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Encyclopedia Of The Palestinians: Biography of Isam Sartawi
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Posted on November 12, 2000

Sartawi, Isam
resistance figure, early peace activist
1935-1983 Acre
Sartawi earned a B.A. in Baghdad and later studied medicine there before specializing in cardiology and obtaining an M.D. in the United States. Sartawi turned his interests toward politics in 1967 when he left the United States to fight with FATAH. He also helped establish the Palestine RED CRESCENT Society. In 1968, he left Fatah and established a short-lived Nasirist commando movement, the Action Organization for the Liberation of Palestine (AOLP). The AOLP was soon absorbed back into Fatah in 1971.
Sartawi thereafter rose to become an adviser on Europe and North America to YASIR ARAFAT, head of both Fatah and the PALESTINE LIBERATION ORGANIZATION (PLO), as well as a member of Fatah's revolutionary committee. He became an articulate PLO moderate who made contact with leftist, peace-oriented Israelis beginning with his meetings with Arie Eliav and other members of the Israel-Palestine Peace Council in 1976-77. In 1979, Sartawi received the Austrian Kreisky Prize along with Eliav for his efforts in exploring a peaceful end to the ARAB-ISRAELI CONFLICT, including the recognition of Israel by the PLO.
Faced with criticism by Palestinian hard-liners, Sartawi tried to resign from the PALESTINE NATIONAL COUNCIL on several occasions. Arafat refused to accept his resignation each time and defended him. Sartawi was eventually shot and killed in Portugal at a meeting of the Socialist International, allegedly by the hard-line Fatah Revolutionary Council organization (the ABU NIDAL group).
Michael R. Fischbach

The above was quoted from Encyclopedia Of The Palestinians edited by Philip Mattar


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