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Anwar Nusseibeh Dead at 73

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Anwar Zaki Nusseibeh, a leading Palestinian moderate who maintained close ties with both Jordan and top Israeli figures, died in Jerusalem Saturday, after a long illness. He was 73 years old. A former Jordanian Defense Minister, Nusseibeh came from a prominent Jerusalem family. He was born and educated in Jerusalem and studied law at Cambridge University.

Nusseibeh had served in many posts in Arab organizations, beginning in the Arab Office in London in 1945, and two years later as secretary of the Arab National Committee, set up in 1947 to succeed the Mandatory government in Palestine. He helped organize the Arab defense of Jerusalem in 1948 and lost a leg in the fighting.

He served as the Jordanian Governor of East Jerusalem from 1961 to 1962, and as Jordan’s Ambassador to London from 1965 to 1967.

After the Six-Day War, Nusseibeh conducted secret talks between Israel and Jordan on the future of the West Bank and maintained contacts with a wide range of Israeli leaders, including Moshe Dayan and Jerusalem Mayor Teddy Kollek.

Late in the 1970’s Nusseibeh appeared disillusioned with Jordan, feeling that King Hussein was indifferent to the West Bank Palestinians. From being a staunch supporter of Hussein he came to sympathize with the PO which lost him the Jordanian monarch’s support. Nusseibeh’s last official position was as board chairman of the Arab East Jerusalem Electric Co.

Nusseibeh is on record as saying he felt the biggest Arab failure was missing the opportunity to establish a Palestinian state in 1948, proposed in the United Nations partition resolution, alongside the Jewish State of Israel.

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