Founding member of PLO dies

2009-08-02 19:14

Beirut - Shafiq al-Hout, a founding member of the Palestine Liberation Organisation, died in Lebanon on Sunday at the age of 77, Palestinian officials said.

Hout, a politician and writer who was a prominent figure in the Palestinian struggle for self-rule, died of cancer at the American University Hospital, an official at the Palestinian embassy in Beirut told AFP.

He is to be buried in the "Palestine Martyrs" cemetery in western Beirut on Monday.

Hout fled from his native Palestine to Lebanon in 1948 when the state of Israel was created, and remained there throughout the Lebanese civil war and until his death.

In 1964, he founded the PLO alongside its late chairperson Yasser Arafat and was appointed the organisation's first representative to Lebanon.

He was a member of the Palestinian National Council, the Parliament in exile, from its founding in 1964 until his death and served as the PLO's delegate to the United Nations from 1974 until 1992.

In 1993 he resigned from the PLO's executive committee alongside poet Mahmud Darwish in protest at Arafat's acceptance of terms of the Oslo interim peace accords which recognised the state of Israel.