Personalities - Alphabetical Listing


SABA, FU'AD (1902-)

Born in Acre; graduate of the American University of Beirut, 1920; accountant; first licensed auditor to practice under the British Mandate; founder of an accountancy firm (Saba & Company) in 1920 in Haifa with offices in Syria, Lebanon and TransJordan; helped to set up the Palestinian National Fund in 1930; leading member of the Palestine Arab Party; appointed secretary of the Arab Higher Committee in June 1936 before being deported to the Seychelles Islands (1937) by the British for his political activities; attended, as secretary, the 1939 London Conference, St. James' Palace; rejected the White Paper proposal; in the 1940s Managing Director of the Palestine-based Al-Mashriq Financial Investment Company Ltd. and consultant to the Arab Bank; moved his company after the 1948 war to Beirut and Amman and from there expanded throughout the Middle East.



AL-SABA, HASHEM (1905-1958)

Founder and chief editor of Al-Sarieh weekly newspaper; studied at al-Azhar and returned to Palestine in 1932; first Palestinian journalist renowned for his sardonic approach to reporting. He died in Jerusalem in 1958.



SA'ADAT, AHMED (Abu Ghassan) (1953 - )

Born in 1953 in El-Bireh, near Ramallah. Originally from the destroyed 1948 Palestinian village of Deir Tarif, Ramleh. Graduated 1975 from the UNRWA Teachers College, Ramallah, specializing in Mathematics. Married, father of four children. Resident of El-Bireh. Became a member of the PELP in 1969. First arrested by Israeli Occupation authorities in February 1969 (3 months detention). Arrested again in 1970 (28 months), 1973 (10 months), 1975 (45 days), 1976 (4 years), 1985 (2.5 years), 1989 (administrative detention 9 months), 1992 (administrative detention, 13 months). Considered 'Wanted' by Israeli Authorities as of 1993. Arrested by the Palestinian Authorities once in 1995, and twice in 1996. Elected member of the Central Committee to the PFLP in 1981. Elected to the Politburo of the PFLP while in administrative detention in 1993. Became responsible for the PFLP in the West Bank in 1994. Elected Secretary General of the PFLP in October 2001 after the assassination of former Secretary General Abu Ali Mustapha on 27 August 2001.




Born in Al-Am’ari Refugee Camp in 1960 to family originally from Lydda; in the mid-1970s student activist and involved in voluntary work; elected chairman of the Student Council of Birzeit University (1979-1981) and student movement representative for the National Guidance Committee; arrested by Israel and put under house arrest several times; named to lead the Palestinian People’s Party (PPP) (previously Palestinian Communist Party) underground movement in the Gaza Strip, where he lived in several secret safe-houses; after the closure forced on Gaza Strip in March, 1988, he secretly found his way back to the West Bank; worked with the Unified National Leadership of the (first) Intifada until he was imprisoned in 1990-93; among the leaders of the 12 day prisoners’ hunger strike in 1992; MA in International Studies, Birzeit University; worked in the field of education in the 1990s; elected PPP Sec. Gen. in 2003; member of the Palestinian delegation against Israel's separation wall to the International Court of Justice in The Hague in 2004; participated in different local and international events aiming to gain support for the Palestinian Question; founded together with other factions and institutions the Palestinian Campaign for Freedom and Peace (2004); which aimed to intensify international support for the Palestinian people by inviting international delegations to visit and advocate for Palestine, as well as sustaining the Intifada as a popular struggle; PNC member; holds observer status at the PLO Central Council; nominated himself in 2004 following the death of Yasser Arafat as a running candidate for the position of PA President for the 2005 elections; lives in Al-Bireh-Ramallah.






Born in 1907 in Nablus. Studied at Al-Azhar in Egypt, specializing in Shari'a Law. Became a teacher at An-Najah University from 1928-1929, then a writer at Nablus Shari'a Court. Head of the Writers of Nablus Court in 1930, then Shari'a judge in Nablus in 1935. Became Secretary-General of the Islamic Legitimate Council in 1939. Judge in the Shari'a Court in 1941. A member of the Shar'ia Appeals Court in 1946, and appointed as a director of Shar'ia. Became Head of the Shari'a Appeals Court in 1948 until October 1967. In later 1967, he was appointed Minister of Religious Affairs until December 1968. In June 1970 he was appointed as the Chief of the Judges and Minister of the Awqaf and Islamic Affairs until September 1970.



