Abdul Aziz Bouteflika
Abdul Ilah Balqriz
Yasser Arafat: A Smile from beneath the Rubble
“When the camp smiles,
Large cities frown” (Mahmoud Darwish)
A smile never departed him. It is always drawn on his face: it is broad, beautiful and warm. You might think it is a feature of his face, which he bestows generously. As time changed the face, gray hair crawled on and wrinkles appeared to carve trenches on the forehead, the old age did not take away the young and lively smile. As ever, the smile always marked him and testified for him. If it faded away in a moment of anger or pensiveness, it would come back more glorious and spreads out warmth. It casts its shadow over people in councils and enliven their dialogues and conversations.
When it is gloomy, the horizon is shut and despair is imminent, Yasser Arafat’s smile served like the mountain of rescue that stretched out embrace to all those whose arm were worn of rowing against the current. Thus he was in the siege of Beirut: he surprised his fighters in trenches, laughing as if he had come from a mighty victory. Jesting with them, he enhanced the morale of his fighters up to the routes of championship. It would have sufficed that his fighters see him standing in the midst of them, smiling and lifting the sign of victory, so that they put off their fatigue and be invigorated with the spirit of perseverance. As such did foreign journalists see him in the siege when he visited a site that had been shelled and devastated. He walked proudly across a street that was destitute of people, distributing his smile and raising the sign of victory to those who thought he would be a precious prey for the front pages of their newspapers. A pedantic would ask him: “Why, in your opinion, did the Israelis not raid the besieged Beirut?”. That pedantic would wait to hear from Arafat a political analysis about a Soviet or American “veto” against the invasion of an Arab capital. Yasser Arafat answers simply, but with a smile that stretches across his face: “Because they are cowards.” The journalist might have recalled – later on – how accurate the answer was when the Israeli army raided Beirut after the Palestinian resistance had departed it.
Twenty years after the Beirut blockade, Sharon would besiege Yasser Arafat inside his headquarters in Ramallah after the Israeli army reinvaded the West Bank. The calamity was severe: mass destruction of all infrastructure networks, hundreds of martyrs and injured citizens, tens of thousands of homeless civilians, a total closure of cities, villages and refugee camps, fragmented natural and human geography, and communities turned into pockets and cages. Yasser Arafat was subject to a house arrest that was most humiliating of the mind and body: bullets were fired day and night on the headquarters and buildings were destroyed to reduce the area of his residence to the minimum (two rooms). Water and electricity supplies were cut off and telephone landlines and all means of communication with the outside world were disconnected. Visits of foreign delegations and members of the Leadership were denied. Worse, the man was addressed via megaphones and called on to surrender! Suddenly, from beneath the wreck of such Israeli humiliation, the voice of Abu Ammar echoes, breaking silence and stating in a sense of glory and honour: “They want me dead, captive or fugitive... I tell them: No, I will be a martyr, a martyr, a martyr.” With these words, it seems that he set a wildfire. Crowds of protestors marched and broke the curfew on Ramallah; they rushed outrageously towards Al Muqata’ah in order to lift the siege imposed on their national symbol. In the meantime, cameras were transmitting to TV satellite channels throughout the world the picture of Yasser Arafat in light of candles – inside the headquarters which was dark but of the light of his perseverance – while he was spreading his smile to his people.
That was his smile. Its story tells more about Yasser Arafat’s path of outstanding national struggle. It can be read. It was the title of a cause, which rhetorically talks about itself. With sublime rhetoric, the smile says that it is heading towards victory even if the path is wound and progress is slowed down by betrayal of fellow brethren of the nation. Yasser Arafat did not need to feign the features of an optimist. Indeed, the man enjoyed the revolutionary optimism. It was the optimism of the believer and struggler. He had faith in God. He believed in his people and nation and in his just cause. He read history and paid particular attention to its lessons and themes. You tell him that Palestine had devolved to people other than its own, but he replies that God’s promise is right and that Palestinians – and Muslims – will enter Jerusalem “like they did the first time”. You say that the Israelis have abducted Palestine for five decades and that their rule over it is de facto. However, he reminds you that the Crusaders spent in Jerusalem double the time and then left. You say that the Palestinians were left alone in the battle and that Arabs let them down, but he showers you with examples that acquit the will of peoples of the calculations of states. You ask him: “What do you have in hand that makes it possible for you to place the Palestinian national project on the path of historical achievement?” He answers: “I have the colossal people”.
