Shafiq al-Hout died Sunday in Beirut. I had the privilege of knowing the Palestinian activist when I was a United Nations correspondent in New York. Shafiq didn't mind my 1,000 questions about the Middle East, answering them with patience, grace and humor. He was a co-founder of the Palestine Liberation Organisation and top aide to PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat. But Shafiq - along with the late poet Mahmoud Darwish - fell out with the mercurial leader over the Oslo Peace Accords. Still, he remained an influential voice in Palestinian politics.
From 1974 - 1993, Shafiq served as the PLO's delegate to the United Nations. He was a member of the Palestine National Council and the Palestinian Parliament-in-Exile. Shafiq traveled the globe in his tireless efforts for the Palestinian cause. He will be missed.