Famous Palestinian Leaders

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Palestine or State of Palestine is a partially recognized state in Middle East which gained its independence in 1988. It includes the West Bank and Gaza Strip and has East Jerusalem as its designated capital. The State of Palestine is headed by the President who serves as the head of the state. Other than this, he also serves as the president of the Palestinian National Authority. Traditionally, the president of the State of Palestine isn’t a democratically elected member. Instead, he is elected by the PLO or Palestine Liberation Organization. Following its independence, the PLO elected Yasser Arafat as the first President of the State of Palestine. A Nobel Peace Prize winner, Arafat played an instrumental role in the negotiations at Oslo. In 1994, he was made President of the Palestinian National Authority. He served as the President of Palestine until his death in 2004 and was later succeeded by Mahmud Abbas. Abbas has been currently serving as the President of the State of Palestine since his formal appointment in 2005. However, before taking up the presidential duties, he served as the first prime minister of Palestinian Authority from March 2003 until September 2003. With this segment, find out more about Palestinian leaders, their political career and their personal life.
Vote for Your Favourite Palestinian Leaders
 1 
Yasser Arafat
(1st President of the Palestinian National Authority)
Yasser Arafat
13
Birthdate: August 24, 1929
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Cairo
Died: November 11, 2004

Yasser Arafat was a Palestinian political leader. One of the most important figures of the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which began in the mid-20th century, Yasser Arafat remains a controversial figure as he is regarded as a hero by the Palestinian people while the Israelis view him as a terrorist. 

 2 
Amin al-Husseini
(Grand Mufti of Jerusalem)
Amin al-Husseini
6
Birthdate: 1895 AD
Birthplace: Jerusalem, Israel
Died: July 4, 1974

Amin al-Husseini, the grand mufti of Jerusalem, is remembered as a symbol of Arab nationalist resistance to Palestinian Zionism. His rebellions made the British drop the idea of making Palestine a Jewish state. During World War II, he rallied to stop Jewish immigrants from entering Palestine from Nazi-occupied countries.

 3 
Mahmoud Abbas
(President of the State of Palestine and Palestinian National Authority)
Mahmoud Abbas
6
Birthdate: March 26, 1935
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Safed
Despite growing up as a refugee after fleeing his hometown of Safed to Syria, amid the 1948 Arab-Israeli war, Mahmoud Abbas went on to become a lawyer and later earned his PhD. The former prime minister of the Palestinian National Authority became its president after Yasser Arafat’s death.
 4 
Ahmed Yassin
(Palestinian Politician and Imam Who Founded Hamas)
Ahmed Yassin
3
Birthdate: January 1, 1937
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Al-Jura, Mandatory Palestine
Died: March 22, 2004
Ahmed Yassin was a Palestinian politician who founded Hamas, a militant Islamist organization. He was also an imam and served as Hamas' spiritual leader after its founding in 1987. Ahmed Yassin was assassinated on 22 March 2004 by the Israel Defense Forces.
 5 
Ismail Haniya
(Senior Political Leader of Hamas and Formerly One of Two Disputed Prime Ministers of the Palestinian National Authority)
Ismail Haniya
4
Birthdate: January 29, 1962
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Al-Shati Camp, Gaza
Ismail Haniya is a political leader of Hamas and the current Chairman of the Hamas Political Bureau. From 2006 to 2014, he served as the Prime Minister of the Palestinian National Authority. However, his premiership was disputed.
 6 
Abū Niḍāl
(Palestinian Military Leader and Founder of 'The Abu Nidal Organization')
Abū Niḍāl
3
Birthdate: 1937
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Jaffa, Palestine
Died: August 16, 2002
Abu Nidal was a Palestinian military leader who founded the Abu Nidal Organization. The organization was considered the most ruthless of all Palestinian groups at the peak of its militancy during the 1970s and 1980s. It is believed that Abu Nidal ordered attacks in at least 20 nations, killing more than 300 and injuring over 650.
 7 
Marwan Barghouti
(Palestinian Political figure)
Marwan Barghouti
3
Birthdate: June 6, 1959
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Kobar

Marwan Barghouti is a Palestinian political figure who was arrested by the Israeli Defense Forces on charges of murder. Considered the leader of the First Palestinian Intifada and the Second Intifada, Marwan Barghouti still plays an influential role in the political matters of Fatah from within the prison.