SAFIEH, AFIF (1950-)

Born in Jerusalem, studied in France and Belgium, MA from the Institute of National Politics in Paris, visiting scholar at Harvard University 1985-87. PLO representative in the Netherlands 87-90; PLO representative in London 90-2005; In October 2005 he was appointed Head of the PLO Mission in Washington, DC, USA.




Safieh, Hanna-Yousef Emile (1943 –  )

Born in the upper bak’a of Jerusalem on June 8, 1943, Hanna-Yousef E. studied at the Frères College in Jerusalem and then received his Ph.D. in physical chemistry from the Catholic University of Leuven in Belgium.  In 1971 he went to Brazil where he co-founded the department of chemistry at the Federal University of the Rio Grande do Norte (UFRN).  From 1980 to 1997 he directed several scientific studies for the Institute of Spacial Activities of Brazil (CTA/IAE).  He retired from the university in 2001 and has been the Technical and Commercial Director of the Port Authority in the state of Rio Grande do Norte, Brazil since 2003.
In 1966 he joined the Fatah movement and organized the GUPS in Belgium.  He co-founded the Federation of the Palestinian Entities in Brazil and in 1984 co-founded the Confederation of the Palestinian Communities in Latin America and the Caribbean (COPLAC) which he presided over from 1986 to 1993, and has been the General Secretary since.  The COPLAC represents around 500,000 Latin Americans of Palestinian ancestry.  He is a member of the Central Council and National Council of the PLO.



SAID, EDWARD WADIE (1935-2003)

Born in Talbiyah, Jerusalem on 1 Nov. 1935 to a Christian family; spent his early childhood in Jerusalem before the family moved to Cairo in 1947 in the wake of the UN Partition Plan; educated in the American School in Cairo and the British-run Victoria College in Alexandria; emigrated to the US, where he studied from 1951 at the Mount Hermon School in Massachusetts. Graduated from Princeton University (BA) and later from Harvard University (MA and PhD in English Literature in 1964); became an assistant instructor in the English Department of Columbia University in 1963, full professor in 1970; Parr Professor of English and Comparative Literature in 1977, the Old Dominion Foundation Professor in the Humanities in 1989, and, in 1992, university professor of comparative literature at Columbia University. Served as Visiting Professor at Yale, Harvard and Johns Hopkins Universities and has lectured at over 100 others, most extensively in the US, Canada, Europe and the Middle East. Received numerous awards and literary prizes as well as honorary doctorates from the universities of Birzeit, Chicago, Michigan, Jawaharlal Nehru, Jami'a Malleyeh, Toronto, Guelph, Edinburgh, Haverford, Warwick, Exeter, National University of Ireland and American University in Cairo.

From 1977 to 1991, he was an unaffiliated member of the PNC; key member of American Professors for Peace in the Middle East in the early 1980s; consultant to the UN for the International Conference on the Question of Palestine in 1983; one of two PNC members (with Prof. Ibrahim Abu Lughod), who met US Sec. of State Shultz in March 1988 to discuss his peace proposals; helped in 1988 to draft the Palestinian constitution; long an ardent supporter of Arafat, he became a bitter critic after the signing of the 1993 Oslo Accords, which he rejected as PLO capitulation – “a Palestinian Versailles.” Harsh critic of the negotiations and the performance of the PA ever since.

Member and president (1999) of the Modern Language Association; fellow at the American Academy of Arts and Sciences; member of the American Philosophical Society, the Royal Society of Literature, of King's College, Cambridge, the Council on Foreign Relations, and an Honorary Fellow of the Middle East Studies Association. Author of numerous philosophical, literary and political articles and books, translated into dozens of languages, incl. Orientalism (1978), The Question of Palestine (1979), Covering Islam (1981), The World, the Text and the Critic (1983); After the Last Sky (1986), Blaming the Victims (1988); Culture and Imperialism (1993); The Politics of Dispossession (1994); Peace and Its Discontents: Essays on Palestine in the Middle East Peace Process (1995); Out of Place: A Memoir (1999):End of the Peace Process: Oslo and After (2000); Reflections on Exile (2000); and, most recently, Power, Politics, and Culture (2001).
Died on 25 September 2003 New York City of leukemia at the age of 67.





