Top Palestinian Official Saeb Erekat Dies of COVID Aged 65

PLO Senior official Saeb Erekat. (Photo: Video Grab)

Dr. Saeb Erekat, the Secretary-General of the Palestine Liberation Organisation’s Executive Committee, passed away from COVID-19, the Palestinian Fatah movement announced.

The veteran PLO official contracted coronavirus on October 8, his condition became critical ten days later and he was transferred to intensive care where he was placed on a ventilator.

Erekat suffered from a number of medical issues and underwent a lung transplant in 2017 at Inova Fairfax Hospital in northern Virginia, US, after suffering from a severe respiratory illness.

Erekat was born in 1955 in the Palestinian village of Abu Dis in occupied Jerusalem. He completed his BA in international relations in 1977, MA in political sciences in 1979, and Ph.D. in peace and conflict studies from Bradford University in 1983.

In 1991, he was appointed by the late PLO and Fatah President Yasser Arafat as the deputy head of the Palestinian negotiating delegation to the Madrid Peace Conference and went on to play a role in peace talks between the PLO and the occupation in 1992 and 1993 which led to the signing of the Oslo Accords.

Erekat remained a prominent Palestinian Authority(PA)  and PLO official after Arafat’s death, becoming one of current President Mahmoud Abbas’ closest advisers. He was later appointed head of the PLO Negotiating Department in 2005.

Abbas offered condolences to the family of Saeb Erekat, his wife, and his sons and daughters.

“The departure of our brother and friend, the great fighter, Dr. Saeb Erekat, represents a great loss for Palestine and our people, and we feel deeply saddened by his loss, especially in light of these difficult circumstances facing the Palestinian cause,” said the President.

(Palestine Chronicle, MEMO, Social Media)

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