This revolutionary optimism – and the shining smile drawn out of it – inspired Yasser Arafat to speak out more insightful phrases in moments of hopelessness and despair. Many would think such talk was unreasonable contention, which is said to console oneself or create a mobilisation from nothing. In Beirut, a journalist asked him while he was preparing to leave together with thousands of Palestinian fighters in the 1982 summer: “Where to after Beirut?” “To Palestine”, Arafat answered him. We heard that answer and wept bitterly for this dream which shattered. It seemed as if it was a haughty answer. Nevertheless, Arafat returned to Palestine about 12 years later. We wanted it to be a more beautiful and greater return with better terms and conditions than those prescribed by the infamous Oslo. Still, he returned, but did never abandon his principled values which we imagined – before the second Camp David negotiations (July 2000) had been launched – were neglected. We were disappointed. Yasser Arafat’s smile is more than a sign of perseverance; it is a title of history, a title of a stage that is abundant with great expectations and open-ended trust and confidence in triumph – trust and confidence that did never forsake him in the pitch-black darkness.
Who would smile after you, Abu Ammar?
* Al Mustakbal Newspaper, Lebanon, 23 November 2004
Ali Abdullah Saleh
Arafat was not defeated. He did never forfeit the rights of his people and homeland.
The passing of President Yasser Arafat is a grievous loss for his homeland of Palestine and for the Arab and Islamic nations.
I have been bereaved with the departure of my dear brother, great struggler, and martyr of the nation President Yasser Arafat. His passing is a grievous loss for his homeland of Palestine and for the Arab and Islamic nations. The late President, may he rest in peace, was a historic, exceptional Arab leader.
The late Leader guided the path of Palestinian struggle with all wisdom, determination and might. He confronted the harshest disasters and challenges. He was not defeated, nor did he ever forfeit the rights of his people and homeland. On the contrary, he was more perseverant and adherent to the right of Palestinian people to self-determination and establishment of their independent State on their national soil, with Jerusalem as its capital.
Paying the last honours to this great struggler after his longstanding struggle in the cause of his homeland and people, I feel deep sadness and exorbitant loss of my brother struggler Yasser Arafat. He passed in especially difficult conditions in which the Palestinian cause and Arab nation face a fierce attack and serious challenges posed by Israel.
* President of the Arab Republic of Yemen
The occupying power exercised tyranny against him.
Mr. Amr Mousa, Secretary General of the Arab League of Nations, offered condolences for the passing of the martyr of Palestine and Arab nation President Yasser Arafat.
According to a press statement released by the Arab League of Nations, President Arafat was “for decades a solid struggler against the occupation of his homeland. Then, he was a shrewd political partner in the Arab-Israeli peace process. However, the irrational occupying power exercised tyranny against him, ending his rich path of struggle following 30 months of captivity.”
“Heartily feeling the immense loss of the Symbol of Palestine and Leader of its national struggle, Mr. Amr Mousa expresses his trust and confidence in the Palestinian people’s genuine capability in this grievous historical moment of keeping their unity, clinging to the deep-rooted national principled values, and overcoming the trauma of the departing of their Leader. As such, they can materialise the long-awaited goal of establishing their independent state on their liberated land, with Jerusalem as its capital. Then, a Palestinian child will hoist the flag of Palestine over the scared city.”
* Secretary General of the Arab League of Nations
Avul Pakir Jainulabdeen Abdul Kalam
In a condolence letter to Rawahi Fattouh, Palestinian Legislative Council Speaker and Acting President of the Palestinian National Authority, President Avul Pakir Jainulabdeen Abdul Kalam said “President Arafat who was an enduring symbol of Palestine nationhood selflessly devoted his life to the Palestinian people.” President Kalam also stated that Arafat was greatly admired for his courage and sacrifice not only by the Palestinian people but also by peace-loving people in the Arab region and throughout the world. “In the passing away of President Arafat, the Palestinian people have not only lost a great patriot but also a great visionary whose only ambition in life was to achieve the homeland for the Palestinian people,” President Kalam said.
* President of the Republic of India
Bertie Ahern expressed his sorrow for the passing of a man who was a primary symbol of the national unity of the Palestinian people. Ahern said Arafat was a “great leader and a great man. It is perhaps the most tragic aspect of President Arafat’s death that he did not live to see the fruition of his ambition of a Palestinian state ... He will be greatly missed”.
