Palestinian Personalities

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KANA'AN, HAMDI TAHER (1910-1981)

Industrial entrepreneur and community leader; board member and Secretary-General of Nablus Chamber of Commerce (1950-65); member, Municipal Council (1951-69); Mayor of Nablus (1963-69). His distinguished leadership in the early phase of the occupation was decisive in reversing the exodus of rural population from frontier villages of the Jenin, Tulkarm and Qalqiliah triangle, and in maintaining solidarity among West Bank mayors; his forthright style of dealing with the occupation authorities set an example which strengthened the mayor's resolve to stand up to the excesses of the occupation and express resistance to the various violations of Palestinian civil and human rights.




Writer and journalist from Acre; editor of al-Hadaf; member of the Political Bureau of PFLP and its spokesperson; published their newspapers (Al-Ray, the Opinion); author of many books, e.g. Men in the Sun and Other Palestinian Stories (London: Heinemann, 1978); killed by a car bomb on July 8, 1972 in Beirut.




The prominent Palestinian doctor Shawkat al-Kelani, who has died of cancer aged 73, was, in 1977, a co-founder, and later president, of the An-Najah University in his hometown of Nablus.

To Shawkat, roots were central to a man. Thus it was, after completing his graduate studies in Europe, that in 1964 he returned to northern Palestine, where he became senior medical officer for the United Nations relief and works agency, UNWRA, a post he held until 1989. The Israeli occupation of the West Bank in 1967 reinforced his resolve to work for and within his community.

Exile would never be Shawkat's choice. He held unflinchingly to the view that the Palestinians would one day achieve restitution of their basic human rights. That the world had stood back while settlers expropriated and colonised his land, first in 1948 and later in the occupied territories, was, in his eyes, a temporary aberration. Rationally, legally, this usurpation of a people's rights was indefensible.

Shawkat believed that the Palestinians' response to their situation would be best shaped by education. Folklore in his hometown has it that it was in his house in the old city that the decision to establish a university was taken by a group of local community leaders. From its foundation, he threw himself into the service of the project.

The period following the Oslo peace accords of 1993 saw tremendous expectation on the part of ordinary Palestinians, as they came to believe that their moment of destiny had arrived. Indeed, Shawkat was one of many who thought that they were finally laying the foundations of the state of Palestine. His appointment as a special adviser to Yasser Arafat was a further source of pride, and a matter of national duty, although he may often have wished that his calm and rational counsels had held greater sway.

If the progressive collapse of the Oslo process meant the shattering of a dream to men such as Shawkat, the return to the political foreground of the Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon was his worst nightmare.

In the past year, the Israeli army has rocketed the historic city of Nablus, destroyed the old Ottoman factories where the famous Nablus soap was made, established a military stranglehold on the city and made ordinary working life impossible. The university of An-Najah recently issued a report detailing the interference by the Israeli army into student life, and appealing to the UN to intervene.

Born into a leading Palestinian family, Shawkat read medicine and graduated as a doctor at Alexandria University in the early 1950s. In common with many educated Palestinians fleeing the worsening strife at home, he was drawn by the prospect of jobs in the newly-rich Gulf states, and spent a brief spell at the Kuwaiti ministry of health.

In 1962, he was awarded a fellowship at the academy of medicine in Vienna, where he also met his future wife, Mariana, from Salonika. Two years later, he took a diploma in tropical medicine and hygiene at Liverpool Univer sity, before returning home.

Alongside the tragedies of contemporary Palestinian life, Shawkat fought bravely against cancer for two years. This forced a family separation on him, as the difficulty of receiving proper treatment under Israeli military occupation led him to spend more time in Jordan, which was where he died.

Shawkat's family and friends carry a terrible sense of failure because, due to the occupation, they were unable to fulfil his last request, to be buried in Nablus. He is survived by Mariana.

Shawkat Sodqi Zaid al-Kelani, doctor, born September 28 1929; died October 17 2002

Christopher Somes-Charlton and Yousef al-Kelani
Wednesday November 6, 2002
The Guardian





A leader of the great Arab Revolution led by al-Hussein ibn 'Ali against the Turks (1916). He was born in Safad, Palestine, where he received his early education then pursued his studies at the Othoman Sultanate School in Beirut. After WW1 broke out, he served with the Othoman army. When General Jamal Pasha established a college in Jerusalem to turn out advocates of Islamic Unity, Subhi was one of the brilliant students selected to study at this college to become a caller for Islamic Unity. The college was called "as-Salahiyah College" after the name of the Islamic hero Salah ad-Din. During the War, Subhi was one of the Arab youth who defected to the Arab army. He joined the army of Prince Faisal that entered Damascus in 1918. The college was moved to Damascus in 1917, when the British approached Jerusalem. When Subhi, the sixth member of his family was born, his older brother Faris-16 years-died. At the age, of six Subhi's father died. He was sponsored by his brother, Fayyadh, a government employee. After the fall of the Arab government in Damascus in 1920, Subhi returned to Palestine where he studied Law and later practiced. He took part in every revolution in Palestine before 1948. Subhi was survived by his Faisal, a successful banker in Kuwait. Subhi spent a total of three years under arrest. He died in Damascus in 1955.



