hailed from Birzeit in the West Bank
A graduate of the American University of Beirut
(AUB) and Baath party activist in his
had edited the Jerusalem newspaper Filastin and was elected to the Jordanian parliament in 1956.
After the Israeli invasion and occupation in 1967, he
was arrested and deported to Jordan.
He became a member of the PLO's Executive Committee in 1969, and then its head of information and official spokesman.
"The Israelis wanted to send a message to the Lebanese
in general via the Verdun operation, and especially to Christian Arab nationalist Lebanese," says the writer Muna al-Solh, a friend and colleague of Nasser
By striking in the heart of Beirut they were sending a threat to all Lebanese supporters of the Palestinians, and by slaying the well-known Arab poet who was the PLO's most prominent Christian leader, they were repeating that warning to Arabs at large and underlining it to Christians, he says.
While Abu Yousef and Adwan were singled out for their role in activating guerrilla resistance in occupied Palestine, Nasser
was the "conscience of the Palestinian revolution," according to Nazih Abul-Nidal, who worked with him on the PLO magazine Filastin al-Thawra.
"had the most democratic outlook of all Palestinian leaders at the time," he
respected opposing views, admired the commitment of young people, and was a major recruitment asset for the Palestinian revolution.
They stood for Arab renaissance in the battle to liberate Palestine, that is why I was not surprised they were assassinated.Abul-Nidal concurs that if Nasser
had survived, "he
would have had nothing to do with Oslo," though he
adds that "there is no place for 'ifs' in the reading of history.
All three slain leaders were nevertheless strong champions of armed resistance.
At the same time, Nasser
, Adwan, and Najjar all "played a major role in reducing and preventing internal divisions on the one hand, and in developing the organizational side of the PLO
," says Bashour.
, in particular, enjoyed great appeal in Lebanon, Syria, and Iraq both as a distinguished poet and likeable personality.