Ghassan al-Shakaa (R) member of the Palestinian Liberation Organisation (PLO) talks to Mahmoud al-Khalidi, then Palestinian ambassador to Syria on September 25, 2001. (REUTERS / Khaled al-Hariri).
(photo credit: REUTERS/KHALED AL-HARIRI)
Ghassan al-Shakaa, a senior PLO official and former mayor of Nablus, died on Thursday, the official Palestinian Authority news site Wafa reported. He was 75. Shakaa died after a bout with colon cancer, according to PA Health Ministry spokesman Osama Najjar.
Shakaa, who was a lawyer by training, was a member of the PLO Executive Committee for more than 20 years and served as mayor of Nablus in 1994-2004 and 2012-2015. He also was elected to the Palestinian Legislative Council – the PA parliament – in 1996.
Following the news of the Shakaa’s death, PA President Mahmoud Abbas said, “Palestine lost a fighter and a great national figure... who spent his life serving his people and defending their rights.” In a statement, Fatah said that the senior PLO official “will remain an example of struggle, giving, sacrifice and patience.”
On Friday, thousands – including senior Palestinian officials such as PA Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah and wealthy businesspeople – took part in a funeral procession for Shakaa in Nablus.
Shakaa was a nephew of Bassam Shakaa, also a former mayor of Nablus, who lost both of his legs in a car-bombing assassination attempt by the Jewish underground in the West Bank in 1980.