KHALAF, SALAH (Abu Iyad) (1934-1991)

Born in 1934 and fled in 1948 from Jaffa; fought in 1948 alongside the Mufti's defence forces in Palestine; studied in Cairo in the 1950s; founder, member and Arafat's assistant of the General Union of Palestinian Students (GUPS) in Egypt (1952); Fateh founder member (1958/59); PLO's security and counter intelligence executive officer; spiritual godfather and chief of Black September Organization; principal Fateh ideologue; before being assassinated on March 14, 1991 in Tunis, PLO's third highest ranking member after Arafat and Abu Jihad.




Born in 1896; He studied at al-Mutran (St. George) School in Jerusalem. Then joined the Arab University in Beruit for one year. Was conscripted when WW1 broke out. He found his way to the Othoman College of Medicine in Beirut, where he studied pharmacy. After the war he went back to the AUB where he graduated with Bsc. in 1925; served in the British Mandate government's educational department; principal of the "Teacher's College" which he renamed as "The Arab College" in Jerusalem; appointed Deputy-Director of Education in 1941; translator and author of many books on education and psychology; played an important role in developing the Palestinian Arab educational curriculum focussing on nationalization and Arabization and in changing teaching methods as well as teacher-student relations towards more independent thinking; After the 1936/1937 disturbances, Ahmed together with some of his friends, started a project called "The Farm of Dir 'Amr" to sponsor the orphans who lost their parents during the turmoil in Palestine. He made it a point to make available for these orphans the best possible education on the same footing with the best at the time; died in 1951; father of Walid al-Khalidi who became, an outstanding representative of a new generation of Palestinian intellectuals.




Born in 1895 in Jerusalem; worked as medical doctor for the Department of Public Health in Aleppo during Amir Faisal's rule; elected mayor of Jerusalem 1934-37; founded, on 23 June 1935, the Reform Party (Hizb-al-Islah) and joined the Arab Higher Committee as leader; exiled to the Seychelles Islands in 1937 but released in 1938; took part in the London Conference, St. James's Palace, February 1939; among those rejecting the Government's White Paper proposal; returned to Palestine in 1943 and joined the renewed Arab Higher Committee in 1945; became secretary of the Arab Higher Committee in 1946; was the only member of the Higher Committee to stay in Palestine during the fighting, 1947-48, but without influence; briefly joined the All-Palestine Government (1948); known for his moderate position and loyalty towards the Hashemites under Jordanian rule; custodian and supervisor of the Haram al-Sharif in 1951; in the 1950s Jordanian Cabinet Minister (of Foreign Affairs); appointed Prime Minister for a brief period in 1957; died on December 26, 1966.




From Jerusalem, a man of law and the judiciary in both the court of appeal and the Higher Court of Justice. He occupied various posts under the Othomans. At the end of the WWII, he returned to Palestine from Beirut. He was made to retire from the Judiciary during WWII. Chosen as head of the Jerusalem Municipal Council when the head of the council, Dr. Husni Fakhri al-Khaldi, was sent into exile.




Born in Jerusalem (1863); well educated in religion and religious law at Al-Azhar University, Cairo; possessed a keen interest in Arab and Islamic manuscripts; appointed Chief Justice of the Shari'a Court of Appeal in 1921 (for 14 years); authority on calligraphy; author of several books; died in 1941 in Cairo.



KHALIDI, RUHI (1864-1913)

Born in 1864 in Jerusalem; writer and essayist; held many administrative positions during the Ottoman rule; studied Islamic sciences and philosophy in Paris; lecturer at Sorbonne University, Paris; scholar and teacher at the Institute for Foreign Languages in Paris; appointed Counsel General of the Ottoman Empire in Bordeaux, France, from 1898 to 1908; elected in Jerusalem to the Ottoman parliament in 1908 and 1912; representative of Jerusalem in the Ottoman parliament from 1911 until his death; in 1911 vice-president of the parliament; lifelong active anti-Zionist; wrote one of the earliest, fully detailed manuscripts on Zionist ideology and organization in Arabic; died on August 6, 1913 in Istanbul, Turkey.




Jerusalem-born historian; graduate from London (BA in 1945), MLit from Oxford, 1951; since 1976 associated with Harvard University; co-founder of the Institute for Palestine Studies, Beirut; member of joint Palestinian-Jordanian delegation to the Middle East peace talks.




