Ahmad al-Shukeiri (January 1, 1908 – February 26, 1980) (Arabic: أحمد الشقيري) also transcribed al-Shuqayri, Shuqeiri, Shukeiry, etc.), was the first Chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization, serving in 1964–67.
Shukeiri was born in Tebnine, south Lebanon then Ottoman Empire to a Turkish mother and a Palestinian Arab father, As'ad Shukeiri (1860–1940) (who was a member of the Arab Higher Committee and a member of the Nashashibi party in the Pekha (province) of Acre and was elected to the Ottoman Parliament in 1908 and 1912). Ahmad acquired the Turkish language from his mother. After studying law in the British law college in Jerusalem, he became a prominent lawyer in British-Palestine and a member of the Independence Party. In 1945 he went to Washington, D.C. to establish a Palestinian office and in 1946 joined the Arab Higher Committee. He was a member of the Syrian delegation to the United Nations from 1949 to 1951.
He then became assistant Secretary General for the Arab League from 1950–56, Saudi ambassador to the United Nations from 1957 to 1962. At the 1964 Arab League summit (Cairo), he was given a mandate to initiate contacts aimed at establishing a Palestinian entity. In May 1964, he was elected the first Chairman of the PLO (Palestine Liberation Organization). He resigned in December 1967 in the aftermath of the Six-Day War in June. His enemies and opponents used him as a scapegoat.
From May 28 to June 2, 1964 Shukeiri and 396 nominated representatives from Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, the Gaza strip, Egypt, Qatar, Kuwait, Libya and Iraq attended a Palestinian Conference (The First Palestinian National Council in East Jerusalem). Delegates wore badges carrying a map of Palestine and inscribed "We shall return". The Times reported that following an introductory address by King Hussein of Jordan, Shukeiri told delegates that "Palestinians had experienced 16 years' misery and it was time they relied on themselves and liberated Palestine from the Israelis". The conference announced the establishment of the PLO as the representative of the Palestinian Arabs. Shukeiri and his colleagues also announced the formation of the Palestinian National Fund, and at the Second Arab Summit Conference in Alexandria in September 1964 of a military wing, the Palestine Liberation Army. Shukeiri was succeeded as Chairman of PLO by Yahya Hammuda.
Between 1968 and 1979, Shukeiri wrote more than twenty books dealing with Palestine and Arab Unity. He died on February 26, 1980, aged 72 in Amman.
- PALESTINE FACTS, Personalities - Chronological Listing, 1880-1920, PASSIA.org
- Moshe Shemesh, "Did Shuqayri Call For ‘Throwing the Jews into the Sea?’" Israel Studies, Summer 2003, p. 70
- 'Arab Move To Free Palestine: "16 Years Of Misery"', From Our Correspondent, The Times, Saturday, 30 May 1964; pg. 7; Issue 56025; col D.
- Connell, Dan (2001). Rethinking Revolution: New Strategies for Democracy & Social Justice. The Red Sea Press. ISBN 1-56902-145-7
- 'Mr Ahmed Shukeiri', Obituary, The Times, Wednesday, 27 February 1980; pg. 16; Issue 60561; col H.
- Arieh Avneri, The Claim of Dispossession: Jewish Land-Settlement and the Arabs 1878-1948 (London: Transaction Books, 2002) p. 233.
- Encyclopaedia Palaestina, Micropaedia, 1st volume, page 98-100.
|Chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization