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Key Palestinian spokesman Saeb Erekat dies at 65

Key Palestinian spokesman Saeb Erekat dies at 65

Jerusalem: Saeb Erekat, the face of Palestinian negotiations with Israel, and veteran international spokesman for the Palestinians for more than three decades, died on Tuesday, weeks after being infected by the coronavirus. He was 65.

The American-educated Erekat was involved in nearly every round of peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians dating back from the landmark Madrid conference in 1991, when he famously showed up draped in a black-and-white checkered keffiyeh, a symbol of Palestinian nationalism.

Ever since then, for decades Erekat was the one constant face in Western media, articulating and advocating the Palestinian position tirelessly for a negotiated two-state solution to the decades-old conflict, and defending the Palestinian leadership. He blamed Israel for the failure to reach an agreement.

A fluent speaker in English and a seasoned negotiator, Erekat had that greatest of the makings for a national spokesman: conviction. Armed with wit and wisdom, at his finger tips, during an interview he was asked a question on the then ongoing negotiations on 'peace process', and his answer was that the trouble with Israel is it is separating peace from the process.

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.

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

(With input from PTI)

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TAGS:Saeb Erekat dies at 65 Palestinian spokesman peace talks with Israel 
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