC in 1967; served as Jordanian deputy representative to Spain in 1970; currently works as freelance writer.


FARRAJ, MITRI (1886-1954)

Born in Jerusalem in 1886 to a Christian family; graduated from the St. George’s School in Jerusalem in 1906; worked as teacher in the British School of St. Mary’s Home in Cairo, then as an officer in the Sudanese government until 1910; returned to Jerusalem and became editor of The Truth newspaper and teacher at the Dusturiya School; served as Secretary of the Standard Oil Company of New York until 1914; opened a printing and translation company in 1919; became financial inspector in the Gaza District; served as Qa’imqam (district governor) in Nablus (1927), Acre, Haifa, Nazareth, Ramallah, and after 1939 in Jerusalem, Jericho and Bethlehem; was appointed as judge; received the MBE (Member of the British Empire) honorary medal in 1943 by British King George IV; brother of Ya’qoub Farraj; served with the Government of Palestine from the early days of the British Mandate until 1948; died in 1954.


FARRAJ, YA’QOUB (1874-1944)

Born in Jerusalem around 1874 to a Christian family; became a radical pan-Arab after WW I, whilst also being pro-British and anti-Zionist; served as Greek Orthodox representative to the Administrative Committee of the MCA in 1918; was Jerusalem delegate to the 1st Palestinian-Arab Congress held in Jerusalem in 1919; preferred Palestinian independence; elected to the 7th Palestinian National Congress (June 1928) as Christian representative and Vice-Pres.; headed the Palestinian National Conference in Oct. 1929, which announced cooperation with the 1929/30 Shaw Commission; Vice-Pres.of the Arab Executive Committee in 1934; in Jan. 1935, officially appointed Arab deputy mayor of Jerusalem, representing the Jewish and Christian communities respectively; elected representative to the Arab Higher Committee for the Jerusalem Christians in 1936; member of the delegation to the London Conference in Feb. 1939; cousin of Khalil As-Sakakini; close to Ragheb Nashashibi and a member of Al-Difa’ opposition party; died in Jerusalem in 1944.


FARSOUN, SAMIH K. (1937-2005)

Born in Haifa in 1937; dispossessed with his family during the Nakba of 1948 and fled to Beirut; later moved to the US for his university studies; graduated with a BA in Mathematics and Physics from Hamilton College in New York; receiving an MA (1961) and a PhD (1971) in Sociology from the University of Connecticut; founding member and Pres. of the Association of Arab American University Graduates; founding member of the Arab Sociological Association; co-founder and chairman of the Palestine Congress of North America (formed in 1979 and disbanded in 1983); editor of the Arab Studies Quarterly from 1987-90; member of the International Advisory Board of the Journal of Holy Land Studies; founding fellow of the Middle East Studies Association; Board member of Partners for Peace (formerly the American Alliance for Palestinian Human Rights in Washington); Board member of the Middle East Children’s Alliance in Berkeley; one of the first members of the Board of Directors of the Jerusalem Fund for Education and Community Development and of the Executive Committee of the Center for Policy Analysis on Palestine, both in Washington; founding member of the Trans-Arab Research Institute in Boston; critical of the DoP and Oslo process; founding dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at the newly established American University of Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates from 1997 to 1999; Professor of Sociology at the American University in Washington, DC, where he also founded the Arab Studies Program and served as Chairman of the Department of Sociology for 11 years (until his retirement in 2003); in 2004, was named founding dean of Academic Affairs and the College of Arts and Sciences at the newly established American University of Kuwait, where he served until Feb. 2005; author and editor of several books, incl. Palestine and the Palestinians (Westview Press, 1997) and Culture and Customs of the Palestinians (Greenwood Press, 2004); died of a heart attack on 9 June 2005.



AL-Faruqi, Hamdi Taji (1911-1978)

Born in Ramleh on 10 Sept. 1911; graduated from the AUB in Medicine; then continued his higher education at the University of London, specializing in Pediatrics; returned to Palestine in 1937 and joined the forces of the “Inqath Army” headed by Fawzi Qawuqji; also contributed to the Great Revolt, for which he was imprisoned by the British Mandate authorities for two years; joined the Ba’ath Party in the early 1950s and ran - unsuccessfully - for the Ramallah district in the 1954 Jordanian parliamentary elections; practiced his profession as an MD in Ramallah; became a member of the PNC in 1964. was one of the pioneers after the War of 1967 who called for accepting the 1947 UN Partition Plan and the establishment of a Palestinian state, with Arab Jerusalem as its capital, and to put the OPT under the protection of the UN and the Arab League for five years; his ideas were rejected by the PLO, saying they were developed out of despair because of the Israeli occupation; died in Ramallah on 2 Oct. 1978.



