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Profile: Kamal Naji

The Fatah official had good ties with many of the Palestinian factions.

Last updated: 23 Mar 2009 19:09
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Naji was a close aide to Yasser Arafat, the late Palestinian president [Reuters]

Kamal Naji - who was also known as Kamal Medhat - was born in the Jabalya refugee camp in the Gaza Strip, but spent more than 42 years of his life in Lebanon.

Naji, in his mid-50s, had extensive experience in Palestinian politics. He had been a close aide to Yasser Arafat, the former Palestinian president, while the Palestinian cause was based in Lebanon, and had served as a Fatah intelligence officer.

Among Palestinians in the 12 refugee camps of Lebanon, the deputy representative of the Palestinian Liberation Organisation (PLO) was known as a calm leader, with good ties to most Palestinian factions.

"I had a chance to discuss the Palestinian troubles with Naji during early January, as Israel bombarded the Gaza Strip with the stated aim of ending rocket attacks by Palestinian fighters," Al Jazeera's Rula Amin recalls.

"He was outraged at the lack of a strong reaction to the assault - which cost more than 1,700 Palestinians their lives - from the West, but he was just as concerned with Palestinian infighting."

Palestinian disputes

Munir Maqdah, the Palestinian responsible for security in the Miah Miah camp where the PLO official died, said that Naji helped to deal with disputes between the factions. 

"Kamal Naji was responsible for dealing with hot Palestinian issues such as Nahr al-Bared and other tough inter-Palestinian issues. He played an important role in resolving those and other issues," he told Al Jazeera.

While Osama Hamdan, a Hamas representative in Lebanon, said Naji had played a "major role" in efforts to unite the factions.

Naji made it clear that he believed unity was a priority for those on both sides of the Palestinian political divide and that the rift between Hamas and Fatah was weakening the Palestinian cause.

Al Jazeera's Rula Amin said: "I was particularly struck by Naji's answer to one question I asked him: 'How do you think Yasser Arafat would have reacted to the war on Gaza if he had been alive?'

"'If Yasser Arafat was alive he would have started a third intifada and managed to make the Muqata [the Palestinian Authority headquarters in Ramallah] the headquarters of the resistance and all kinds of envoys would be knocking on his door looking for a solution to end the fighting in Gaza,' Naji replied."

"It is a remark that I remember well, because it showed how well he knew Arafat and how much faith he had in him."

Source:
Al Jazeera
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