Saeb Erekat, a veteran peace negotiator and prominent international spokesman for the Palestinians for more than three decades, died on Tuesday, weeks after being infected with the coronavirus. He was 65 years old.
The US-educated Erekat was involved in almost every round of Israeli-Palestinian peace talks that returned to Madrid’s landmark in 1991, when he famously appeared draped in a black and white checkered keffiyeh, a symbol of Palestinian nationalism. .
For the next few decades, Erekat was a constant presence in the Western media, tirelessly advocating a negotiated two-state solution to the decades-old conflict, defending the Palestinian leadership, and blaming Israel for the failure to reach an agreement.
Erekat confirmed on October 8 that he had been infected with the coronavirus. In 2017, he underwent a lung transplant in the United States, which suppressed his immune system.
He was rushed from his home in Jericho on the west bank to Hadassah Medical Center in Israel last week. Doctors there placed him on a ventilator and in a medically induced coma after his condition worsened.
His Fatah party announced his death in a statement on Tuesday. A relative and a Palestinian official confirmed that he passed away and spoke due to anonymity for privacy reasons.
Erekat survived by his wife, two sons, twin daughters and eight grandchildren.
( Jowharwith AP)