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last updated Jan. 5, 2010 1:14 PM (EST+7)
Bashir Barghouthi
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Palestinian politics Palestinian Communist Party Palestinian People’s Party PLO
Bashir Barghouthi became minister of industry in May 1996 in the first Palestinian Authority cabinet. In 1997 he suffered a severe stroke and lost his ability to speak. He was then appointed minister of state. He died on September 9, 2000.

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Barghouthi was born in 1931 in the village of Deir Ghassana in Ramallah district. He obtained a BA in political science and economics from the American University in Jordan and was an activist in the General Union of Palestinian Students (GUPS) in Jordan until his graduation in 1956. He owned al-Jamahir (The Masses), a communist newspaper, from 1956, but it was closed down in February 1957. Barghouthi was imprisoned for eight years at al-Jaffar detention camp. Upon his release in 1965 he was refused a journalist license, so he started to write under a pseudonym. After 1967, he became a stern critic of Jordan, especially of King Hussein’s right to speak on behalf of the Palestinians.

In 1973 he was allowed to return to the West Bank but was put on trial in 1974 for ‘spying’. He was later acquitted. He took control of the Jordanian Communist Party (JCP) in Palestine when Suleiman Najjab was deported in 1975. From 1975 he served as chief editor of al-Fajr (Dawn) newspaper until Fateh began to oppose his political stance in 1977. In 1978 he founded and was chief editor of al-Talia (the Vanguard) weekly newspaper in Jerusalem. Between 1980 and 1982 he was put under house arrest by the Israelis which prevented him for working.

On February 10, 1982 all the Palestinian branches of the JCP were converted into the Palestinian Communist Party (PCP) (now known as the Palestinian People’s Party) and Barghouthi became secretary general. The PCP joined the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) in 1987 and Barghouthi was inducted into the PLO executive committee. He served to broker an agreement between Fateh and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) and played a leading role in the first Intifada, creating the first popular committee. He also actively participated in the Oslo negotiations.
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