She died in a local hospital where she had been in a coma for several days following a stroke.
Born in 1917 to one of Nablus’ influential families, Fadwa Tuqan, whose work won several international prizes, knew Palestine under British rule, the creation of the state of Israel, the occupation, and Palestinian autonomy.
She was introduced to poetry by her brother, the renowned poet Ibrahim Tuqan. Their relationship left a distinctive mark on the poet’s life – his death, along with the 1948 Nakba (formation of the Israeli state) lead to her involvement in political life in the 1950s.
Later, with the annexation of the West Bank in 1967, Tuqan became one of the mediators in talks between the then Israeli Minister of Defence Moshe Dayan and former Egyptian President Jamal Abd al-Nasir.
Her writings, popular across the Arab world, focused on themes ranging from romance to resistance against Israeli occupation. Her poetry documents the atmosphere of the daily life of Palestinians under the occupation and was one of the leaders in the usage of the free verse in Arabic poetry.
In an insert published in main Palestinian newspapers, Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat and the Palestine Liberation Organisation presented their condolences to her family, referring to her as “Palestine’s great poetess”. She published eight books and an autobiography.
In one of her more famous poems, Waiting at the Allenby Bridge, Tuqan writes of the humiliation Palestinians feel undergoing Israeli security checks at the border crossing between Jordan and the West Bank. “Miserable eyes, waiting, begging to pass,” the poem reads.