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Saeb Erekat: Key Palestinian negotiator dies of Covid-19

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One of the most prominent Palestinian political figures, Saeb Erekat, has died with Covid-19, officials say.

The 65-year-old passed away in Jerusalem at Hadassah Medical Center, where he had been admitted last month after being diagnosed with the disease.

Erekat led the Palestinians in on-off peace talks with Israel for many years.

Describing Erekat as a “brother” and a “fighter”, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas declared three days of national mourning.

Erekat was secretary general of the main Palestinian movement, the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO), and an adviser to Mr Abbas.

He helped negotiate the landmark Oslo Accords in 1993, which created the Palestinian Authority and gave Palestinians limited self-governance in the West Bank and Gaza Strip for the first time since Israel occupied the territories in 1967.

President Abbas said the death of “our dear brother and friend, the great fighter, Dr Saeb Erekat, represents a great loss for Palestine and our people”.

Erekat announced on 8 October that he had tested positive for coronavirus but his condition deteriorated and he was transferred to the Israeli hospital from his home in Jericho in the West Bank 11 days later.

Doctors said that treating him was a “huge challenge” because he had undergone a lung transplant three years ago and had a “weakened immune system and bacterial infection, in addition to coronavirus”.

SourceBBC News

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