Hani Al Hassan

Hani Al Hassan

Hani al-Hassan (1939-) was a leader of the Fatah organization and member of the Palestinian Authority Cabinet and the Palestinian National Council. He was born in Haifa in northern modern-day Israel.


He spent time as a refugee in Yarmouk camp, near Damascus, where he organized an Islamist slate, Shabab al-Aqsa, to compete in student elections. He joined the Muslim Brotherhood in early 1950s. He went on to study engineering in the late 1950-60s in West Germany (Darmstadt & Munich), where he worked through the General Union of Palestinian Students (GUPS) in Europe, and acted as Fatah’s main Europe link after he merged his own commando group to Fatah in 1963 until 1967. He also served as President of GUPS from 1962. He served as regional head in Jordan briefly in early 1970, then as Salah Khalaf’s deputy in Rasd. From 1974, he acted as a political aide to Yasser Arafat, an ambassador to Tehran, and an ambassador to Amman from 1982. He retains good ties to the Gulf States. He became a member of Fatah-Central Committee in May 1980. He was critical of the leadership's stance towards Iraq after August 1991, and at Oslo, but returned to Gaza Strip in November 1995, and became the chief political adviser to Arafat as well as PLO-CC member & head of the Palestinian National Council foreign relations committee. He was appointed as Interior Minister on 29 October 2002.

Mahmoud Abbas attempted to drop him from the PA cabinet, and despite Arafat's resistance, he was replaced in April 2003. He is slated to act as Arafat's national security adviser.

Following Hamas' takeover of Gaza in June 2007, Hassan caused a major row in Fatah by giving an interview on Al-Jazeera in which he said that there had been no conflict between Hamas and Fatah but rather a conflict between loyal Palestinians in both camps and a small minority in Fatah who were preparing a coup to overthrow Hamas with American backing. He made it clear that he was referring essentially to the followers of Muhammad Dahlan. Hassan's statement was quickly rebutted by an official Fatah spokesman who portrayed Hassan as endorsing a Hamas coup.

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