 8 
Hanan Ashrawi
(Palestinian Politician, Legislator, Activist, and Scholar)
Hanan Ashrawi
3
Birthdate: October 8, 1946
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Nablus, Palestine

Hanan Ashrawi is a Palestinian leader, legislator, activist, and scholar. She was the official spokesperson of the Palestinian delegation at the Madrid Peace Conference of 1991 and was elected to the Palestinian Legislative Council as a representative of Jerusalem in 1996. She is also the founder of the Independent Commission for Human Rights and the author of several books. 

 9 
Khalil al-Wazir
(Palestinian Leader and Co-founder of the Nationalist Party Fatah)
Khalil al-Wazir
2
Birthdate: October 10, 1935
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Ramla, Israel
Died: April 16, 1988

Palestinian political leader and co-founder of the party Fatah, Khalil al-Wazir became a top leader of Yasser Arafat’s Palestine Liberation Organization. He fled his native Palestine during the war that formed Israel. A military strategist, too, he later participated in the First Intifada and was later killed by Israeli commandos.

 10 
Saeb Erekat
(Palestinian Diplomat and Politician)
Saeb Erekat
3
Birthdate: April 28, 1955
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Abu Dis, Jordanian-ruled West Bank
Died: November 10, 2020
Saeb Erekat was a Palestinian diplomat and politician. He was a Member of the Palestinian Parliament for Jericho from 1996 to 2020. As the chief negotiator, Erekat was involved in almost all negotiations with Israel from 1995 to 2003. He also served as the secretary general of the Palestine Liberation Organization's executive committee from 2015 until his demise in 2020. 
 11 
Rami Hamdallah
(Palestinian Academic and Politician Who Served as the Prime Minister of Palestine)
Rami Hamdallah
3
Birthdate: August 10, 1958
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Anabta, West Bank, Jordan
Rami Hamdallah is a Palestinian academic and politician. He is best known for his service as the Prime Minister of the State of Palestine from 6 June 2013 to 14 April 2019. He also served as the Prime Minister of the Palestinian National Authority from 2014 to 2019. Rami Hamdallah also works as a professor in a non-governmental public university.
 12 
Salam Fayyad
(Former Prime Minister of the Palestinian National Authority)
Salam Fayyad
3
Birthdate: April 12, 1952
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Deir al-Ghusun, Palestine
Salam Fayyad is a Jordanian-Palestinian politician who served as the Prime Minister of the Palestinian National Authority from 15 June 2007 to 6 June 2013. However, his premiership was not recognized by the Legislative Council. Salam Fayyad also served as the Foreign Affairs Minister of the Palestinian National Authority in 2007.
 13 
Aḥmad Shuqayrī
(First Chairman of the Executive Committee of the 'Palestine Liberation Organization')
Aḥmad Shuqayrī
1
Birthdate: January 1, 1908
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Tabnīn, Lebanon
Died: February 26, 1980

Aḥmad Shuqayrī was a Lebanese Palestinian political leader who served as the first Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization from May 1964 to December 1967. Aḥmad Shuqayrī was used as a scapegoat by his opponents as one of his purported statements was used as part of the government's rationalization of their initiation of the Six-Day War.

