Khadr, Husam (1961–)
KHADR, HUSAM (1961–)
Palestinian political figure born in 1961 in Kufr Ruman, near Hebron in the West Bank, to which his family had fled from Jaffa in 1948. After spending his childhood in the Balata refugee camp near Nablus, Husam Khadr joined al-Fatah in 1978. He was arrested by the Israelis twenty-three times and spent a year and a half in an Israeli prison, as well as a year under house arrest. In the first Intifada, he organized several youth groups that participated in the uprising. After being wounded in a demonstration, he was deported to Lebanon in January 1988. In 1990 he was elected to the executive committee of the Palestine Students General Association, and became a member of the Palestine National Council (PNC), the legislative body of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), and was on its political committee. In 1994, under the terms of the Oslo Accords, he returned to the Palestinian territories. In February 1996 he was elected as a deputy from Nablus to the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC), and was a member of its political and human rights committees. He also worked in the Palestinian Authority (PA)'s Ministry for Youth and Sports, and was the founder and chairman of the Palestinian Refugees' Rights Defense Committee, which undertook a campaign for the right of return of Palestinian refugees.
In the autumn of 2001, when the al-Aqsa Intifada was intensifying, he denounced the PLO/PA leadership for clinging to their belief in the Oslo process and its various offshoots such as the Mitchell Plan, and called the Intifada a "blessing" for countering Palestinian despair and humiliation. He has been Yasir Arafat's severest critic, denouncing him as corrupt and undemocratic, and calling his cabinet "a bunch of thieves." Khadr was represented widely in the media as a member of a new generation of Palestinian leaders likely to take over from Arafat and his group. When Israel reoccupied the West Bank cities in 2002, Khadr went into hiding. In March 2003, occupation troops attacked his home in the Balata camp and arrested him, confiscating his computer and files and destroying the contents of his home. He has been imprisoned under extremely harsh conditions ever since, while being "investigated" for "jeopardizing the region's safety" and "engaging in militant activities against Israeli targets."