Lengthy-time Palestinian peace negotiator Saeb Erekat dies

Up to date: November 10, 2020 8:41:45 pm

Saeb Erekat was one of the vital outspoken and visual Palestinian politicians on the world stage and infrequently seen in debates in TV studios of worldwide broadcasters.
(Supply: Debbie Hill/UPI Photograph/Newscom/picture-alliance)

Saeb Erekat, a distinguished Palestinian politician and long-time peace negotiator, died Tuesday on the age of 65 after being contaminated by COVID-19.

Three weeks earlier, Erekat was transferred from his residence in Jericho within the occupied West Financial institution to the Israeli hospital after his situation worsened. Erekat had contracted the coronavirus to start with of October and initially suffered solely gentle signs. The diplomat was at greater threat, as he suffered from continual pulmonary illness and underwent a lung transplant in 2017 within the US.

Erekat was one of the vital outspoken and visual Palestinian politicians on the world stage and infrequently seen in debates in TV studios of worldwide broadcasters. He was a number one voice towards Israel’s occupation of the territory it captured in 1967. Since 2015, he additionally served because the secretary-general of the Palestinian Liberation Group (PLO) and is taken into account to be a pacesetter within the Fatah motion within the occupied West Financial institution. However, to many, what he’s most remembered for as a long-time chief negotiator is his agency dedication to peace that culminates in a two-state answer — a objective he by no means managed to see in his lifetime.

Saeb Erekat was born in 1955 in Abu Dis, a suburb outdoors Jerusalem. However his residence was within the West Financial institution city of Jericho within the Jordan Valley, the place diplomats and journalists would line up for conferences and interviews. Within the Nineteen Seventies, he went to varsity within the US and studied worldwide relations and political science at San Francisco State College. Afterward, he earned a Ph.D. in peace and battle research within the UK.

As a politician and a senior member within the Fatah motion, he grew to become an in depth aide to the late Palestinian chief and president, Yasser Arafat, and later served in an analogous capability with the present President Mahmoud Abbas.

Most distinguished function as chief negotiator
In 1991 he was a part of the Palestinian delegation to the Madrid Peace Convention. However the breakthrough got here with the Oslo Peace Accords within the mid-’90s. Erekat grew to become the PLO’s chief negotiator, a job he stayed on even when the peace course of regularly started to fail. Subsequently, he was all the time there: Throughout negotiations with Israel at Camp David, within the US, in 2000; in Taba, Egypt, in 2001; and within the many different makes an attempt to restart the peace course of. Most probably, he is among the few Palestinian leaders who has spent probably the most time on the desk along with his Israeli counterparts.

In a latest interview with DW about Israel’s controversial annexation plans of elements of the occupied West Financial institution, Erekat mirrored on his function as negotiator. “I come from the Jordan Valley. I instructed Palestinians, when you acknowledge Israel, when you resign violence, when you sit and negotiate, you should have an unbiased state. And now Netanyahu is arising with a map to annex 94% of my constituency,” mentioned Erekat, referring to the Jordan Valley, Jericho.

“Do you suppose I can go away the home to face my folks, my constituents, who believed in me?” he mentioned, including, “I’m going to be quarantined politically for the remainder of my life. I’ll be used for example in books, lectures and in youngsters’s books. So, do you suppose there will probably be a Palestinian within the subsequent hundred years who will sit with the Israelis and repeat what I did?”

Overshadowed legacy: Failure of peace talks

His passing comes at a time when Palestinians are left with out a foreseeable prospect of any answer — particularly in gentle of the troublesome relationship they’ve with the present US administration. They’ve virtually reduce diplomatic relations with Washington after President Donald Trump acknowledged Jerusalem as Israel’s capital by the tip of 2017. In the beginning of 2020, a brand new US peace plan dubbed “imaginative and prescient for peace” and often known as “deal of the century,” additional strained relations with Palestinians for being seen as favoring Israel.

“It’s a game-changer: They need to cancel all agreements signed, they need to cancel the phrases of reference, worldwide regulation, resolutions of the UN Safety Council and Normal meeting and dictate an answer,” Erekat mentioned in a DW interview. Illustrating disappointment, he mentioned, “I’ve finished my greatest to realize peace with Israel, however there got here a primary minister in Israel and a president of america who torpedoed each effort to realize peace between Israelis and Palestinians,” referring to what he hoped can be extra equitable than what the US plan proposed.

Erekat was no stranger to controversy. In 2011, the discharge of the “Palestine Papers” by the Qatar-based broadcaster Al Jazeera uncovered particulars of negotiations along with his Israeli counterparts. In gentle of a harsh backlash among the many Palestinian public, he resigned from his put up as a chief negotiator — albeit just for a short while — as it’s believed he was requested to return by the Palestinian management.

And, like different Palestinian politicians of his era, he got here beneath rising criticism by most of the people for having been unable to discover a answer to the battle. Within the Nineteen Nineties, many Palestinians thought-about the Oslo-Accords and subsequent peace preparations to be an achievement. Right now, these agreements principally stand for the Palestinian management’s failure to determine a sovereign Palestinian state, finish Israeli occupation, and the perceived worsening of the general state of affairs.

Saeb Erekat, who has been described by those that met and labored with him as cordial and interesting, had been hampered by critical well being points lately. Nonetheless, he continued to look in public and remained decided that solely a good and a simply two-state answer would result in peace between Israelis and Palestinians.

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