* Irish Prime Minister
Carlo Azeglio Ciampi
“President Arafat was a symbol of the legitimate aspiration of the Palestinian people to have their dignity and rights recognised.”
In his message of condolence sent to Rawhi Fattouh, President of the Palestinian National Authority, Ciampi said that “moving forward to achieve the goal of two states Israel and Palestine that live in place within safe and recognised borders is the only way to reach stability, security and peace in the Middle East.”
* Italian President
Yasser Arafat was a significant figure... Arafat embodied hopes and dreams of his nation
On behalf of the United States, I wish to convey our deepest sympathies and support to the Palestinian people at this time of grief and sorrow. Our condolences go out to the family of Yasser Arafat.
Yasser Arafat was a significant figure in the history of the region and the world, and we know that, in the eyes of the Palestinian people, Arafat embodied their hopes and dreams for the achievement of an independent Palestinian State.
* US Secretary of State
President of Cuba (1961 – 2011)
Translated from Spanish by YAF
Arafat’s Death: “a harsh blow for the progressive movement worldwide”
In a message of condolence to Palestinian Legislative Council Speaker and Acting President of the Palestinian National Authority, Rawhi Fattouh, Cuban President Fidel Castro expressed his profound grief, describing Yasser Arafat’s death, as “a harsh blow for the progressive movement worldwide.”
Castro recalled that for more than four decades, Arafat led the Palestinian people’s struggle for an independent state, with East Jerusalem as its capital and defended the just demand of all the refugees forced to abandon their ancestral land to return to their native homes.
Describing Arafat as a “close friend”, Castro declared that the late Palestinian leader is an example of a tireless fighter for the right of a people to freedom and independence. “We reiterate,” he added, “our unwavering solidarity and support for the just cause of the Palestinian people and our commitment to continue strengthening the fraternal links that unite our peoples.”
Chancellor of Germany (1996 – 2005)
“Huge loss that the Palestinian people have suffered”
In a letter to Palestinian Prime Minister Ahmed Qurei’, German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder stated that the passing of the Palestinian President Yasser Arafat was “a huge loss that the Palestinian people have suffered. . . . Arafat pursued [during] all his life the independence of the Palestinian people and a sovereign and viable Palestinian state.”
Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifah Al Thani
Emir of the State of Qatar (1995 – 2013)
“We have lost one of the most prominent leaders.”
Offering condolences on the death of President Yasser Arafat, Emir of the State of Qatar Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifah Al Thani stressed that the Arab and Islamic nations “have lost one of their most prominent leaders and men. He devoted his life and effort to the struggle in the cause of his people to achieve their aspirations in freedom, independence and self-determination.”
Sheikh Hamad declared a three-day period of public mourning throughout the State of Qatar.
John Whitaker (Jack) Stra
United Kingdom Foreign Secretary (2001 – 2006)
In a press release, UK Foreign Secretary Jack Straw extended the condolences of the United Kingdom to the Palestinian people on the death of President Yasser Arafat. Straw said that Arafat “was a leader who fought for the independence of his country. With his loss, the Palestinian cause loses its foremost leader.”
President of France (1995 – 2007)
“A man of courage and conviction.”
Arafat was a man of courage and conviction. He embodied the Palestinian struggle for statehood for the past four decades. I hope that the loss which the Palestinian people have incurred promote their unity. The Palestinian people will not be faithful to the memory of Yasser Arafat except through their unity and adherence to the ideals and principles to which devoted his life.
James Earl (Jimmy) Carter, Jr.
Former President of the United States (1997 – 1981)
Arafat is “a powerful human symbol.”
Arafat was the father of the modern Palestinian nationalist movement. A powerful human symbol and forceful advocate, Palestinians united behind him in their pursuit of a homeland.
Khaled Muhyi ad-Din
Member of the Free Officers Movement that led the July 1952 Revolution in Egypt
I have known Arafat since 1950, when I met at the Reserve Officers Training Centre. This center provided training and rehabilitated students to serve as reserve officers and allowed Palestinian students to receive training along with their Egyptian peers. At that time, Yasser Arafat was a student at the Faculty of Engineering. Since his first days in the center, Arafat was enthusiastic. He engaged in political conversations and became very popular. He loved Egypt so much. His style was similar to that of the members of the Muslim Brotherhood.
With the emergence of the Fatah Movement, Arafat became well-known. Our relationship tightened, and we became friends.
Abu Ammar was a significant Arab national symbol. He established Fatah, recruited comrades and urged them to fund the movement so that they would be at no one’s mercy. With his peers, Abu Ammar began their military activity and launched armed operations. They then added political activity, which demonstrated that they understood – from an early stage – that political struggle was necessary to obtain recognition. Facts showed that Arafat was an intelligent man. To conclude the Oslo Accords is an example of his genius. He forced Israel to recognize that the Palestine Liberation Organization was the sole representative of the Palestinian people. He returned to his homeland and was buried in Ramallah. This is a significant achievement.
Prime Minister of Bangladesh (1991 – 1996; 2001 – 2006)
“A great loss to humankind.”
“Mr. Arafat’s passing is a great loss to humankind. Arafat’s unwavering commitment in the face of force, intimidation and oppression came to symbolize the aspirations of the Palestinian people.”
Secretary-General of the United Nations (1997 - 2006)
“He expressed and symbolized in his person the national aspirations
of the Palestinian people.”
“The Secretary-General was deeply moved to learn of the death of President Yasser Arafat. President Arafat was one of those few leaders who could be instantly recognized by people in any walk of life all around the world. For nearly four decades, he expressed and symbolized in his person the national aspirations of the Palestinian people,” spokesman Fred Eckhard said in a statement on Annan’s behalf.
The spokesman said Arafat would be remembered for leading the Palestinians in a giant step toward peace in signing the Oslo accords in 1993 and, it is tragic that he did not live to see it fulfilled.
“Now that he has gone, both Israelis and Palestinians, and the friends of both peoples throughout the world, must make even greater efforts to bring about the peaceful realization of the Palestinian right of self-determination,” the statement said.
Spouse of late Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin
“I highly appreciate him.”
Yasser Arafat was a man who possessed innumerable attributes of seriousness and . . . responsibility. My husband and I cherished and respected Yasser Arafat a great deal. I highly appreciate him. I was deeply moved by the warm human cordiality he expressed towards me. Arafat’s grief after Yitzhak had died was deep and honest, and so were his condolences. They were deeper and more sincere than those expressed by certain Israeli opposition leaders.
My husband and Arafat enjoyed the same leadership characteristics. Fraud was not of their nature.
... Paying the last respects
Yasser Arafat surprised us by not surprising us. Some fusion between the ailing man and the ailing narrative had preordained the end, preventing the tragic hero from imparting his unique imprint upon his fate. This time, there was no miracle, no surprise: the tragedy was reduced to a long, drawn-out, banal television serial.
Yasser Arafat had gradually schooled us in his continual departures. Time and again he would drill us in his extraordinary, unanticipated confrontations with death -- by aerial bombardment or in a civilian airplane crash in the desert -- which, by some seemingly miraculous power, he outran into the embrace of life. We shared with him a journey that addicted us to striking out towards destinations glittering with the lure of the impossible and radiating a pastoral lyricism to help us endure the hardship of the road.
Moving from one exile to another, our subject drew away from and drew close to the heart of the subject matter. In that rhetoric that draws banners in blood, we would say that he enriched the idea and revived the memory, that he effaced the boundary between reality and myth. We needed a legend and part of this legend came true. However, a legend needs to touch down on reality. Will ours pass the test on the ground? The question remains pending.
Yasser Arafat was the man who could tame the contradiction in exile, with a blend of pragmatism, religion and metaphysics. By virtue of his superhuman dynamism, his total identification of his private with his public life, and his unbounded diligence he transformed himself from leader into luminous symbol.
Arafat was not an engineer who paved roads; he cleaved them through minefields. It will be some time before history sorts out its files on this man, the phenomenon. However, it has already granted him the medal of honour in the science of survival, and for some time to come it will be engrossed in his adventure/miracle of setting fire to ice. Arafat led a revolution against all odds, perhaps because it was ahead of its time, or perhaps because it came too late. Or, perhaps again, because the regional balances of power would not permit anyone to strike a match near the oil fields... and in the vicinity of Israeli security.
He did not win military battles, neither in the homeland nor in the diaspora. But he did win the battle of defending our national existence. He placed the Palestinian question squarely on the regional and international political map. He gave shape to the national identity of the Palestinian refugee, lost and forgotten at the edges of oblivion. He caused the Palestinian reality to take root in the human consciousness and succeeded in convincing the world that war starts in Palestine and peace starts in Palestine.
