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Faisal Husseini 04 April 2017

Faisal Abdel Qader Husseini was born in Baghdad on July 17, 1940 during his father's forced exile from Jerusalem. In 1944, his family moved to Mecca where they lived for a year and a half, and from there moved to Cairo where Faisal pursued his elementary and secondary education. His father Abdel Qader Al-Husseini was a leader in the armed struggle in Palestine and died a martyr defending his homeland in the battle of Al-Qastal in 1948. In 1958, Faisal Husseini joined the Arab Nationalist Movement (ANM) and participated in the establishment of the General Union of Palestinian Students in Cairo in 1959. He was responsible for student affairs in the Palestine Government in Cairo, and later worked as an official in the Popular Organization Department of the PLO Jerusalem office in 1965. After the Israeli occupation of Jerusalem he became an active member in Fateh, the largest PLO faction. This early phase of his work enabled him to lead the political and nationalist struggle against the illegal Israeli occupation. Faisal Husseini obtained his Bachelor degree from the Military College in Syria in 1967. He later organized a military camp for hundreds of volunteers at Kaifoun/ Lebanon in the wake of the 1967 Arab defeat. He returned to Jerusalem in 1967 crossing the Jordan River and settling in Jerusalem, his home and the home of his ancestors. He then started working with various Palestinian groups and factions which had come together to resist the occupation. Faisal Husseini was among the Palestinian nationalist pioneers who were detained by the Israelis directly after the war under the pretext that they were setting up military groups and possessing arms. He was sentenced to one year in prison on October 15, 1967. Between 1969 and 1979 Faisal Husseini pursued various professions. He worked as a farmer in Jericho, an oil merchant, a hotel receptionist, a radiology technician, and a mobile vendor. In 1979 Faisal Husseini, along with a small group of Palestinian intellectuals, founded the Arab Studies Society which was threatened by the Israelis and closed several times. In 1981, he led the campaign to end the siege imposed by the Israeli forces on the Golan Heights. The Israeli authorities put him under administrative detention in Jerusalem from 1982-1987 which prevented him from furthering his studies as a historian in the Faculty of Arts at The Arab Beirut University in which he had enrolled in 1977. Faisal Husseini established the Palestine Center for Human Rights and "Confronting The Iron Fist" in 1987. He was among the most prominent leaders of the First Palestinian Intifada, and was detained once again that same year. He was detained sporadically until 1989. Due to the closure of the Arab Studies Society during those years, Faisal Husseini exercised his political and official activities from his home. In 1991, Faisal Husseini led the preliminary talks for the Madrid Peace Conference with former US Secretary of State Mr. James Baker. In 1992 he set up headquarters for the Palestinian Delegation to the peace talks in what later became known as the 'Orient House'. Besides becoming somewhat of a center for the PLO in Jerusalem, the Orient House also encompassed the Arab Studies Society and became a main center to service the residents of Jerusalem and anchor them in the city. In 1995 Faisal Husseini received the responsibility for the Jerusalem Portfolio from the PLO. A year later he was elected by the Palestinian National Council as member of the Executive Committee of the PLO. Faisal Husseini continuously confronted Israeli police and policies in East Jerusalem and defended its Palestinian character all over the world. He led demonstrations to defend Holy sites such as Al-Haram Al-Sharif. He strongly opposed settlements in different regions, particularly in Abu-Ghneim (a.k.a. Har homa). He also confronted the Israeli forces during the tunnel incidents in 1996. Faisal Husseini effectively transformed Jerusalem into a functional capital for Palestinians and made the Orient House the official location for official meetings and political figures. He undertook dozens of international tours to defend the case of East Jerusalem and Palestine, and tried to direct and unite Arab attention to Jerusalem. Fasial Husseini passed away during his visit to Kuwait on 31/5/2001 and was buried on 1/6/2001 in the courtyard of Al-Haram Al-Sharif beside his father and grandfather. On this day, Jerusalem was liberated with his farewell.