Top Palestinian official Erekat dies of Covid-19 at 65: presidency

Top Palestinian official Erekat dies of Covid-19 at 65: presidency
The leading Palestinian official died after developing respiratory health problems due to Covid.
2 min read
10 November, 2020
His Fatah party announced his death in a statement [Getty]
Saeb Erekat, a leading Palestinian negotiator, statesman, and spokesperson has died aged-65, several weeks after being infected by the coronavirus.

The UK and US-educated Erekat was involved in nearly every round of peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians going back to the landmark Madrid conference in 1991.

He famously showed up draped in a black-and-white checkered keffiyeh, a symbol of Palestinian nationalism.

Over the next few decades Erekat was a constant presence in Western media, calling for a two-state solution and defending the Palestinian leadership.

He was in charge of Palestinian negotiating teams with Israel since the Oslo Accords.

Read also: Top Palestinian official Erekat in 'critical' condition after hospitalisation for coronavirus

His Fatah Party announced his death in a statement. A relative and a Palestinian official confirmed he passed away, speaking on condition of anonymity out of privacy concerns.

He was born in Abu Dis, a East Jerusalem neighbourhood, in 1955 and earned a PhD from Bradford University before returning to the Palestinian Territories to teach at a West Bank university.

Erekat was a controversial figure in Palestinian politics and had numerous run-ins with PLO head Yasser Arafat and President Mahmoud Abbas.

In 2006, he was selected as a Jericho representative for the Palestinian parliament despite Hamas winning the seat.

In his final years, Erekat suffered numerous health issues, including a lung transplant.

Erekat is survived by his wife, two sons, twin daughters and eight grandchildren.

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