Yasser Arafat's kufiya, folded and fixed in place with symbolic and folkloric importance, became the moral and political guide to Palestine.
However, in condensing all issues into his person, he became perilously vital to our lives... like the paterfamilias who was loath to allow his children grow up and become self-sufficient. He therefore gradually instilled in us the fear of orphanage and the fear that the idea would die in the event of his physical absence. Then, because of his many close scrapes with death, a Palestinian mythical subconscious coalesced around the sense that he would never die. Thus, the legend ranged into the metaphysical realm.
Yet, surprises were brewing elsewhere. When venturing back from the heights of Hellenic hermeneutics, the symbolic being had to shed some of the burden of his epic stature. A country had to be built and administered and new means were needed to end the occupation. He was now exposed and vulnerable; he could be touched, whispered about, brought to account. It was also the hero's misfortune to have to conquer his enemies in uneven battles and, simultaneously, to safeguard his image in the public imagination from festering protuberances.
Yes, steeped in the negotiating spirit of Saladin and filled with the forbearance/clemency of Omar [the second Rightly Guided Caliph], he returned to a new reality, not mounted on a white steed or on his feet leading his camel -- horses and camels have no place in the rhetoric of these modern times -- but rather riding the crest of the Oslo agreement. As obsessed with security as this agreement was, as cautious as it was in its optimism and as open as it was to ambiguous intentions, he nevertheless bore one joyful thought in his mind: even Moses never made it to the "Promised Land."
It was only the first step to statehood, he said. Palestine was still over there in the issues pending the final status negotiations -- the status of Jerusalem, the right to return and the other thorny questions -- and that the road to that place led not through Oslo but through the terms and references of international legitimacy. Yet he knew that those terms and references were no longer all that valid in the unipolar world, in which Israel had been elevated to sacred heights from where it hands down its divine guidance to the White House.
He also knew that to Israeli officials presidential emblems, identity cards and passports signified no more than symbolic fast-food meals meant to stave off a national identity’s craving for independence; and that he now resided in a prison furnished only with the illusion of things, and that when granted permission to go from his Ramallah prison to his Gaza prison, his wardens would not object to a red carpet or a national anthem.
Here began the ordeal of the president, and the onset of his political and moral ailment. This great prisoner, sentenced to harsh Israeli terms and conditions, could neither advance towards the Israeli understanding of the peace process nor retreat from the rudiments of the traditional struggle. Nor was it a consolation that the one to rue Oslo and betray its implications was the "Israeli partner" who withdrew from the partnership. What was to be done?
No one disputed the Palestinians’ right to resist. The second Intifada was a natural expression of their national will and their determination to revive hope in a true peace that would bring them freedom and independence. However, many questions arose over the means that would serve this end, while averting the danger of satisfying Sharon's thirst to lure them into the military arena so that he could paint his war against the nascent Palestinian entity as part of the global war against terrorism, now that America had effaced all distinction between national resistance and terrorism.
Arafat could only cast his lot upon an unresponsive fate and a miracle that would never bend these unyielding times. The Muqata’a, his headquarters and only home, was collapsing around him room by room. Over and over he boomed in a prophetic rumble that he would die a martyr, sending a passing chill deep through the Arab marrow. However, repetition has the effect of reducing tragedy to the ordinary and thus it was with the siege on Arafat: it became all too familiar. Three years of poison, three years of fetid air, three years of the American taunt, "He's no longer relevant," three years of Israel's dogged drive to strip him of his powers and the power of his symbolism. The Palestinians, however, have always proved capable of creating symbols: the siege on him represents the siege on us, his suffering equals our suffering. He is with us, inside us, just like us. We love him because we love him; we love him because we do not love his enemies.
He did not surprise us this time. This time he had prepared us for a final farewell. The besieged left the confines of his siege to call upon death in exile and to furnish the legend with the necessary clever ending. He gave us time so that our sorrow could find the appropriate tools of expression and so that we could gradually reach the age of weaning. There is something of him in every one of us. He was the father and the son: the father of an entire phase of the history of the Palestinian people, and their son whose rhetoric and image they helped foster.
We bid farewell to Arafat, but not to the past. Now we embark on a new phase of history with unknown possibilities. But should we not first set our feet down in the present before we begin to fear what tomorrow might hold?
* The Great Palestinian Poet
President of the former Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (1990 – 1991)
“A statesman who believed in principles.”
“Arafat was a serious politician. He was capable of consenting to a settlement. An attempt was made to accuse him of extremism. In reality, however, he was a statesman who believed in principles. He was both stubborn and flexible at the same time.”
King Mohammed VI
King of Morocco
Arafat is the symbol of the Palestinian struggle
In a letter of condolence to then Palestinian Prime Minister Ahmed Qurei’, the King of Morocco, Mohammed VI, expressed “. . . deep grief and profound sadness [on] the passing of your comrade in struggle, the great fighter, President of the State of Palestine, leader of its liberation and symbol of its heroic struggle.”
“Our dear President was a symbol of heroic perseverance in . . . demanding the legitimate right of his courageous people with all faith and confidence in victory granted by God. He was confident in the sons of Palestine who have fought and proved their capability of struggling in order to establish the Palestinian State on their liberated land. . . . [W]ith international legitimacy and faith, Arafat created peace, justice and a remedy.”
“In this touching moment, we recall the profound appreciation and mutual trust Arafat had shown Morocco, including its King and people, in consideration of the support which we have continued to offer for the just Palestinian cause over five decades of struggle and liberation.”
King Mohammed VI stressed that Morocco would continue to “stand by the Palestinian people and support their struggle until they achieve their aspirations, restore all of their rights and establish their independent State, with Jerusalem as its capital. Morocco will be faithful to the pledge which ties us to the just cause of Palestine.”
Mohammed Hosni Mubarak
President of Egypt (1981 – 2011)
Yasser Arafat was a warrior against the occupation.
“We all have known the Palestinian President Yasser Arafat as a defender of rights and struggler against the occupation. He sought peace on the grounds of international legitimacy. If history is to testify to his courageous positions defending the rights of the Palestinian people, I am absolutely confident that the brotherly Palestinian leadership and Palestinian people are capable of uniting themselves and proceeding toward materializing the legitimate Palestinian goals.”
History would show Arafat epitomised a breed of leaders.
The demise of Arafat was difficult to accept. History would show Arafat epitomised a breed of leaders whose lives were defined by sacrifices they made in the struggle of their peoples. He had given hope to millions by instilling in them the knowledge and consciousness that despite current difficulties, they hold the gift of freedom in their hands. Arafat had bestowed upon millions of Palestinians a legacy that would continue to inspire his people to forge ahead with the struggle to establish a sovereign independent Palestinian state co-existing peacefully with Israel.
* South African President
Prime Minister of the United Kingdom (1997 – 2007)
“President Arafat came to symbolize the Palestinian National Movement. He won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1994, jointly with Yitzhak Rabin in recognition of their efforts to achieve peace in the Middle East. He led his people to a historic acceptance of the need for a two-state solution.”
Head of the Presidential Office of Political Affairs, Egypt
Arafat’s struggle will never be in vain.
History will recall President Yasser Arafat’s unrelenting struggle in the cause of his people and land since he was a student at the Faculty of Engineering at Cairo University and established the Association of Palestinian Students in Egyptian universities between 1952 and 1956. He participated in all movements and led a Palestinian organization that was capable of representing the Palestinian people. He initiated significant steps. Some people criticized him for launching armed operations. However, Arafat was the first Palestinian leader to recognize Israel’s right to exist in 19. Therefore, a dialogue was launched between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), furnishing an opportunity for the PLO to participate in the Madrid Conference of 1991, and to conclude the Oslo Accords in September 1993.
Arafat continued to lead the national struggle using all means until he passed away as a warrior. He never abandoned the interests and rights of his people, earning him popular and international support. While indications of establishing the Palestinian State were emerging, President Arafat passed away. His struggle will never be in vain.
President of Russia
Arafat dedicated his entire life to the just cause of the Palestinian people.
In a message of condolence to Secretary of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization Mahmoud Abbas, Russian President Vladimir Putin called the death of Yasser Arafat “. . . a grievous loss for the Palestinian leadership, for all Palestinians.” Arafat “dedicated his entire life to the just cause of the Palestinian people, to the struggle for the exercise of their inalienable right to establish an independent state coexisting with Israel in peace within safe and recognized borders.”
Zine El Abidine Ben Ali
President of Tunisia (1987 – 2011)
The Palestinian leader sacrificed his life for the cause of his people and the struggle of the oppressed.