Saeb Erekat, top Palestinian negotiator, dies of COVID-19

Saeb Erekat, top Palestinian negotiator, dies of COVID-19

Longtime Palestinian peace negotiator Saeb Erekat died on Tuesday in Jerusalem due to complications from COVID-19.

Mr. Erekat tested positive for the coronavirus last month, according to the Palestinian Liberation Organization Negotiations Affairs Department, and received multiple treatments during his stay at Hadassah Medical Center in Jerusalem.

The 65-year-old received a lung transplant in 2017.

“Our father moved in peace after he showed extraordinary strength and will, the same determination that characterized his career to achieve freedom for Palestine and a just peace in our region,” Mr. Erekat’s daughter, Dala Iraqat, said in a post on Facebook.

“His commandment to us all is to adhere to the rights of the Palestinian people until they achieve freedom and independence,” she said.

Following news of Mr. Erekat’s death, former Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni tweeted: “I’m saddened by the death of @ErakatSaeb. Saeb dedicated his life to his people. Reaching Peace is my destiny he used to say. Being sick, he texted me: “I’m not finished with what I was born to do”. My deepest condolences to the Palestinians and his family. He will be missed.”

In a separate tweet in Hebrew, she said, “We represented two different sides and there were disagreements between us but the common goal: to try to reach an agreement that would end the conflict between our peoples. And no, not all Palestinians are terrorists.”

Mr. Erekat was known for his role in historic negotiations between Palestinian and Israeli in the 1990s, and grew to become Palestine’s chief negotiator until his death.

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