JERUSALEM, Israel – Longtime chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat died Tuesday morning after battling COVID-19 for weeks. He was 65 years old.
Erekat had been receiving treatment from the Hadassah-University Medical Center in Jerusalem at the time of his death. He was admitted to the Israeli hospital in mid-October after his condition deteriorated.
Erekat’s immune system was already compromised due to a bacterial infection and a lung transplant he underwent in 2017.
Erekat served as the Secretary-General of the Executive Committee of the Palestinian Liberation Organization and became one of the most recognizable Palestinian leaders. He was a key negotiator in nearly every round of peace talks between Palestinians and Israelis.
He was a senior advisor to Yasser Arafat and served as an advisor to the current Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. He is also known for heavily criticizing Israel’s response during the Second Intifada and advocated for a negotiated two-state solution to the decades-old conflict.
His Fatah party announced his death in a statement.
He is survived by his wife, two sons, two daughters and eight grandchildren.
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