Osama Hamdan

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Osama Hamdan in Beirut, 2009

Osama Hamdan (Arabic: أسامة حمدان‎, Åʋsámɑë Hɑmdán; born 1965) is the top representative of Hamas in Lebanon and is a member of the organization's politburo. He is a member of the Arab National Congress and of the Arab Islamic Conference of the Board of Trustees of the Jerusalem Institute in Lebanon.[1]

Early life[edit]

Hamdan was born in the Bureij refugee camp in the Gaza Strip to a Palestinian refugee family that fled the village of al-Batani al-Sharqi during the 1948 Arab-Israeli War. He attended high school in Kuwait, graduating in 1982. He then enrolled at the Yarmouk University in Irbid, Jordan where he graduated with a Bachelor's Degree in Chemistry in 1986. While he was at the university, Hamdan became an activist with the Islamic Student Movement. He returned to Kuwait after graduating and worked in the industrial sector until the Gulf War in 1990.[1]

Hamas representative[edit]

After leaving Kuwait, Hamdan worked at the Hamas office in Tehran as assistant to then Hamas representative Imad Alami from 1992 to 1993. He became Hamas' official representative in Iran in 1994, serving in that post until 1998.[1] While undertaking this post, Hamdan claimed that the "flourishing relations" between Iran and Hamas were at the expense of the once-good relationship between Iran and the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO). However, he stated "There is an absence of any proof or evidence of Iranian financial support to Hamas, Islamic Jihad and other Palestinian factions who have established contacts with Iran. It is merely rumours and speculation."[2]

In 1998, Hamdan was appointed as Hamas representative in Lebanon, a post he still holds. In 2004, he served as Hamas' spokesman in Cairo during a dialogue between Palestinian factions. He has also participated in talks between Hamas and European officials.[1] Hamdan has advocated Palestinian unity talks and in an interview with Al-Arabiya on May 20, 2009, he said "I understand that each of us [Hamas and Fatah ] must set conditions to reach an agreement. National dialogue must be based on national interests of the Palestinian people..."[3]

In an interview which aired on Al-Jadid/New TV on May 4, 2011 (as translated by MEMRI), Hamdan stated that "politically, the two-state solution is over" and that "we are entering the phase of the liberation of Palestine... the notion of Return: the return of the refugees to their homeland, and the return of the Israelis to the countries from which they came."[4][5]

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