Qaddumi, Faruq (Abu Lutf)

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QADDUMI, FARUQ (Abu Lutf)

Palestinian political figure, born in August 1931 at Kufr Qaddum, near Nablus; grew up in Haifa but returned to Nablus as a refugee in 1948. Faruq Qaddumi joined the Baʿth Party in 1949. He worked for the American oil company Aramco in Saudi Arabia, from 1952 to 1954, when he left to attend the American University of Cairo, from which he graduated in 1958 with degrees in economics and political science. In Cairo he belonged to the General Union of Palestine Students (GUPS). In 1959, with Yasir Arafat and Salah Khalaf, Qaddumi helped found the Palestinian Fatah movement. Between 1960 and 1966, while working at the Kuwaiti ministry of health, he was very active in furthering the Palestinian cause. Expelled from Kuwait, he went to Damascus, then to Cairo, finally settling in Amman.

During this period, Qaddumi and Salah Khalaf became friends of Gamal Abdel Nasser. In April, 1966, Qaddumi became Secretary General of Fatah. In 1969, Qaddumi was elected to the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), in charge of popular organizations. In May 1973, he was named head of the political department of the PLO, replacing Muhammad al-Najjar, who was assassinated in Lebanon by an Israeli commando. Combining the offices of head of Palestinian diplomacy and Secretary General of Fatah, he succeeded in obtaining the recognition of the PLO by the United Nations. Because of his connections with socialist countries, he was able to have PLO offices opened in numerous countries of Eastern Europe and Africa.

The Lebanese crisis became an occasion for him to demonstrate his talents at negotiation and diplomacy. While continuing to be vital in the political department of the PLO, Qaddumi maintained a great deal of influence in Fatah, of which he was one of the main leaders. In August 1989, at the fifth congress of Fatah, he consolidated his position near the top of the movement. He advocated maintaining the Fatah's role in revolutionary movement, while affirming the need for the PLO to have a central political role. On 1 June 1992, Yasir Arafat, hospitalized in Amman following a plane crash in Libya, designated Qaddumi as a member of the triumvirate, along with Mahmud Rida Abbas (Abu Mazen) and Khalid al-Hasan, in charge of the PLO in the interim. On 20 August 1993, when the coming accord with Israel was announced, he publicly expressed his reservations about its wisdom. As a result, on 13 September 1993, Qaddumi did not participate in the Washington ceremony, although it would have been expected that, as "foreign minister" of the PLO, he would have been the one to initial the accord, not Mahmud Abbas. In spite of his reservations about the Oslo accord, Faruq Qaddumi continued to participate in international negotiations, but when the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) was being set up in the Occupied Territories, he refused to go there, staying on as PLO foreign minister in Tunis. He was appointed director of the Palestinian Economic Council for Development and Reconstruction (PECDAR) but did not actively participate. Qaddumi remains head of the PLO political department and remains headquartered in Tunis.

SEE ALSO Abbas, Mahmud Rida; Arafat, Yasir; Baʿth; General Union of Palestine Students; Hasan, Khalid al-; Khalaf, Salah; Nablus; Nasser, Gamal Abdel; Occupied Territories; Palestine Liberation Organization, Palestinian Economic Council for Development and Reconstruction.

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