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Ahmed Khalifa

Personal Info

  • Country of residence: Jordan
  • Gender: Male
  • Born in: 1937
  • Age: 85
  • Curriculum vitae :


Ahmed Abdel-Wahhab Muhammad Khalifa, born on May 27, 1937 in Haifa, died on April 29, 2021 in Amman) is a Palestinian politician, researcher and translator, active in the Arab Nationalist Movement, and was a member of the first leadership circle of its Palestinian branch, which turned into the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine , and the leader of its first armed organization in the occupied territories after the 1967 war. Beginning in 1970, he supervised the Israeli Affairs Department at the Palestinian Research Center and then at the Institute for Palestine Studies, and was editor-in-chief of the Journal of Palestinian Studies.


His upbringing and education

He was born in Haifa in 1937 and took refuge with his family in Damascus after the Palestinian Nakba in 1948. He obtained his secondary certificate in 1958 and received a scholarship for outstanding students from the Indian Embassy to study English literature at Bombay University, but he returned to Syria a few weeks later to study English literature at Damascus University. He later moved with his family to Amman. He went to Munich to study political science at its university, and his involvement in party work there prompted him to abandon his studies in 1964 and return to Beirut.


His political activity

He began his political activity in the Arab Nationalist Movement while studying at the University of Damascus, and participated in the political movement that Damascus witnessed against the Baghdad Pact and for unity with Egypt. After his return from Munich to Beirut, he joined Mohsen Ibrahim, Muhammad Kashli, Ghassan Kanafani, and Bilal Al-Hassan on the editorial board of “Freedom” magazine in Beirut, which at that time was the mouthpiece of the Arab Nationalist Movement.


In September 1964, in the first independent conference of the Palestinian branch of the Arab Nationalist Movement, he was elected to a collective leadership for Palestinian action, in which he participated with Bilal Al-Hassan, Ghassan Kanafani, Saleh Shebl and Abdul Karim Hamad. The goal was to speed up preparations for the transition to military action.


He resigned in 1966 from Al-Hurriya magazine and moved to Egypt, where he joined Cairo University to obtain a master’s degree in English literature, but he interrupted his studies again after the 1967 war, and joined the internal leadership headed by Abu Ali Mustafa, and infiltrated in July 1967 to the occupied land (where He succeeded in obtaining an identity card and resided in the city of Jerusalem), where he worked on the diaspora of the Arab nationalist organization in the West Bank and contributed to the organization of the first underground cells there.


In that period, the Arab Nationalist Movement united with the Palestine Liberation Front and the Heroes of Return organization in what would become the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, and a decision was issued to immediately move to armed action, and the establishment of the Front was announced on December 11, after a series of attacks carried out by the cells of the occupied territory, the most important of which was an armed attack At Lod Airport, these operations led to a massive arrest campaign in the ranks of the Arab Nationalist Movement. Khalifa was arrested on January 7, 1968 with his companions and sentenced to two years in prison. At that time, a correspondent of the French newspaper Le Monde was able to meet him in prison and published an article entitled "Ahmed Khalifa says: I want books to read."


In captivity, Khalifa was the highest-ranking leader of the Arab Nationalist Movement and headed the organization in Ramla prison with the help of Asaad Abdel Rahman and Tayseer Quba. During the period of the internal crisis and the splits witnessed by the Popular Front, he managed to preserve the unity of the organization inside the prison.


During that period, Khalifa learned the Hebrew language, which he later specialized in, after leaving the party work after his release from prison.


His research and journalistic activities

In August 1970, Khalifa moved again to Beirut, to establish the Hebrew Department at the Palestinian Research Center, which was affiliated with the Palestine Liberation Organization and was at that time headed by Anis Al-Sayegh. Khalifa was given wide and complete powers that authorized him to follow up on the publishing movement in Israel and obtain all the necessary books and periodicals in order to carry out research to get to know Israel in its various political, economic and social aspects, in addition to appointing a dedicated research and translation staff to work at the center. There he contributed to the publication of the magazine "Palestine Affairs", and took over the preparation of the section on Israeli affairs in it. In 1973 he moved to the Institute for Palestine Studies, where he worked in its Hebrew department, which was founded by Sabri Jeries, until he left Lebanon after the Israeli invasion in 1982.


He moved to France in 1984 and worked on the editorial board of the weekly “The Seventh Day” magazine, headed by Bilal Al-Hassan, where he was responsible for the writings of the Israeli Affairs Department. In 1987 he returned to the Institute for Palestine Studies and participated in the publication of the quarterly “Journal of Palestinian Studies” which it issued, and after a ten-year stay in Oxford, during which he frequented Beirut to work on the publication of the magazine, and later returned to settle in Beirut, where he worked in the Department of Israeli Affairs In the magazine, he also assumed the position of managing editor, and has many studies, translations and books dealing with Israeli affairs, including the translation of the book “Ethnic Cleansing in Palestine” by Ilan Pappe and the official Israeli novel about “The Great Arab Revolt in Palestine, 1936-1939” and “The Palestine War” , 1947-1948", "Anger and Hope: The Palestinian People's March under Occupation: Memoirs of Attorney Felicia Langer", and Moshe Sharett's Diaries.


He also has literary translations, including the translation into Arabic of the novel "Things Fall Apart" by Nigerian writer Genoa Achebe, and "Nectar in a Sieve" by the Indian writer Kamala Markandaya.


After his retirement from the magazine, he contributed until his death to the semi-daily Hebrew Press Translations Bulletin published by the Institute for Palestine Studies.


his death

He passed away in Amman on April 29, 2021


Achievements and Awards

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