Considered one of Jaffa's notables. A successful Mayor of Jaffa. His close friendship with Raghib al-Nashashibi, the leader of apposition in Palestine, placed 'Asim in the opposition camp. 'Asim died towards the end of WWI , i.e. few years before the disaster.




SAKAKINI, KHALIL (1880-1953)

Born in 1880 in Jerusalem; Greek-Orthodox; writer and educator; was a failed business man in America and returned to Palestine when the Young Turk Revolt broke out; became a leader and organizer of the struggle against the patriarchate; elected member of the delegation to Istanbul in 1909 to protest the deposition of the Brotherhood; founder and head of several private schools in Jerusalem (such as the Dusturiyya School in 1909 and the "an-Nahda College" in Jerusalem, in 1939) and official in the Palestinian Education Department; June 1923, secretary of the Congress of the Arab Executive Committee of Palestine, held in Jaffa; inspector of the Education Department of Jerusalem in mid-30s; died on August 13, 1953 in Cairo. After his death, his daughters published his memoirs " Such I am, O Life".



SAKAKINI, SARI - Son of Khalil ( - 1953)

He grew up in Jerusalem and was educated in the US. He acquired many traits of his father, of his mother and his aunt Milia. He died young in Egypt. He had had a promising future had he lived long enough to show his talents.




Born in Nablus, assumed various positions during the late Othoman era and the early Arab government, set up by Amir Faisal in Damascus. He was the first head of the Law Institiute in Damascus. Following the fall of Faisal's rule, he returned to Nablus; established in the 1920s the Hizb al-Ahali party to compete with the Nablus MCA; representative for the Nablus district of the Supreme Muslim Council from 1922-26 and its member in the early 1930s; founder and leader of the National Bloc, a moderate party which was established in October 1935 and which stood for political independence of Palestine; member and representative of his party in the Arab Higher Committee. He died in 1954.




Leading Palestinian guerilla; Arafat's confidante; commander of Force 17 (Arafat's personal elite squad security); killed by an Israeli car bomb on January 22, 1979 in Beirut.



SALAMEH, HASSAN (Abu Ali) ( -1948)

from Qula near Lydda; became member of Abd al-Qader al-Husseini's Jihad al-Muqaddas (Holy War) army in 1934; commander during the 1936-39 revolt in the Lydda district; member of the Palestine Arab Party; as regional commander chief member of the bureau of the Arab Revolt in Palestine, established in 1938 by resistance groups; during the 1948 war, leader of a resistance group acting in the centre (Lydda-Ramleh) of the country; killed in Ras al-Ein (Ramleh) battle on June 2, 1948.




Palestinian-Iraqi intellectual; studied economics in England; former member of the PFLP; left the PFLP to form, together with Nayef Hawatmeh, the Popular Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PDFLP), later simply known as DFLP; high ranking member of the Damascus-based DFLP.




Graduate from an American (Medicine) university. Later specializing in cardiology; led his own guerilla faction in the late 1960s before becoming Fateh member; charged with special missions by the PLO chairman; leading and successful advocate of developing contacts with (moderate) Israelis; considered a controversial figure in the PLO because of his daring diplomatic maneuvers; assassinated on 12 April 1983 in Portugal.



SAYEL, SA'AD (Abu Walid) (-1982)

PLO leader and senior aide of Arafat; military commander of PLO forces; brigadier mostly in Lebanon; killed on Sept. 29, 1982 in the Bekaa Valley, Lebanon.




Born in Safed, Galilee; leader of the PLO Planning Centre in Beirut; sought a dialogue with Israelis on the democratic state idea he was championing in the late sixties; chairman of the Political Committee of the PNC; coordinator of the Palestinian peace talks negotiating team; Cairo businessman and Senior Advisor to Arafat; PA Minister of Planning and International Cooperation.




