Tawfiq Zayyad (1929 –1994)
Biography of Tawfiq Zayyad
Tawfiq Ziad (Arabic: توفيق زيّاد, Hebrew: תאופיק זיאד, also spelt Tawfik Zayyad or Tawfeeq Ziad, 7 May 1929 – 5 July 1994) was a Palestinian politician well known for his "poetry of protest".
Born in the Galilee, Ziad studied literature in USSR. After returning home, he was elected mayor of Nazareth on 9 December 1973, as head of Palestine 48 Rakah, a communist party, a victory that is said to have "surprised and alarmed" Israelis.
Elected to the Knesset in the 1973 elections on Rakah's list, Ziad was active in pressuring the Israeli government to change its policies towards Arabs - both those inside Israel and in the occupied Palestinian territories. A report he co-authored on Israeli prison conditions and the use of torture on Palestinian inmates was reprinted in the Israeli newspaper Al HaMishmar. It was also submitted to the United Nations by Tawfik Toubi and Ziad after their visit to Al-Far'ah prison on 29 October 1987. It was subsequently quoted from at length in a UN General Assembly report dated 23 December 1987, where it was described as "Perhaps the best evidence of the truth of the reports describing the repugnant inhumane conditions endured by Arab prisoners."
Ziad died on 5 July 1994 in a head-on collision in the Jordan Valley on his way back to Nazareth from Jericho after welcoming Yasser Arafat, the chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization, back from exile. At the time of his sudden death, he was still Mayor of Nazareth, a member of the Knesset and "a leading Arab legislator". A street is named after him in Shefa-'Amr.
I call to you all
'I call to you all:
I take your hand and hold it tightly.
I kiss the ground on which you place your feet.
I know that for you I would give my life.
My life I would give for you.
I offer you the light of my eyes,
The fire of my heart:
For this pain that I suffer