KANA’AN, HAMDI TAHER (1910-1981)

Born in Nablus in 1910; educated at An-Najah National College up to the matriculation certificate; worked his way up in the market to be the first to introduce olive-oil extraction from olive stones and skins, using the resulting green (chlorophyll-rich) olive oil to produce low-cost quality Nabulsi soap, and attempting to modernize the ancient soap industry of Nablus; was elected Sec.-Gen. of the Nablus Chamber of Commerce and Industry at its inception in 1953 (up to 1961); member of the Nablus Municipal Council and elected Deputy-Mayor in 1959; served as mayor of Nablus from 1963-69 (remembered for his efforts to modernize the city, incl. renewing the water supply, sanitation and electricity networks, establishing a new market for agricultural produce, initiating housing schemes, etc.); became critical of Jordan before 1967; was the first signatory on a Nablus petition calling for the arming of West Bank frontline villagers and for cooperation with the PLO in 1967; after 1967, frequent contributor to Al-Quds newspaper; met - together with Aziz Shehadeh - Israeli DM Moshe Dayan at the latter’s request in April 1968, to discuss four post-war possibilities; was among the Palestinian leadership in the early phase of the occupation; was decisive in reversing the exodus of rural population from frontier villages of the Jenin, Tulkarem and Qalqilya areas, and in maintaining solidarity among West Bank mayors; accepted the 1972 United Arab Kingdom plan; died in 1981.