Erekat, who was secretary normal of the Palestine Liberation Group, died Tuesday at a Jerusalem hospital after struggling a number of organ failure. The 65-year-old, who underwent a lung transplant in the US in 2017, had examined optimistic for the coronavirus in early October.

The casket was borne aloft by six members of the presidential guard and carried alongside a guard of honor earlier than being laid in entrance of Abbas and senior Palestinian leaders. It was draped within the Palestinian flag. A keffiyeh, the headscarf popularized by former PLO chief Yasser Arafat and an necessary image of Palestinian identification, was laid throughout it.

A wreath was positioned on top of the casket as Abbas, Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh and others stood quietly to pay their respects. All of these current have been carrying masks.

After a couple of minutes the casket was lifted up once more and carried to a ready automobile. Because it was carried away, Abbas and several other different officers waved their palms in a remaining gesture of farewell.

Following a roughly 45-minute drive, the automobile arrived outdoors the Erekat household residence within the West Financial institution city of Jericho, the place mourners had come to pay their respects.

The casket was then transferred to Jericho’s Previous Mosque the place the funeral prayer, the Salat al Janazah, was stated. Lastly, it was transported to the Jericho cemetery for burial, the place former buddies and colleagues spoke by the graveside.

Abbas paid tribute Tuesday to Erekat as a “nice fighter” who “stood on the forefront defending the causes of his homeland and his individuals within the fields of the nationwide wrestle and within the worldwide area.”

His demise represents a “nice loss” to the Palestinian individuals, “particularly in gentle of those troublesome circumstances going through the Palestinian trigger,” the PA President stated, in feedback reported by Wafa, the official Palestinian information company.

“Fatah mourns its nice nationwide son, Dr. Saeb Erekat,” a social media submit by his celebration Fatah learn.

Abbas declared a mourning interval of three days and ordered flags be flown at half-mast.

‘He will likely be missed’

Different high-profile figures, each Palestinian and Israeli, additionally eulogized Erekat in feedback Tuesday.

Hanan Ashrawi, a outstanding member of the Palestine Liberation Group’s Government Committee, stated Erekat’s demise marked a “important transition in Palestinian historical past and actuality.”

“He was firmly dedicated to his individuals’s rights, unwavering in his pursuit of a simply peace, & completely undaunted in his quest for freedom & rights. Relaxation in peace & energy my good friend,” Ashrawi tweeted.

Former Israeli Overseas Minister Tzipi Livni stated that Erekat had despatched her a message whereas he was unwell, saying, “I am not completed with what I used to be born to do.”

“My deepest condolences to the Palestinians and his household. He will likely be missed,” she tweeted.

One other Israeli official, Nitzan Horowitz, chief of the leftist Meretz celebration, recalled that he and the Palestinian negotiator “argued lots, however regardless of his frustration with the scenario he by no means deserted his adherence to the two-state answer, Israel and Palestine. Relaxation in peace, peace will likely be your Will.”

One of the outstanding Palestinian politicians of the previous couple of many years, Erekat was a significant a part of negotiations between the Palestinian officers and Israel throughout intensive peace course of negotiations within the 1990s.

He served as deputy head of the Palestinian delegation to the Madrid Convention in 1991, because the administration of US President George H.W. Bush pushed ahead efforts to advance a decision to the decades-old Arab-Israeli battle.

As the 2 sides tried to construct on the breakthrough Oslo Accords of the mid-1990s, Erekat turned the chief Palestinian negotiator, a place he would maintain on-and-off till his passing.

Two-state answer

From Oslo onwards, he advocated direct negotiations in direction of a two-state answer. Deeply distrustful of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Erekat centered most of his criticism in later years on the person who would change into Israel’s longest-serving chief.

In 2018, following Netanyahu’s handle to the United Nations Common Meeting, Erekat stated, “His speech additional exposes Israel’s systematic denial of our proper to exist, to reside in freedom and to have a good time our nationwide identification. The truth on the bottom in occupied Palestine is a manifestation of what Israel is: A colonial-apartheid state… For the Israeli authorities, not solely the problems of Jerusalem and the Palestinian refugees are off the desk, but additionally Palestine’s very existence.”

Erekat believed Netanyahu had no intention of creating the concessions essential for the creation of an unbiased Palestinian state, a place strengthened by the appearance of US President Donald Trump. The Trump administration’s plan for Center East peace required few concessions from the Israelis whereas demanding sweeping concessions from the Palestinians.

“What we hear about Jerusalem being Israel’s capital, dropping the refugee challenge, safety, borders, it can’t be referred to as the Deal of the Century,” Erekat informed MeSlop’s Becky Anderson in January. “It’s the fraud and the hoax of the century.”

It was a troublesome time for Erekat. Diplomats and journalists who met him within the early weeks of 2020 discovered him emotionally drained, reflecting on a way of private failure, generally even near tears as he tried once more to argue the Palestinian trigger.

But regardless of the challenges, Erekat continued to insist on the significance of a two-state answer to the Israeli-Palestinian battle, seeing no different paths to peace for the tens of millions of Israelis and Palestinians throughout the area.

MeSlop’s Abeer Salman contributed to this report.