Born in Gaza City in 1880; elected mayor of Beer Sheva 1927; one of the leading business man in Palestine.



SHAKA'A, BASSAM (1930- )

Born in Nablus; member of al-Baath al-Arabi Party in the 1950s; elected mayor of Nablus in 1976 until dismissed from office by Israeli authorities; lost his legs in an Israeli bomb attack in 1980; banned from travelling in 1981.




Born in Nablus; lawyer; L.L.B. from Beirut University, 1971; member of the Executive Committee of the Council for Higher Education; in 1986, representaive of the Lawyers Union in Nablus; head of the Lawyer Bar Association in the West Bank since 1990; appointed by the PA to head the Nablus Municipality Council in October 1994.




Professor of history & sociology, Georgetown University, USA; author of various academic studies; editor of Journal of Palestine Studies; head of the Jerusalem Fund and the Center for Policy Analysis on Palestine, Washington, D.C.


Born in Gaza in 1948; studied Literature at the AUC, graduating in 1964; worked as a journalist, newspaper columnist and businesswoman in the women’s fashion design industry (1980); founder and Chairwoman of the Gaza Cultural and Development Group since 1992; is the agency manager for Opel in Gaza since 1995; was elected PLC member (independent) for the Gaza City district in 1996; served on the PLC Human Rights Committee; founded the Democratic Alliance Group within the PLC which aimed to institutionalize democracy at the PLC in 1997; since 1998, also contributes as columnist and writer on socioeconomic and political issues to (mainly) Al-Quds and Al-Ayyam newspapers; was among the signatories of the ‘Petition of the 20’ criticizing the PA in late 1999; Board of Trustees member of the Palestinian Cultural Group of Rashad Shawwa Center, Gaza since 1992; Chairwoman of the Board of Directors of the Palestinian Agricultural Relief Committees (PARC) since 1999; serves as Commissioner of PICCR since 1999; Board Member of the Palestinian-British Parliament Friendship Cultural Committee; Deputy Chairperson of the Supervisory Board of the Welfare Association Consortium since 2002; member of the Palestinian Constitution Committee since 2002; published a selection of articles in a book titled The Beginning of the Road (Arabic); participated in various conferences and official meetings related to women, European partnership and other socio-political issues; was elected to the second PLC (Independent Palestine list) in the January 2006 elections; resigned from Independent Palestine soon after over internal quarrels.




SHAWWA, RASHAD (1910-1988)

Born in Gaza in 1910; leading citrus merchant and landowner; spent his youth in Amman, Beirut, and Cairo, and returned to Gaza in 1949; worked with the Egyptian administration; appointed mayor of Gaza by Israel in 1971; supported UNSC Res. 242 from April 1972 and Gaza’s integration into a United Arab Kingdom from July 1972; was dismissed on 23 Oct. 1972 after disobeying a military government order; reached an agreement with the Jordanian authorities in Aug. 1972, “that all inhabitants of the Gaza Strip shall be granted Jordanian passports, on one condition – that all applicants shall obtain a good conduct certificate from Shawwa”; was re-appointed mayor of Gaza in Oct. 1975 until his disposal on 9 July 1982 after he refused to lift a municipal strike against cooperation with the new Israeli ‘Civil Administration;’ founder of Al-Kharaiyya charitable organization in Gaza; established Shawwa Cultural Center in Gaza City; pledged support to the PLO, but was consistently criticized by them; survived several assassination attempts; signed a petition for an independent Palestinian State in Sept. 1977; rejected the autonomy proposals of Menachem Begin in 1978; formed a political alliance with Fateh; became member of the Council of Higher Education in 1980; joined the call for the PLO to be recognized as the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian People in 1982; nevertheless continued to advocate King Hussein’s role to negotiate on behalf of Palestinian interests and a confederation with Jordan; after 1986, called for a new Palestinian leadership that was more realistic; died of a heart attack on 28 Sept. 1988.




