Emile Habiby was a Palestinian novelist and a member of the Israeli Parlament. He was born in 1922 in Haifa. Habibi became one of the most popular authors in the Middle East as a result of works depicting the conflicts in loyalties experienced by Palestinians living as an Arab minority in the Jewish state of Israel. Habibi began writing short stories in the 1950s, and his first story, The Mandelbaum Gate was published in 1954, though he did not resume literary writing until the late 1960s. In 1972 he resigned from the Knesset in order to write his first novel: The Secret Life of Saeed the Pessoptimist, which became a classic in modern Arabic literature. In 1990, Habibi received the Al-Quds Prize from the PLO. In 1992, he received the Israel Prize for Arabic literature. He died in 1996 in Nazareth.