Issam Sartawi

Issam Sartawi

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Dr Issam Sartawi was a senior member of the Palestine Liberation Organization
Palestine Liberation Organization
The Palestine Liberation Organization is a political and paramilitary organization which was created in 1964. It is recognized as the "sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people" by the United Nations and over 100 states with which it holds diplomatic relations, and has enjoyed...

 (PLO).

Medical background


Issam Sartawi attended university in Baghdad
Baghdad
Baghdad is the capital of Iraq, as well as the coterminous Baghdad Governorate. The population of Baghdad in 2011 is approximately 7,216,040...

, graduating in medicine, before specializing in cardiology
Cardiology
Cardiology is a medical specialty dealing with disorders of the heart . The field includes diagnosis and treatment of congenital heart defects, coronary artery disease, heart failure, valvular heart disease and electrophysiology...

 and getting his MD
Doctor of Medicine
Doctor of Medicine is a doctoral degree for physicians. The degree is granted by medical schools...

 in the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

.

Politics


Sartawi returned to Palestine
Palestine
Palestine is a conventional name, among others, used to describe the geographic region between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River, and various adjoining lands....

 in 1967, joined the Fatah
Fatah
Fataḥ is a major Palestinian political party and the largest faction of the Palestine Liberation Organization , a multi-party confederation. In Palestinian politics it is on the left-wing of the spectrum; it is mainly nationalist, although not predominantly socialist. Its official goals are found...

 movement and helped establish the Palestine Red Crescent Society. He quickly rose to become Yasser Arafat
Yasser Arafat
Mohammed Yasser Abdel Rahman Abdel Raouf Arafat al-Qudwa al-Husseini , popularly known as Yasser Arafat or by his kunya Abu Ammar , was a Palestinian leader and a Laureate of the Nobel Prize. He was Chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization , President of the Palestinian National Authority...

's adviser on Europe
Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

 and North America
North America
North America is a continent wholly within the Northern Hemisphere and almost wholly within the Western Hemisphere. It is also considered a northern subcontinent of the Americas...

. In the mid-1970s he participated with other moderate PLO members at meetings of the Israel-Palestine Peace Council. Sartawi and the senior Israeli negotiator, Aryeh "Lova" Eliav
Aryeh Eliav
Arie "Lova" Eliav, born Lev Lipschitz , , was an Israeli politician and former member of the Knesset.-Biography:...

, jointly received the Austria
Austria
Austria , officially the Republic of Austria , is a landlocked country of roughly 8.4 million people in Central Europe. It is bordered by the Czech Republic and Germany to the north, Slovakia and Hungary to the east, Slovenia and Italy to the south, and Switzerland and Liechtenstein to the...

n Kreisky
Bruno Kreisky
Bruno Kreisky was an Austrian politician who served as Foreign Minister from 1959 to 1966 and as Chancellor from 1970 to 1983. Aged 72 at the end of his chancellorship, he was the oldest acting Chancellor after World War II....

 prize in 1979 for seeking an end to the Arab-Israeli conflict, and for securing the recognition of the state of Israel by the PLO. The meetings between the PLO and the Israel-Palestine Peace Council were detailed in the book 'My Friend, the Enemy' by the Israeli peace activist Uri Avnery
Uri Avnery
Uri Avnery is an Israeli writer and founder of the Gush Shalom peace movement.A member of the Irgun as a teenager, Avnery sat in the Knesset from 1965–74 and 1979–81...

 who was one of the negotiators. Palestinian hard-liners were unhappy with Sartawi's peace efforts and induced him to resign from the Palestine National Council. However, Arafat would not accept Sartawi's resignation.

Assassination


In February 1983, Portuguese socialist leader Mario Soares
Mário Soares
Mário Alberto Nobre Lopes Soares, GColTE, GCC, GColL, KE , Portuguese politician, served as Prime Minister of Portugal from 1976 to 1978 and from 1983 to 1985, and subsequently as the 17th President of Portugal from 1986 to 1996.-Family:...

 formally invited the PLO to send an observer to the April 1983 congress of the Socialist International
Socialist International
The Socialist International is a worldwide organization of democratic socialist, social democratic and labour political parties. It was formed in 1951.- History :...

 in Sydney
Sydney
Sydney is the most populous city in Australia and the state capital of New South Wales. Sydney is located on Australia's south-east coast of the Tasman Sea. As of June 2010, the greater metropolitan area had an approximate population of 4.6 million people...