 14 
Rechavam Ze'evi
(Israeli Politician and General)
Rechavam Ze'evi
3
Birthdate: June 20, 1926
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Jerusalem, Palestine
Died: October 17, 2001
Rehavam Ze'evi was an Israeli politician and general. He is best remembered for his service as the Minister of Tourism in Israel in 2001. An important politician, Ze'evi is credited with founding Moledet, a right-wing political party in Israel. Rehavam Ze'evi was murdered by Hamdi Quran to avenge the death of Abu Ali Mustafa, who was assassinated by Israeli forces.
 15 
Abū ʿAlī Muṣṭafā
(Palestinian Militant)
Abū ʿAlī Muṣṭafā
1
Birthdate: May 14, 1938
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Arabeh, Palestine
Died: August 27, 2001
Abu Ali Mustafa was a Palestinian militant best remembered for his association with the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, where he served as the General Secretary from July 2000 until his assassination by Israeli forces on 27 August 2001.
 16 
Salah Shehada
(Palestinian Militant and an Important Leader of 'Hamas')
Salah Shehada
1
Birthdate: February 24, 1953
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Beit Hanoun, Gaza Strip
Died: July 22, 2002
Salah Shehade was a Palestinian militant who was part of the infamous Sunni-Islamic fundamentalist, nationalist, and militant organization, Hamas. He was in charge of the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, the military wing of Hamas. Salah Shehade was killed by the Israeli Defense Forces on 22 July 2002.
 17 
Kamal Nasser
(Palestinian Writer, Poet, and Political Leader)
Kamal Nasser
1
Birthdate: 1924 AD
Birthplace: Gaza, Mandatory Palestine
Died: April 10, 1973
Kamal Nasser was a Palestinian writer, poet, and political leader. A published poet, Nasser wrote many poems, some of which were translated into English. He also co-founded the al-Ba‘ath newspaper and the al-Jil al-Jadid newspaper. Kamal Nasser also served as the editor of another newspaper named Filastin al-Thawra.  
 18 
Vera Baboun
(Palestinian Politician Who Became the First Woman to Serve as the Mayor of Bethlehem)
Vera Baboun
2
Birthdate: October 6, 1964
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Bethlehem
Vera Baboun is a Palestinian politician who became the first woman to serve as the mayor of Bethlehem; she served in that position from October 2012 to 27 May 2017. She is currently working towards empowering women in Palestine. Vera Baboun is the recipient of many prestigious awards, including the Chiara Lubich Award.
 19 
Zuheir Mohsen
(Palestinian Political Leader)
Zuheir Mohsen
1
Birthdate: 1936 AD
Birthplace: Ṭulkarm, Palestine
Died: July 25, 1979
Zuheir Mohsen was a Palestinian political leader who led the As-Sa'iqa Ba'athist faction of PLO between 1971 and 1979. He was also one of the most important members of the Arab Socialist Baʿath Party's National Command. Zuheir Mohsen was assassinated in Cannes, France on 25 July 1979.
 20 
Khalida Jarrar
(Palestinian Political Leader)
Khalida Jarrar
2
Birthdate: February 9, 1963
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Nablus
Khalida Jarrar is a Palestinian politician and a member of the Palestinian Legislative Council. She is currently serving as the leader of the Prisoners Committee of the Palestinian Legislative Council. Khalida Jarrar played an important role in Palestine's bid to join the International Criminal Court.
 21 
Faisal Husseini
(Palestinian Politician)
Faisal Husseini
1
Birthdate: July 17, 1940
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Baghdad, Iraq
Died: May 31, 2001
Faisal Husseini was a Palestinian politician who became part of the Palestine Liberation Organization upon its establishment in 1964. In 1967, he became part of the Palestinian Liberation Army. Faisal Husseini is also credited with founding the Arab Studies Society in 1979.
 22 
Umm Nidal
(One of the Prominent Islamist Female Leaders in Palestine.)
Umm Nidal
1
Birthdate: December 24, 1949
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Shuja'iyya, Gaza City, Gaza Strip
Died: March 17, 2013

Umm Nidal, also known as the mother of martyrs, was a Palestinian hero of sorts, as 3 of her 6 sons were Hamas terrorists who died in their fight against Israelis. Also known as the Khansa of Palestine, she gained fame after appearing in a clip advising one of her sons.

 23 
Fatima Bernawi
(The First Woman from Palestine to Have Organized a Paramilitary Operation During the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict)
Fatima Bernawi
1
Birthdate: 1939 AD
Birthplace: Jerusalem, Mandate for Palestine
Fatima Bernawi was an Afro-Palestinian militant who took active part in the Palestinian Freedom Movement. She was the first woman from Palestine to have organized a paramilitary operation during the Israeli–Palestinian conflict; Fatima Bernawi organized a terrorist attack in an Israeli movie theater in 1967.
 24 
Intissar al-Wazir
(Palestinian Political Leader)
Intissar al-Wazir
1
Birthdate: December 12, 1941
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Gaza, Palestine
Intissar al-Wazir is a Palestinian political leader best known for her service as the Social Affairs Minister of the State of Palestine from 1995 to 2005. Intissar al-Wazir is also credited with founding the General Union of Palestinian Women, which focuses on the economic, social, and legal status of women in Palestine.
 25 
Janet Mikhail
(The First Female Mayor of Ramallah)
Janet Mikhail
0
Birthdate: 1945 AD
Birthplace: Ramallah, Palestine

