Saeb Erekat, 65, one of the most experienced and high-profile spokesmen for the Palestinian cause over decades of dispute with Israel, died on Tuesday after contracting COVID-19, his family said. He was 65.
“With hearts full of sorrow and pain, and with patience, Erekat’s clan everywhere mourns to the Palestinian Arab people and to the Arab and Muslim nation Saeb Erekat,” his extended family clan posted on Facebook.
Fluent in English as well as his native Arabic, he was a high-profile spokesman for Palestinian leaders such as Yasser Arafat and Mahmoud Abbas, though never a serious candidate to succeed them.
Erekat, the secretary general of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), confirmed on Oct. 8 that he had contracted the coronavirus. Three years earlier he had undergone a lung transplant in the United States that left his immune system compromised.
He died after being hospitalized for weeks in Jerusalem’s Hadassah Medical Center. The family said he had died from “complications resulting from contracting coronavirus”.