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[30 Nov 2010]

ABDULLAH HOURANI STRENUOUS CHAMPION  OF THE RIGHTS OF PALESTINIAN PEOPLE AND A FRIEND OF PORTUGAL DIED YESTERDAY

Abdullah Hourani died yesterday in Jordan, according to news agency Ma'an. The PLO Executive Council announced his death in a statement that remembers him as a faithful leader of the Palestinian struggle and co-founder of the contemporary Palestinian revolution. "His vast national and patriotic activities helped protect Palestinian identity."

Abdullah Hourani was in Lisbon in 1979, during the period before the great World Conference of Solidarity with the Arab People and their Central Cause - Palestine, to collaborate in the preparatory work. He had the political courage to be the only Arab person who, under the conditions then, spoke in favour of the existence of two states: Israel and Palestine.

He was again in Portugal at the invitation of the installing committee for the MPPM (Movement for the Rights of the Palestinian People and Peace in the Middle East), between May 27 and June 1, 2006. His visit was seminal for the MPPM, for it occurred at a time when the movement was structuring and creating its bases of support from national public opinion. It was also very important for the Palestinian cause because it was accompanied by interviews with major figures in political and labour life, as well as its participation in public meetings for clarification on the situation in Palestine.

During his stay in Portugal, Abdullah Hourani was received by Vice-President of the Assembly of the Republic, Manuel Alegre; the Presidents and Councilors of the Municipalities of Lisbon, Beja, Serpa and Almada; the President of the PS (Socialist Party), Almeida Santos, and the Secretary General of the PCP (Communist Party), Jerónimo de Sousa;  the parliamentary groups of the PS, the PCP and BE (Block of the Left), and the Directorates of CGTP-IN (General Confederation of Portuguese Workers) and UGT (General Workers' Union). He participated in public sessions in Almada and Serpa, as well as in a meeting with individuals linked to the formation of the MPPM.

Silas Cerqueira, Secretary for International Relations of the MPPM, gives his personal testimony about Hourani: "I knew Abdullah Hourani for over 30 years and had with him a relation on the political and personal level. I learned a lot from him and learned to respect his rare qualities of political courage, integrity and intelligence. That is why he split from Yasser Arafat, not angry but refusing his insistent offers, when he embarked by the Oslo Accords, a trap set by the European social democracy and whose tragic results for the Palestinian people, and Arafat himself, are obvious today. On the human level Abdullah was a kind and cultured personality, a good man. He liked Portugal of the April 25 and the Portuguese. He thought he would return here. We will miss him. "

The MPPM, which mourns the loss of a friend and a courageous fighter for the rights of the Palestinian people, sent the following message to the PLO Executive Committee:

"Dear Friends

With great regret we learned the very sad news of the untimely death of Palestinian leader Abdullah Hourani whom we much respected, especially since his role in Lisbon in 1979. Then he helped, in an upright manner, preparing the great World Conference of Solidarity with the Arab People and their Central Cause - Palestine. He became a very dear friend of ours, well known to the Solidarity Movement in Portugal. Recently, in 2006, he visited again our country and our movement. Throughout all these years, we learned to admire him as a leader with wisdom, courage and political integrity, who refused all false peace processes while the criminal Israeli occupation would continue. Maintaining good relations with all Palestinian sectors, he remained faithful to the principles of the Palestinian revolution, the unity of the Palestinian people in Gaza, the West Bank and Jerusalem, and the liberation of Palestine. He will live in our memory and his example urges our movement to intensify its action for the just cause of Palestine.

For the Movement for the Rights of the Palestinian People and Peace in the Middle East

Silas Cerqueira

Secretary for International Relations"
 
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