Leading Gaza notable; grain exporter; Gaza delegate to the 1st Palestinian Arab Congress, held in Jerusalem, 1919; stood for Palestinian independence; member of the Supreme Muslim Council, highest body in charge of Muslim community affairs, in the 1920s; representative of Southern Palestine/Gaza in the Supreme Muslim Council in 1922-1929; representative of the Jerusalem sanjak (autonomous district); represented Gaza at the 1st, 4th and 5th Palestinian National Congress held in 1919, 1920 and 1922; mayor of Gaza; died in October 1930.




Born in Gaza in 1959; PhD in International Law; lawyer for political prisoners; prepared a detailed study about Israeli military orders and rulings Gaza Strip from 1967-94; has a law firm in Gaza and another in Khan Younis; affiliated with the Gaza Community Mental Health Program; participated in different conferences; following the death of Yassir Arafat, he nominated himself as independent candidate for the post of PA President for the 2005 presidential elections.



SHEHADEH, SALAH (1962 -23 July 2002)

Hamas affiliate since the movement's early days; leader of Hamas' military wing Izz Eddin Al-Qassam; served as a close personal aide to spiritual leader Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, as a possible future heir of whom he was seen by many. Spent time in Israeli jails. Accused by Israel to be the mastermind behind many attacks against Israeli targets and involved in the production of the "Kassam" rockets. As such on Israel's most-wanted list; targetted by Israel several times but managed to escape and spent long periods underground; eventually assassinated on 23 July 2002, when an Israeli warplane blew up his house in Gaza. In the attack another 14 people were killed, incl. his wife and children..




Brother of Ya'coub Farraj - served with the Government of Palestine from the early days of the Mandate until 1948. He died in 1954 at the age of 68.




A noted calligrapher - ash-Shihabi Family in Jerusalem, is like al-'Alami Family, came from al-Maghrib to Palestine. Died in 1952




Born in Jerusalem in 1893; graduated with a degree in engineer in 1914, from a Polytechnic Institute in England; taught in the Victoria College, Alexandria in 1918; in 1923, appointed as engineer in the Islamic Waqf department in Jerusalem; participated in the renovation of the Mosque of the Dome of the Rock, al-Haram al-Ibrahimi in Hebron, and Nabi Samuel Mosque.



Born in Gaza in 1953 to a refugee family, which was forced out of Zarnuqa, a village near Al-Ramleh, in 1948; received a BA in Political Science from the AUB in 1975 and an MA in 1976 from the same University; worked in marketing in Kuwait from 1976-80; moved to Columbia, New York in 1980; earned a PhD in Political Science from Columbia University in 1985; taught as Associate Professor of Political Science at several universities, incl. Columbia University (1985-86), An-Najah National University (1987-97), the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee (1989-90), and the University of South Florida, Tampa (1991-92); served as Director of the Center for Palestine Research and Studies (CPRS) in Nablus from 1993-95; Editor, Al-Siyasa Al-Filastiniyya (Quarterly Journal of Palestine Policy, CPRS), 1993-99; Director of Projects, CPRS, Nablus, 1995-99; Dean of Scientific Research, An-Najah National University, Nablus, 1996-97; founder and Director of the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research (PSR) in Ramallah since 2000; spent summer 2002 as a visiting fellow at the Brookings Institute in Washington DC; has conducted over 100 polls among Palestinians in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip since 1993; has published numerous articles and papers and (co-)authored and edited several books, incl. The Gaza Strip and the West Bank: Future Political and Administrative Links (Arabic, Jerusalem: PASSIA, 1994), Elections and the Palestinian Political System (Arabic, Nablus: CPRS, 1995), The Palestinian Refugee Problem and the Right of Return (with Joseph Alpher; Cambridge: Harvard University, 1998), Strengthening Palestinian Public Institutions (with Yezid Sayigh as principal authors, New York: Council on Foreign Relations, 1999), and Palestinian Public Opinion and the Peace Process: Long Term Trends and Policy Implications (Washington DC: United States Institute of Peace, 2005).



SHIQAQI, FATHI (1951-1995)

Born in 1951 in Gaza to a refugee family from Jaffa; studied Mathematics at Birzeit and Medicine in Egypt (graduated 1981); trained as a doctor in Egypt and got inspired by the Muslim Brotherhood; returned to the OPT, practiced Medicine in Jerusalem, returned to Gaza and, together with Sheikh Odeh, founded the Islamic Jihad Movement in Palestine in the early 1980s; arrested and sentenced to one year in 1983, and to three years in 1986 for his political activities, then deported by Israel to South Lebanon in Aug. 1988; relocated in Yarmouk refugee camp, outside Damascus; key player in setting up the National Alliance in Jan. 1994, a coalition of eight PLO groups, Islamic Jihad and Hamas rejecting the Oslo process and the peace deal with Israel; said to have been behind some of the 1995 suicide bomb attacks in Israel; assassinated in Malta, apparently by Mossad agents, on 26 Oct. 1995; his funeral in Damascus on 1 Nov. 1995 was attended by some 40,000.



Born in 1888 in Beit Hanina, Jerusalem; emigrated to the USA in 1911 where he worked as a salesman; returned wealthy to Palestine in 1929 and founded the Arab Bank (July 1930 in Jerusalem), which established branches in all major towns in Palestine and in the capitals of neighboring Arab countries and became the most prestigious private Arab banking institution in the Arab world; had a close relationship with the Mufti and was twice detained by the British during the 1936-39 revolt for his support of the national cause; his son,-Abdul-Majeed, later became chairman of the Palestine National Fund (PLO's financial section).  


SHUQEIRI, AHMAD (1907-1980)

Born in 1908 in Acre; studied at the Jerusalem Law School and the American University of Beirut; in the early 1930s opposition leader in the north of Palestine; member of the Istiqlal Party; head of a Palestinian propaganda office in the USA in 1945 (later in Jerusalem); member of the Arab Higher Committee in 1946; member of the Syrian delegation to the United Nations 1949-50; assistant secretary general of the Arab League in charge of Palestinian affairs 1951-57; Saudi Arabian Minister of State for UN affairs and Ambassador to the UN 1957-62; in 1963 appointed by the Arab League as Palestinian representative to the Arab League (replacing Ahmad Hilmi who died); drew the first draft of the Palestinian National Charter which became the basic law for the establishment of the PLO; first President of the PLO (1964-67); formed the Palestinian Liberation Army; died in 1980 in Amman; published memoirs Forty Years of Arab and International Life (Beirut, 1969. In Arabic).
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Born in Acre in 1860; graduate in religious law from al-Azhar University, Cairo; supporter of the unity of the Ottoman Empire; elected in Acre to the Ottoman parliament in 1908 and 1912; he was also an active and influential opposition member; Acre District Deputy from 1912-14; held many positions in the Ottoman religious judiciary in Palestine; was librarian of the Imperial Library in Istanbul; member of the Shari'a Inquiries Court at Istanbul; appointed mufti of the fourth Ottoman Army in Syria - Palestine during World War I; founder of the Liberal Party (Hizb al-Ahrar) in 1930; became head of the Supreme Muslim Council during the British Mandate; was an active member and leader of the pro-mu'arada faction and became their pillar in the north of the country; father of Ahmad Shuqeiri who later became the first head of the PLO. When Mustafa Kamal, the Father of Modern Turkey, took over, he presented Sheikh As'ad with chests filled with Arabic books and writings.




Son of Sheikh As'ad -was a humane physician, and a nationalist. He was assassinated by unknown persons while on his way to treat a wounded rebel.




Born in Hebron in 1953; secondary education in the industrial stream; moved between Jericho and Salfit; worked in private housing and business; founded the Young Men’s Muslim Association and served as its chairman for 13 years; one of the founders of Hamas in Hebron; deported to Marj Az-Zuhour in Dec. 1992 (until Dec. 1993); appointed PA advisor on religious affairs after 1997; Minister of Youth and Sports for 20 months, then State Minister for three years; considered candidacy following the death of Pres. Yasser Arafat but soon withdrew.




A prominent man of letters from Jaffa. He worked in education, media and social activities, in addition to his national and cultural work. He is the author of "Arab Palestine between the Mandate and Zionism", early in 1937.