In this 1998 interview, Conversations host Harry Kreisler welcomes Faisal Husseini, one of the leading figures in the Palestinian national movement and Yossi Beilin, a leading Israeli political figure, for a discussion of how their mutual dialogue set in motion the Oslo Peace Accord. Both Husseini and Beilin talk about their lives and how their perceptions of the other took an important turn toward peace.
Faisal Abdel Qader Al-Husseini (Arabic: فيصل عبدالقادر الحسيني) (July 17, 1940–May 31, 2001) was a Palestinian politician who was considered a possible future leader of the Palestinian people.
Husseini was born in Baghdad son of Abd al-Qadir al-Husayni, commander of local Arab forces during the siege of 1948 and grandnephew of the Haj Mohammad Amin al-Husayni, the former Grand Mufti of Jerusalem. He studied in Cairo, Baghdad, and Damascus. He was a founding member of the General Union of Palestinian Students (GUPS) in 1959.
Husseini went to work for the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) upon its establishment in Jerusalem as deputy manager of the Public Organisation Dept, a post he filled from 1964 to 1965. He later received military training at the Damascus Military College after which he joined the Palestinian Liberation Army in 1967.
In 1979, Husseini founded and became chairman of the Arab Studies Society.
From 1982–1987, he was repeatedly placed under house and city arrest. He was imprisoned several times from April 1987–January 1989, but remained active in the Intifada.
In 1982, he became a member of the Supreme Muslim Council in Jerusalem. Subsequently he served as a Palestinian spokesperson, head of the Jerusalem National Council/Palestine, member and later head of the Palestinian delegation to the Madrid Middle East Peace Conference and subsequent talks, head of the Fatah faction in the West Bank, and Palestinian Authority Minister without Portfolio.
His last post was Palestinian Authority Minister for Jerusalem Affairs for which he was based in East Jerusalem. He died while trying to mend relations between the Kuwaiti government and PLO which were broken at the time of the 1991 Gulf War.
Husseini was considered a pragmatist by journalists. He taught himself to speak Hebrew and regularly appeared in radio and television shows in Israel to explain the Palestinians' point of view.
Husseini was buried on the Temple Mount, Judaism's holiest site and a Muslim holy site as well. Right-wing Jews see the burial as an insult, for Jewish purity laws forbid dead bodies from the Temple Mount.
Following Husseini's death, Israeli police seized his headquarters, the Orient House.
Dr. Yosef "Yossi" Beilin (Hebrew: יוסי ביילין, born in Petah Tikva on 12 June 1948) is a left-wing Israeli politician and a former Knessetmember, Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister and Justice Minister, representing both the Labor Party and Meretz-Yachad, of which he served as chairman between 2003 and 2006. He is best known for his involvement with the Oslo accords, the Geneva Initiative and theIsraeli-Palestinian peace process in general. His signed expositions on Israeli political and social current events are frequently carried in the left-of-centre daily newspaper Haaretz.
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