Bassam Abu Sharif
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Bassam Abu Sharif (born 1946) is a former senior adviser to the late Yasser Arafat and press officer of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO). He was previously a member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), where he was involved in the Dawson's Field hijackings of 1970.
Abu Sharif, then a member of the PFLP, was dubbed the "face of terror" by Time for his role in the Dawson's Field hijackings in 1970, when the PFLP hijacked Pan Am, Swissair, and TWA flights — a fourth pair of hijackers on an El Al flight were overpowered by security guards and passengers — and blew them up in the Jordanian desert, triggering King Hussein's expulsion of the PLO from Jordan, which became known as Black September.
He lost four fingers, and was left deaf in one ear and blind in one eye, when a bomb exploded in his hands in Beirut, Lebanon in 1972. The assassination attempt was carried out by Mossad who hid the explosives in the book The Memoirs of Che Guevara, and sent the book to Sharif.
Within PFLP, he began to favor a reduced emphasis on armed struggle and closer cooperation with Fatah, the dominant PLO faction. As a result, he was removed from the PFLP Politburo in 1981, and demoted to running external relations. In drawing closer to Fatah leader Yasir Arafat and meeting Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, he was expelled from the PFLP in 1987.
After being expelled from the PFLP in 1987, in a non-partisan role, he became an advisor to Arafat and was able to float some peace proposals based on a two-state solution and preparing Palestinians for the compromises made in Oslo. He returned to Ramallah in 1996 as a presidential advisor and often writing unofficial statements of the Palestinian position in the peace process.
In 1995, he co-authored the book Best of Enemies with Uzi Mahnaimi, an Israeli intelligence officer.
Writing in the Palestinian newspaper al-Quds in April 2005, Abu Sharif called for a "popular peaceful uprising" of Palestinians through massive nonviolent resistance to prevent Israel from annexing any additional land in the West Bank.
Bassam Abu Sharif has two children, Omar and Karma, from a previous marriage.
In an interview on Abu Dhabi TV on April 25, 2010 (as translated by MEMRI), Abu Sharif alleged that former Israeli Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion was responsible for the assassination of John F. Kennedy, due to Kennedy's policy regarding Israeli's Dimona nuclear plant:
"Ben-Gurion gave the order to assassinate Kennedy. I take full responsibility for every word I say. The Mossad collaborated with the American mafia, and once Oswald had killed Kennedy, the Mossad sent a Jew called [Jack] Ruby to kill him. Then the Mossad killed 22 witnesses, and the case was closed...these files have not been made public, due to Jewish Zionist pressure."
"I am warning the American agencies, like the CIA and FBI, which are fast asleep, that a plot to assassinate Obama is in motion, and that the group that will attempt to assassinate Obama consists of Yemenite Jews under the guise of Al-Qaeda."
Abu Sharif declined to provide a source for his allegations, but stated that: "I am responsible for every word I say, and if they want to know more, they can come to me."
- Bassam Abu-Sharif and Uzi Mahnaimi. The Best of Enemies: The Memoirs of Bassam Abu-Sharif and Uzi Mahnaimi, 1995. ISBN 978-0-316-00401-5
- Tried by Fire, 1996. ISBN 978-0-7515-1636-4
- Bassam Abu Sharif, Arafat and the Dream of Palestine : An Insider's Account (2009) - ISBN 978-0-230-60801-6
- It Happened to me, I was Blown up by a Parcel Bomb by Clare Campbell, Daily Mail, July 11, 2009
- BBC Interview with Bassam Abu Sharif BBC World Service, 7:32am Sunday 12 July 2009