Saeb Erekat, longtime spokesman for the Palestinians, dies at 65

The veteran negotiator and prominent Palestinian spokesman for more than three decades died after being infected by coronavirus.

Saeb Erekat, a veteran peace negotiator and prominent international spokesman for the Palestinians for more than three decades, died on Tuesday, weeks after being infected by the coronavirus. He was 65.

Erekat was involved in nearly every round of peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians going back to the landmark Madrid conference in 1991 when he famously attended draped in a black-and-white chequered keffiyeh, a symbol of Palestinian nationalism.

Over the next few decades, Erekat was a constant presence in Western media, where he tirelessly advocated for a negotiated two-state solution to the decades-old conflict, defended the Palestinian leadership and blamed Israel for the failure to reach an agreement.

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.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies