20 years since the death of the “Prince of Jerusalem” Faisal Al-Husseini

"I see the issue of Jerusalem as the most accurate, but not the most difficult."

Jerusalem24 – A Palestinian politician, who held several positions and responsibilities, the most prominent of which was his leadership of the negotiating team at the Madrid Peace Conference in 1993. He played a major role in the battle to defend Jerusalem, and took over its file in the Palestine Liberation Organization. He founded the Arab Studies Association.

Al-Husseini was born on July 17, 1940 in Baghdad, as his father, Abdul Qader Al-Husseini, was forced to move to it after the Great Palestinian Revolution of 1936-1939, when he was able to escape from the prisons of the British Mandate.

After Iraq, the family moved to Saudi Arabia and later moved to Cairo, where Faisal grew up.

He and his two brothers joined the popular resistance forces in 1956, helping to repel the British–French–Israeli onslaught on Egypt. In 1958, he joined the Arab Nationalist Movement and went to Baghdad to study at the Faculty of Sciences. However, as fighting erupted between Arab nationalists and communists the next year, he was forced to flee Iraq. He returned to Cairo and enrolled in the Faculty of Sciences, where he became a member of the League of Palestinian Students. He was a founding member of the General Union of Palestinian Students in 1959.

At the young age of 24, Al-Hussaini left for Jerusalem to join the Palestinian Liberation Organization as their deputy manager of the Public Organization Department. He continued his political career by enrolling in the Palestinian Liberation army in 1967.

He was elected to the Supreme Muslim Council in Jerusalem in 1982. He later worked as a Palestinian spokesperson, the head of the Jerusalem National Council, a member and later the head of the Palestinian delegation to the Madrid Middle East Peace Conference and consequent talks, the head of the Fatah faction in the West Bank, and a Palestinian Authority Minister.

In 2001, when AL-Hussaini died from a heart attack at the age of 60, Palestinians were enraged and distraught that their distinguished informal mayor has died. At the time of his death, he was in Kuwait rebuilding the PLO-Kuwaiti relations after their fall out during the 1991 Gulf War. During his funeral, a Palestinian member of the Knesset, Azmi Bishara said “Faisal’s legacy was the struggle to keep Arab Jerusalem Arab. He represented Arab continuity and leadership in Jerusalem and combined this with reason and courage.”

Palestinians memorialized Al-Hussaini by establishing a Foundation named after him, that calls for the cultural and political preservation of Jerusalem.

 

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