Misheal, Sharif Ali (Abbas Zaki)

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Palestinian political figure, born in 1943 in the West Bank. After joining Fatah early in the 1960s, Mishʿal, better known under the pseudonym of Abbas Zaki, became an ardent defender of the Palestinian cause.

In 1972, he was arrested by Jordanian authorities for his activism, then expelled to Syria. In 1982, Yasir Arafat, to whom he had drawn close, named him al-Fatah representative to Yemen. Four years later, forced to leave Aden, he went to the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) headquarters in Tunis, where he became an assistant to Mahmud Abbas, head of the department of national affairs. In 1987 he was in a Palestinian delegation that went to China on an official visit. In August 1989, when the first Intifada was intensifying in the Occupied Territories, he was elected to the central committee of al-Fatah, and he headed the "committee to oversee the uprising in the West Bank," at the same time as he was in charge of affairs in the Occupied Territories on behalf of the executive committee. That year, he accompanied Arafat on many foreign trips. In January 1990, he was in Jordan, in charge of restarting the Palestinian-Jordanian negotiations. In November 1991, in the framework of the Israeli-Arab peace process, started at the Madrid Conference, he went to Damascus to meet with leaders of the Palestinian opposition, members of the Palestinian National Salvation Front (PNSF). In June 1993, at the meeting of the central committee of al-Fatah, he joined with those who criticized the way Arafat was leading the movement. In September, he came out against the Israeli-Palestinian Oslo Accords and Declaration of Principles signed in Washington that month. In February 1996, he was elected a deputy to the new Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC), within which he became president of the commission on education. In 2004 he was head of the International Department of al-Fatah.

SEE ALSO Abbas, Mahmud Rida;Arafat, Yasir;Fatah, al-;Intifada (1987–1993);Oslo Accords;Palestinian Legislative Council;Palestinian National Salvation Front;West Bank.