|News on Hani al-Hasan|
Al-Hasan was born in Haifa in 1937. He is the brother of Khalid al-Hasan, one of the founding members of Fateh. He became a refugee after the 1948 war and ended up in the Yarmouk refugee camp near Damascus where he joined the Muslim Brotherhood in the early 1950s. He studied construction engineering in Darmstadt and Munich, Germany, where he became involved in the Europe branch of the General Union of Palestinian Students (GUPS). He was elected president of GUPS in 1962 at a conference in Gaza. In the early 1960s he was the leader of many affiliated workers’ unions, and formed and led his own underground commando group in Germany.
He joined Fateh in 1963 and became a leading figure in the movement and committed his commando group to it, thus becoming Fateh’s main link in Europe between 1963 until 1967. He was a founding member of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) in 1964. From 1967 until 1970 he was a member of the military council of the al-Asifa forces, and was leader of its armed resistance between 1972 and 1975. In early 1970 al-Hasan served as regional head of Fateh in Jordan. He also facilitated PLO channels to China in the 1970s.
Al-Hasan served as deputy to Salah Khalaf (Abu Iyad) in the group’s intelligence service. From 1974 he was political aide to PLO chairman, Yasser Arafat. He was the first Palestinian representative to Iran. He became a member of the Fateh Central Committee in May 1980 and a member of the PLO’s Central Council in the 1980s. He became the PLO representative to Amman, Jordan, in 1982.
He was chairman of the Saudi-Palestinian joint committee and chairman of the Palestinian side in the Palestinian-French Committee between 1985 and 1991. He played an important role in the Jordanian-Palestinian agreement signed with King Hussein in 1985. He led the negotiations with the Israeli government between 1986 and 1988.
Al-Hasan was critical of the PLO stance during the 1990 Gulf crisis, the negotiations process with Israel and Arafat’s leadership style. He was one of several senior Fateh figures who voiced criticism of the 1993 Oslo Accords, criticism that led to serious divisions within the movement. He was among the Palestinian figures from various political backgrounds who met in Amman in December 1994 to establish the Palestine Democratic Union, Fida.
He maintained his position of dissent even after the establishment of the Palestinian Authority (PA). This was in spite of the fact that he returned to Gaza from exile in November 1995 and became a member of the Fateh executive committee. He served as Arafat’s chief political adviser on day-to-day matters and as his special envoy and crisis manager. Between 1989 and 2004 he acted as the head of the Palestinian National Council’s (PNC) foreign relations committee. He also served as the head of the Fateh mobilization and organization bureau.
Following the Hamas takeover of Gaza in June 2007, al-Hasan embarrassed Fateh during an interview on al-Jazeera, in which he described other Fateh officials as collaborators who served the interests of the Americans and Israelis. As a result, President Abbas dismissed him from his post as senior president’s advisor.