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Shafiq Al-Hout, PLO founder, dead at 77

Aug. 2, 2009 12:53 P.M. (Updated: Aug. 5, 2009 10:51 A.M.)
Bethlehem – Ma’an – Shafiq Al-Hout, an original founder of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), died on Sunday. He was 77.

President Mahmoud Abbas announced his death on Sunday afternoon. The cause of death was not immediately made public.

A member of the Palestinian National Council (PNC) and PLO Executive Committee representative in Lebanon, Al-Hout was considered a renowned figure in the Palestinian struggle for self-determination.

The politician and writer was born 13 January 1932 in Jaffa, Palestine. He graduated from Al-A'mreiyah High School in 1948, and was expelled along with his family to Lebanon the same year. He never returned.

Al-Hout completed his studies at the American University of Beirut in 1953, and went on to teach in Lebanon until 1956, before moving to Kuwait. In 1958, he returned to Beirut to take up the post of chief editor at the Lebanese magazine Al-Hawadeth. He remained there until 1964.

He was present for the founding of the Palestinian Liberation Front in 1963, which he supported throughout his life, and attended the PLO's founding conference in Jerusalem in May 1964.

During the first meeting of the PLO's Executive Committee, Al-Hout was appointed representative and head of the organization's office in Lebanon. Following the appointment, he remained in politics for the duration of his life.

Al-Hout served as a member of the Executive Committee from 1966-1968, and returned to the post in 1991 until 1993, when he resigned in protest of the signing of the Oslo Accords, which recognized Israel.

The Palestinian figure represented the PLO at the United Nations General Assembly from 1974 onwards. He remained a member of the PNC and PLO offices in Lebanon until his death.
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