Said Hammami

Said Hammami

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Said Hammami was a Palestinian
Palestinian people
The Palestinian people, also referred to as Palestinians or Palestinian Arabs , are an Arabic-speaking people with origins in Palestine. Despite various wars and exoduses, roughly one third of the world's Palestinian population continues to reside in the area encompassing the West Bank, the Gaza...

 politician, diplomat and journalist. He was assassinated in his office in London
London
London is the capital city of :England and the :United Kingdom, the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom, and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures. Located on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its...

 on January 4, 1978, where he was serving as the representative 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) to the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

.

Born in Jaffa
Jaffa
Jaffa is an ancient port city believed to be one of the oldest in the world. Jaffa was incorporated with Tel Aviv creating the city of Tel Aviv-Yafo, Israel. Jaffa is famous for its association with the biblical story of the prophet Jonah.-Etymology:...

 in 1941, Said Hammami fled the British Mandate of Palestine with his family upon the breakout of hostilities which preceded the creation of the State of Israel in 1948.

After a brief stop at a refugee camp in Egypt
Egypt
Egypt , officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, Arabic: , is a country mainly in North Africa, with the Sinai Peninsula forming a land bridge in Southwest Asia. Egypt is thus a transcontinental country, and a major power in Africa, the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East and the Muslim world...

, his family moved to Lebanon
Lebanon
Lebanon , officially the Republic of LebanonRepublic of Lebanon is the most common term used by Lebanese government agencies. The term Lebanese Republic, a literal translation of the official Arabic and French names that is not used in today's world. Arabic is the most common language spoken among...

 and then settled in Jordan
Jordan
Jordan , officially the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan , Al-Mamlaka al-Urduniyya al-Hashemiyya) is a kingdom on the East Bank of the River Jordan. The country borders Saudi Arabia to the east and south-east, Iraq to the north-east, Syria to the north and the West Bank and Israel to the west, sharing...

, where his father re-established himself as a fruit and vegetable trader. After attending high school in Jordan, Said Hamami moved to Syria
Syria
Syria , officially the Syrian Arab Republic , is a country in Western Asia, bordering Lebanon and the Mediterranean Sea to the West, Turkey to the north, Iraq to the east, Jordan to the south, and Israel to the southwest....

 for university education. It was in Damascus
Damascus
Damascus , commonly known in Syria as Al Sham , and as the City of Jasmine , is the capital and the second largest city of Syria after Aleppo, both are part of the country's 14 governorates. In addition to being one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world, Damascus is a major...

 that his interest in politics took shape, as he joined the Arab
Arab
Arab people, also known as Arabs , are a panethnicity primarily living in the Arab world, which is located in Western Asia and North Africa. They are identified as such on one or more of genealogical, linguistic, or cultural grounds, with tribal affiliations, and intra-tribal relationships playing...

 Ba'th Party while still at college studying English Literature. After his graduation from university, he worked as a journalist in Damascus and then traveled to Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia , commonly known in British English as Saudi Arabia and in Arabic as as-Sa‘ūdiyyah , is the largest state in Western Asia by land area, constituting the bulk of the Arabian Peninsula, and the second-largest in the Arab World...

 where he found a job as a school teacher. His stay there was not to last long, as his devotion to the Palestinian cause took him back to Syria, where he soon quit the Ba'th Party to join 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...

, soon after its establishment in May 1964. He quickly climbed the ranks of the organization and become a member of the Palestinian National Council at the young age of 30.

He was appointed by 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...

 to be the first diplomatic delegate of the PLO to the UK in 1973, heading their Office in London. There, he began to promote co-existence between the Palestinians and Israelis, calling for a two-state solution
Two-state solution
The two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is the consensus solution that is currently under discussion by the key parties to the conflict, most recently at the Annapolis Conference in November 2007...

 to the Question of Palestine. In 1974 and 1975, Said Hammami, in interviews to journalists and newspaper opinion pieces, articulated what has sometimes been considered the first indication of PLO acceptance of a two-state solution. A 1974 interview with Joseph Finklestone in The Jewish Chronicle was controversial among Israelis, because much of the Israeli populace of that period (including Golda Meir
Golda Meir
Golda Meir ; May 3, 1898 – December 8, 1978) was a teacher, kibbutznik and politician who became the fourth Prime Minister of the State of Israel....

), held that "Palestinians" were not "a distinct entity" with a legitimate identity.

In London, he also established contacts with British politicians and journalists, as well as building relations with Israeli peace activists, most notably 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 wrote a book about him after his assassination, which he entitled "My Friend the Enemy".

Sources


  • http://worldcat.org/wcpa/ow/8b81eee87059995ba19afeb4da09e526.html
  • http://www.britannica.com/eb/article-9389568/Hammami-Said
  • http://worldcat.org/wcpa/ow/8b81eee87059995ba19afeb4da09e526.html
  • http://www.palestine-encyclopedia.com/EPP/Chapter32_2of2.htm
  • http://www.lrb.co.uk/v25/n12/said01_.html
  • http://www.fpif.org/outside/commentary/0112israel.html
  • http://www.thenation.com/archive/detail/11197960