Born in 1882 in Ramleh; after losing his sight in 1901, focused on reciting the Holy Qur’an and became known as the “Ma’ari of Palestine,” after being inspired by Arab poet Abu Alaa’ Al-Ma’ari (973-1057); studied Language, History and Islamic Sciences at Al-Azhar in Egypt; left after nine years and moved to Istanbul to study Law; returned and practiced law in Palestine; became active in addressing local problems; was deported by Jamal Pasha to Konya in Anatolia during WWI after he opposed the government’s control over the products of farmers as provisions for the Ottoman army; became Pres. of the Patriotic Ottoman Party (Al-Hizb Al-Watani Al-Uthmani), which was set up in 1910 in Jaffa; leader of the MCA in Ramleh; promoter of the 3rd Palestinian Congress in Haifa, 1920; member of the Mu’arada (opposition) faction; member of the advisory panel for Palestinian elections in 1921; founding member and first head of the Palestine Arab National Party in Nov. 1923; elected representative to the 3rd (Dec. 1920 in Haifa), 5th (Aug. 1922, Nablus), 6th (June 1923, Jaffa) and 7th (June 1928) Congress of the Arab Executive Committee for Ramleh; supporter of the National Defense Party in the mid-1930s; founder and editor of Al-Jamia’a Al-Islamiyya (the Muslim Community) daily newspaper in July 1932 in Jaffa (and in Jordan after moving there in 1949); life-long critic of the British, who revoked his license to practice law; became a member of the Jordanian Parliament in 1951; wrote poetry demanding more rights for Arabs in the Ottoman Empire and contributed to translating legal terms into Arabic; died in Jericho on 6 May 1958.


FATTOUH, RAWHI Ahmed Mohammed (1949-)

Born in Rafah, Gaza, in Aug. 1949 to a family originally from Borka, near Asdod; primary and preparatory education from a UNRWA school in Rafah (1956-65), then attended a high school in Bir Saba’ for two years but was interrupted by the 1967 War (graduated later from a secondary school in Zarqa, Jordan, in 1970); joined Fateh in 1968 and became active in its Al-’Asifa forces; received military training and graduated as a lieutenant; was involved in Fateh operations in Syria after 1973; also active in the Fateh’s student office in Syria, serving as its Sec.-Gen. in 1974-75; also member (1974-75) and Chairman (1976-78) of the Administrative Committee of the GUPS in Syria as well as Exec. Committee member from 1978-84; Sec.-Gen. of the Student’s Organization in Syria from 1975-79; was arrested by the Syrian government in the late 1970s for almost a year; earned a BA in English Literature from Damascus University in 1979; PNC member since 1983; Steering Committee member of Fateh’s Mobilization and Organization Office since 1984; was elected member to the Fateh Revolutionary Council in 1989; served as Deputy of the General Commissioner of the People’s Organizational Office in 1989; returned to Gaza in 1994 and was in charge of supervising Fateh’s organizational work (tanzim) in Palestine until 1997; was elected PLC member (Fateh) in the Jan. 1996 elections for the Rafah district in Gaza Strip and elected Sec.-Gen. of the PLC (until Nov. 2003); serves as Chairman of the Higher Supervisory Committee of Fateh since 1998; was a Board of Trustees member of Al-Azhar University in Gaza from 1999-2000; continued his studies and earned an MA in Political Science from the Al-Alam University, US, in 2002; was appointed PA Minister of Agriculture in the Nov. 2003 cabinet of PM Ahmed Qrei’a (until 10 March 2004 when he resigned to campaign as PLC speaker); was nominated by Fateh as candidate for the position of PLC Speaker and elected to that post on 10 March 2004; in accordance with the law, was sworn in as interim Pres. of the PA following Yasser Arafat’s death on 11 Nov. 2004 (until 15 Jan. 2005); resumed his post as PLC speaker on 16 Jan. 2005 (until after the Jan. 2006 PLC elections); was appointed adviser to Pres. Mahmoud Abbas in 2006.