Born in 1829 in Jerusalem; educated in the English missionary schools in Jerusalem, and continued his studies in France; speaker of the Ottoman Parliament and Jerusalem's representative to the parliamnet in 1876; various administrative and consular posts in the Ottoman Empire; lectured at the University of Vienna; governor of a Kurdish province; wrote the first Kurdish-Arabic dictionary; Ottoman vice consul at the Russian Black Sea port of Poti; elected representative of Jerusalem in the newly established Ottoman parliament in 1877 where he was an active member of the opposition; addressed a letter to Zadok Kahn (Chief Rabbi of France) in 1899 pointing out that Palestine could only be acquired by war; called on the Jews to leave Palestine alone; appointed mayor of Jerusalem in 1899; died in 1907.



KHALIL, AHMED (1914- 1986)

Born in 1914 in Haifa. Studied at the American University of Beirut. Graduated with a BA in business. Travelled to England and studied law at Cambridge (LLM). Appointed by the British Mandate as a judge in various cities in Palestine. During the Jordanian rule over the West Bank, he was appointed governor of Nablus. In the early 1950's, he travelled to Amman and established his own law office and was a member of the Senate for 13 years. He practiced until his death late 1986.



KHALIL, SAMIHA (1923-1999)

Born in Anabta, Tulkarem; in the 1940s in Ashqalon; became a refugee in 1948 (Gaza Strip); in 1952, left Gaza by boat to Beirut and returned to the West Bank; charity worker ever since; member of the PNC since 1965; president of the Women's Federation Society, El-Bireh, of the Union for Voluntary Women's societies, and the General Union of Palestinian Women (GUPW); founder/ president of In'ash al-Usra Society since 1967. Died on the 26 of February, 1999.



KHATIB, ANWAR (1917-1993)

Mayor of Jerusalem in the late 1950s; member of the Arab Socialist Party and Jordan's government in the early 1960s; Jordan's ambassador to Cairo in 1963; governor of Jerusalem (1967-1970s).




Born in Hebron in 1909. Studied at the Islamic College in Jerusalem in 1928. In 1947, he was the manager of the National Economy Department in Jerusalem, which was affiliated to the Higher Arab League. In 1948 he was appointed General Secretary of the National Committee in Hebron. In April 1950, he was elected to the Jordanian Parliament until 1954, whereupon he became a member of the Senate until October 1959. Appointed Minister of National Economy, and Acting Head of the Chief Justices from April 1963 until October 1963. In August 1972, he was appointed Minister of the State until May 1973. In September 1972 he became a member of the Arab National Union Council.




Graduate of al-Azhar University, Cairo; school teacher; religious notable; active member of the Arab nationalist movement; responsible for the Sharia Court in Palestine, of which he was in charge for 2 years; he wrote "al-Fatawa al-Khayriyeh fi Naf' al-Bariyyeh"; mayor of Ramleh (early 1920s until the end of World War II); left Ramleh in 1948 and died in Ramallah two years later.




Born in 1908, in Ramleh, Palestine. He achieved his BA degree in political science and economics from the American University in Beirut in 1928. He took an MA degree from the London School of Economics, London in 1931.Appointed Head of the Publications Department in Jerusalem of the General Secretariat in 1932-1935 and a District Commissioner at the time of the Mandate from 1935-1945. Became a director of the Arab Libraries in Washington from 1945-1947. Elected as a member of the Jordanian Parliament from 1950-1956. Served as Minister of Trade and Agriculture from 1949-1950, and Minister of Economy in May 1953. Later became Minister of Economy and Construction, then Minister of Economy and Finance from until May 1956. Was then appointed Minister of Economy and Education in April 1957 until May 1958. From May 1959 until September 1959, he was Minister of National Economy. From September 1959 until August 1960 he was Minister of Economy and Construction. Was also a member of the House of Senates until 1962.In 1963 he was appointed a member of the Palestinian Delegation to the United Nations. He died in 1989.



Khoury Abdallah Anton


Dr. Abdallah Khoury was born in Jerusalem in 1928. He completed his high school education at the Collège des Frères in Jerusalem. He studied medicine at the Jesuit University in Beirut, Lebanon.

He returned to Palestine to work at the Augusta Victoria Hospital in Jerusalem from 1952 to 1956. He then went to England for a while after which he returned to work at the Evangelical Hospital in Nablus. In 1960 he was appointed the director and surgeon of the government hospital in Beit Jala. In 1965 he was sent by the government to specialize in urology in the U.K. He was an outstanding doctor at St. Helier Hospital in London and the consultant in charge recommended him to work there for another period.

Upon his return to Jerusalem in 1967, just one month before the outbreak of the June 1967 war, he worked as the surgeon and urologist of the government hospital in the Old City (the present day Austrian Hospice), and later became its director. Dr. Khoury joined St. Joseph Hospital in 1983 as their surgeon and he was later appointed to the post of medical director, a post that he held until 2003.

In 1998 he was appointed by Pope John Paul II a member of the Pontifical Academy for Life, a forum that meets once a year in Rome to discuss matters relating to pro life. He is the only member in the Academy from the Middle East.

Dr. Khoury was awarded several medals by the French government, the Pope, the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, the Italian government, and the Palestinian National Authority.



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