. The passionately pro-Israeli Australia
Australia
Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...

n Labour
Australian Labor Party
The Australian Labor Party is an Australian political party. It has been the governing party of the Commonwealth of Australia since the 2007 federal election. Julia Gillard is the party's federal parliamentary leader and Prime Minister of Australia...

 prime minister, Bob Hawke, strongly objected to the PLO's invitation; and the SI congress was hurriedly relocated to Albufeira
Albufeira
Albufeira is a Portuguese municipality in the Faro District, Algarve region. Its name came from the Arabic: البحيرة . The city has a population of 13,646. The municipality has a population of 35,281 inhabitants and a total area of 140.6 km²...

, Portugal
Portugal
Portugal , officially the Portuguese Republic is a country situated in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula. Portugal is the westernmost country of Europe, and is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the West and South and by Spain to the North and East. The Atlantic archipelagos of the...

. Sartawi was selected by the PLO as its representative at this meeting in Portugal. Because the SI counted both the Israeli Labor Party and the PLO as members, it was hoped that such a meeting could promote the Middle Eastern peace process.

On April 10, 1983 Sartawi was shot and killed in the lobby of the Montechoro Hotel in Albufeira
Albufeira
Albufeira is a Portuguese municipality in the Faro District, Algarve region. Its name came from the Arabic: البحيرة . The city has a population of 13,646. The municipality has a population of 35,281 inhabitants and a total area of 140.6 km²...

, Portugal
Portugal
Portugal , officially the Portuguese Republic is a country situated in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula. Portugal is the westernmost country of Europe, and is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the West and South and by Spain to the North and East. The Atlantic archipelagos of the...

. The gunman escaped. Sartawi's assassination (later claimed by the Abu Nidal Organization) was witnessed by SI secretary-general, Bernt Carlsson
Bernt Carlsson
Bernt Wilmar Carlsson was Assistant-Secretary-General of the United Nations and United Nations Commissioner for Namibia from July 1987 until he died on Pan Am Flight 103, which was blown up over Lockerbie, Scotland on 21 December 1988.-Social democrat:A native of Stockholm, Carlsson joined the...

, and was assumed to have been carried out so as to frustrate Carlsson's peace efforts. Sartawi's funeral took place in Amman
Amman
Amman is the capital of Jordan. It is the country's political, cultural and commercial centre and one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world. The Greater Amman area has a population of 2,842,629 as of 2010. The population of Amman is expected to jump from 2.8 million to almost...

 and was attended by all factions of the PLO – even including Abu Nidal Organization members (according to Maxim Ghilan
Maxim Ghilan
Maxim Ghilan was the director of the International Jewish Peace Union, the first Jewish organization to recognize the Palestine Liberation Organization as a partner in dialogue. He was the co-founder, in 1971, of the periodical Israel and Palestine Political Report.-Early life:Ghilan was born in...

, founder of the International Jewish Peace Union).

Memorial


In 1998, the Issam Sartawi Center for the Advancement of Peace and Democracy (ISCAPD) was established at the Al-Quds University
Al-Quds University
Al-Quds University is a Palestinian university with campuses in Jerusalem, Abu Dis, and al-Bireh. It was founded in 1984, but its official constitution was written in 1993 when Mohammed Nusseibeh, its first Chancellor and Chancellor of the College of Science and Technology, announced its...

 (the Arab University in Jerusalem) in memory of Sartawi. In 1999, a Portuguese
Portugal
Portugal , officially the Portuguese Republic is a country situated in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula. Portugal is the westernmost country of Europe, and is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the West and South and by Spain to the North and East. The Atlantic archipelagos of the...

 author André Neves Bento wrote a detailed account of Issam Sartawi's assassination. During his investigations, André Neves Bento has found transfers from a bank account in the name of Samir Najem A-Din, portrayed in the Western press as one of the leading PLO money men, from which account money was taken for a variety of purposes. On 13th of March, 1984, less than one year of Sartawi's assassination, for example, the owner of the account instructed the bank to transfer $17,000 to the Dafex arms factory in Portugal. A directive given by Najem A-din to the bank was also discovered, in which he orders the monthly transfer of 10,000 pounds to the account of Amin al- Banna, apparently the cousin of Abu Nidal. Al-Banna is suspected of involvement in the murder of Issam Sartawi, Arafat's political adviser.