Fayyad, Salam (1952-)

Born in Deir Al-Ghussun, near Tulkarem, in 1952; studied at the AUB, graduating with a BSc in 1975; continued his studies and earned an MBA in Accounting from St. Edward's University (1980) and a PhD in Economics from the University of Texas at Austin (1986); worked in the private sector in Jordan and as university researcher at the University of Texas at Austin and at Yarmouk University in Jordan; scholar at the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis; worked as an economist at the World Bank in Washington from 1987 until 1995; joined the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in 1992 and held several positions over the next ten years, incl. Resident Representative of the IMF in the West Bank and Gaza (1995-2001), working on financial reform for the PA Ministry of Finance; played a central role in establishing the Palestine Investment Fund in Oct. 2000, of which he is the Chairman of the Board of Directors; Chairman of the Board of Insurance and the Salaries Fund; in 2002, left the IMF and became the Regional Manager for the Arab Bank - Palestine, before being asked to serve as PA Finance Minister, a post he accepted in June 2002; as such very much involved in the (financial) reform process in Palestine; submitted the first publicly disclosed PA budget that was approved by the PLC in early 2003; became Minister of Finance in the cabinet of PM Mahmoud Abbas on 30 April 2003; member (Finance Minister) in the Oct. 2003 Emergency Govt. of the PA; appointed Minister of Finance in the Nov. 2003 govt. of PM Ahmed Qrei’a; nominated as Minister of Finance in the Qrei'a Cabinet, approved by the PLC on 16 Feb. 2005. 


Fayyad, Tawfik (1939-)

Born in Muqelbeh, near Haifa, in 1939; worked as a teacher, then in the Customs Dept. at Haifa Port; co-founded (with Emile Habibi and others) the literary Al-Ard movement in 1958, which promoted Palestinian and nationalist Arab literature in the face of Israeli dominance; studied in Nazareth and at the Hebrew University and received a BA in Communication Science; in 1969, was imprisoned by Israel in the Shatta and Ramleh Prisons under charges of disseminating information to Egypt; released in 1974 as part of a prisoners’ exchange following the 1973 October War and later deported to Egypt; went to Beirut, where he founded and served as director of Dar Al-Nawras publishing house for children and youth books; worked as a novelist, playwright and short story teller; joined in the Palestinian Research Center in Beirut; left with other Palestinians Lebanon in 1982 and settled in Tunis, where he worked in the Arab League; his literary work includes novels, such as The Deformed (1963), The Group (1974), and My Beloved Militia (1976), and collections of short stories, e.g., The Yellow Street (1968) and The Idiot (1978).




Born in Beersheba on 15 Nov. 1943; fled with his family to Gaza during the Nakba, and from there to Cairo during the 1956 Suez crisis; studied Medicine and Politics in Frankfurt/Main, Germany, from 1963-73; Fateh member since the mid-1960s; in 1967 he moves to Algeria, where he receives partisan training; soon after he is arrested in Hebron; upon his release returned to Germany; co-founder of the General Union of Palestinian Students and Workers in Europe; President of the Confederation of Palestinian Students in the Federal Republic of Germany and Austria from 1968-73; following the 1972 Munich attack he was - together with some 300 other Palestinians - expelled from Germany; elected PNC member since 1972; returned to Germany and worked at the Arab League office in Bonn in the mid-1970s; also helped establishing a Palestine Information Office in Bonn which functioned as unofficial PLO representation; was elected member of the Fateh Revolutionary Council since 1978; became in 1982 head of the PLO delegation to Austria and permanent PLO representative to UNIDO in Vienna (until 1985); elected to the Fateh Central Committee in 1989, with the assignment to advise Pres. Yasser Arafat on European affairs; since 1993 head of the General PLO Delegation to Germany; since 1998, member of the PLO Central Council; Fateh leader in Gaza; has authored The PLO and Palestine – Past and Presence (Frankfurt, 1982).


FREIJ, ELIAS (1920-1998)

Born in Bethlehem in 1920 to a Greek Orthodox Christian family; employed in the Public Works Dept. of the British Mandate; after 1948, became businessman and factory owner (mother of pearl and olive wood handicrafts) in the Bethlehem area; Chairman of the Bethlehem Chamber of Commerce and Industry since 1970; elected mayor of Bethlehem since 1972; head of the Board of Trustees of Bethlehem University since 1973; was the main non-nationalist (i.e., pro-Jordanian) candidate to win in the 1976 municipal elections; supported the PLO, was the only important mayor not to be dismissed in 1982 (remained in the post until his resignation in 1997 due to health problems); member of the Palestinian delegation to the Middle East peace talks in Madrid and Washington in 1991 and thereafter; appointed as Minister of Tourism and Antiquities in the PA; died in an Amman hospital on 29 March 1998; buried in Bethlehem.



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