Janet Mikhail scripted history as the first female mayor of Ramallah, a Palestinian city in the West Bank. She also taught in a girls’ school for 2 decades. Although many believe she was associated with the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine movement, she won the election as an independent candidate.

 26 
Haidar Abdel-Shafi
(Palestinian Political Leader, Community Leader, and Physician)
Haidar Abdel-Shafi
0
Birthdate: June 10, 1919
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Gaza, Palestine
Died: September 25, 2007
Haidar Abdel-Shafi was a Palestinian political leader, community leader, and physician. He is best remembered for leading the Palestinian delegation to the Madrid Conference of 1991. Haidar Abdel-Shafi is also credited with co-founding the Palestinian National Initiative along with Mustafa Barghouti, Edward Said, and Ibrahim Dakkak in 2002.
 27 
Jamila Abdallah Taha al-Shanti
(The Founder of Hamas' women's Organization)
Jamila Abdallah Taha al-Shanti
0
Birthdate: 1955 AD
Birthplace: Unknown

Initially a lecturer, Jamila Abdallah Taha al-Shanti later led the Hamas’s women's organization. The widow of Hamas leader Abdel Aziz al-Rantissi, also known as the Lion of Palestine, Jamila is vocal about women’s rights and is a member of the Palestinian Legislative Council. She also holds a PhD in English language.

 28 
Laila Shawa
(One of the Most Prolific and Important Artists of the Revolutionary Contemporary Art Scene in the Arab World)
Laila Shawa
0
Birthdate: 1940 AD
Birthplace: Gaza
Laila Shawa is a Palestinian artist who uses art to highlight the political situation of her country. She is one of the most prolific and important artists of the revolutionary contemporary art scene in the Arab world. Laila Shawa's artwork, which includes installations, sculptures, and paintings, has been exhibited all over the world.
 29 
Mai al-Kaila
(The First Woman to Hold the Position of Health Minister of Palestine)
Mai al-Kaila
2
Birthdate: April 8, 1955
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Jerusalem, Jordanian-ruled West Bank, Israel
Mai al-Kaila is a Palestinian diplomat, politician, and doctor. She is the current Health Minister of Palestine, the first woman to serve in that position. An important diplomat, Mai al-Kaila also served as the Palestinian Ambassador to Italy and to Chile between 2006 and 2019. 
 30 
Samiha Khalil
(A Prominent Figure of the Women's Movement in Palestine)
Samiha Khalil
0
Birthdate: 1923 AD
Birthplace: Anabta, Palestine
Died: February 26, 1999

 A pioneering figure of the women’s movement in Palestine, Samiha Khalil started the charitable organization al-Inaash al-Usra society from her garage. She has also been detained multiple times for her association with the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine. She also contributed to the development of a museum in Ramallah.

 31 
Elias Freij
(Palestinian Political Leader Who Served as the Mayor of Bethlehem)
Elias Freij
1
Birthdate: 1918 AD
Birthplace: Bethlehem, Palestine
Died: March 29, 1998
Elias Freij was a Palestinian politician best remembered for his service as the Mayor of Bethlehem between 1972 and 1997. Freij was the only non-Palestine Liberation Organization mayor to remain in office even after the establishment of the Palestinian National Authority.
 32 
Abu Salma
(Award Winning Palestinian Poet Who Was Known for His Patriotic Poetry)
Abu Salma
0
Birthdate: November 30, 1909
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Tulkarm, Palestine
Died: October 11, 1980

While he initially studied law in Haifa, poet Abu Salma fled to Aacre when the Israelis conquered the city. He struck up a friendship with poet Ibrahim Tuqan and later won many awards such as the Lotus International Reward for Literature for his works such as My Brush Is from Palestine.