RAMALLAH, Palestine 

For several years, Nasser al-Qudwa was a familiar face defending the Palestinian cause as the former envoy to the UN.

It was not strange that al-Qudwa, 68, was elected as a member of the central committee in the Fatah movement — the ruling party in Palestine — in 2009, as his name has always been linked with his uncle and Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat.

Throughout his presence in the central committee, he was not known for any clashes with the Palestinian political leadership.

But the decision to hold legislative and presidential elections triggered a huge surprise as al-Qudwa harshly criticized the Palestinian leadership and the Fatah movement.

Al-Qudwa also revealed his intention to run in the legislative elections scheduled to be held on May 22 through a separate list from the movement called the National Democratic Forum.

Also, he previously announced supporting Palestinian leader Marwan Barghouti if he decides to run for the presidential elections scheduled for July 31, which could put him in competition with current Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

So the Central Committee of Fatah decided on Thursday to dismiss al-Qudwa from the movement.

A statement issued by the movement’s Central Committee and signed by Abbas said the dismissal decision came after the expiration of a 48-hour period given to al-Qudwa to withdraw from his intention of running in the elections that “break the movement’s rules of procedure and its decisions and harm its unity.”

Who is al-Qudwa?

Al-Kidwa was born in April 1953 in Khan Yunis, the Gaza Strip.

He obtained a degree in dentistry from Cairo University in 1979.

In 1980-1986, he headed the General Union of Palestine Students in Egypt.

Al-Qudwa held many positions in the Fatah movement and the Palestinian Authority.

He has been affiliated with Fatah since 1969 and has served as a member of the Palestinian National Council since 1975.

Al-Qudwa was elected to the Fatah Revolutionary Council in 1989.
In 2009, he was elected a member of Fatah’s Central Committee — the highest leading body of the movement — until his dismissal.

Al-Qudwa was also the Palestinian foreign minister in 2005-2006 and the head of the Palestinian delegation before the International Court of Justice.

Since 2007, Al-Qudwa has been leading the board of directors of the Yasser Arafat Foundation.

Al-Qudwa represented the PLO as well as Palestine at the UN in 1991-2005.

In 2012, he was appointed an envoy to the UN and the Arab League on the Syrian issue until 2014, and in 2014 he was appointed an envoy to the Secretary-General of the Arab League on the Libyan conflict until 2015.

*Bassel Barakat contributed to this report from Ankara.

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