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Fatah holds congress amid Abbas’ succession speculation

Nov 30, 16
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Fatah Meeting 2016

Fatah Meeting 2016

After two-years delay, Fatah movement’s seventh congress is expected to open on Tuesday, 29 November, 2016 amid Internal wrangling over Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ succession.

Up to 1,400 invited members are expected to design the movement’s strategy for the next five years. The congress will also elect Fatah’s 23-member Central Committee, presided by Abbas, and its 132-member Revolutionary Council. Abbas is said to be under pressure from Arab states to name a successor. Fatah officials, however, insist that the congress “is not about succession”. Husam Zomlot, Abbas’ strategic adviser and newly appointed ambassador to the United States siad, “The congress will discuss and review the tools that have been used to achieve two goals: establishing a free and sovereign state and the right of return which remain our national goals, A major review should be about bilateralism and successive Israeli governments’ insistence to use negotiations as a tool to expand and reinforce the occupation and colonisation.”

In this respect, some analysts have expressed concern about the timing of the congress, with political tensions running high; while others have pointed to the need to forward-plan towards Abbas’ succession to avoid a power vacuum that could lead to serious destabilisation and the imposition of outside agendas. The 81-year-old Palestinian president was recently hospitalised with heart problems, and his term in office officially expired in 2009. PA raids into Palestinian refugee camps, including Jenin and Al Amari, have intensified in the lead-up to the congress, as they did around the now-postponed municipal elections, originally planned for October 8.

On October 22, PA security forces broke up a meeting organised by a group of Fatah leaders in Al Amari refugee camp near Ramallah, which resulted in a number of arrests and ousters from the movement

Hamas, meanwhile, has allowed Dahlan to get a foothold in Gaza, and in return Egypt has loosened some of the restrictions on access and movement it imposed on the Strip. Alaa Tartir, programme director at Al-Shabaka, highlighed six main issues he thinks the Fatah leadership should consider during the congress if the political will existed.

Formerly led by Yasser Arafat, Fatah remains the dominant party in both the PLO (Palestine Liberation Organisation), which led the Palestinians to the Oslo Accords with Israel in 1993 and 1995, and the PA (Palestinian Authority). The latter was created as a provisional government as part of the Oslo process, which envisaged a five-year interim period to pave the way to final status negotiations.

 

Jerusalem welcomes the French plan while Israel Settlers take over Palestinian land in Jordan Valley

Nov 29, 16
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French Envoy with Palestinian President

French Envoy with Palestinian President

On Monday 28 November, 2016, the Palestinians welcomed a French plan to hold an international conference on the two-state solution in Paris at the end of December. The PLO Secretary-General Saeb Erekat said “We have encouraged France to go ahead with its initiative and supported its efforts to have a multilateral conference before the end of the year,” after meeting with French envoy Pierre Vimont in Ramallah.

In Ramallah he received a warm welcome from Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and Erekat. They urged Vimont not to let Israel “sabotage” the international conference. Erekat said “Israel is a state that does not only refuse to attend international conferences, but refuses to recognize Palestine, to implement signed agreements, UN resolutions or simply to abide by its obligations under international law. Israel wants only to maintain the status quo and to continue with its settlement policies and land grabs.” He noted that next year marks “50 years of the Israeli occupation.”

In Jerusalem Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called on Abbas to immediately hold direct negotiations with him. “The quest for peace is difficult but we remain committed to it,” Netanyahu said. “And you know, Mr. Prime Minister, every time there is a foreign leader here I always say: Look, I’ll be happy to begin peace negotiations without any conditions of course but direct negotiations with President Abbas,” Netanyahu said.

Abbas has persistently rejected such calls, stating that Israel must halt all settlement activity and Jewish building in east Jerusalem before such talks could be held.

Meanwhile, a group of Israeli settlers on Sunday afternoon have taken over an agricultural  Palestinian-owned agricultural land in the northern Jordan Valley. A local resident told the Palestinian Information Center (PIC) that the villagers were able recently to obtain an Israeli court verdict that gave them back part of their lands that had been seized by settlers in a previous incident. He affirmed that this court verdict, however, was never respected by Jewish settlers living near their hamlet.

He added that a group of settlers seized once again on Sunday their agricultural land and embarked on cultivating it for their own use.

 

Israeli occupation

Israeli occupation

 

29 November, The International Palestinian Solidarity Day today

Nov 29, 16
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International solidarity day of Palestine

International solidarity day of Palestine

 

Today 29 November, the world is observing the International Solidarity Day with the Palestinian People. The day is a United Nations-organized observance. Events are held at UN headquarters in New York and UN offices in Geneva and Vienna, with other observances under government and civic sponsorship around the world. It is generally held on November 29 each year to mark the anniversary of Resolution 181, passed by the UN General Assembly in 1947 to partition Palestine into Jewish and Arab states. Palestine was at that time still under the British Mandate. The following year Israel fought its war, and more than 750,000 Palestinians were displaced from their own homes and lands.

In 1977, the General Assembly of the United Nations called for the annual observance of 29 November as the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People (resolution 32/40 B), with confidence that today, the Palestinians are the victims of brutality and persecution because of the adaptation of Resolution 181 in UN General Assembly 1947, where it has been decided on the partition of  the state of Palestine to make one Jewish State and Another Palestinian (Arab) State. Through this resolution, the Jews who were minority at that time were given more than 70% of the Palestinian land to establish themselves. As a result, most of the Palestinians became refugees & being evicted from their homeland as stateless. They took shelter in the neighboring countries refugee camps and they are living their life in misery as refugees even today. In 1947, on this date, Justice have been drowned which remains the same as today. In this situation, the Palestinians, with their full strength, started the induction of their revolution under the compact Leadership of the late president Yasser Arafat. Many people had sacrificed their own lives for the sake of this revolution, gave up their everything for the freedom and independence of the Palestinian state. Still today, the Palestinians are letting their valuable lives.

In marking the 69th anniversary of the adoption of UN General Assembly Resolution 181 (the Partition Plan) and the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, PLO Executive Committee Member, Dr. Hanan Ashrawi said: “This anniversary marks an occasion in which the international community decided to intervene negatively, and thus began the tragedy of Palestine. No matter how many days of solidarity we have, the fact of this grave injustice remains, particularly since there has never been any concrete engagement to challenge Israel’s impunity or to put an end to its continued expansionism and its flagrant violations of international law and international humanitarian law.”

 

The International Solidarity Day of Palestine has been observed all around the world today. Even in Bangladesh, there are different organisations who have arranged different programs at different times of the day. No matter what, Bangladesh shall always support and stand beside the brotherly nation Palestine is been clearly mentioned on the speakers speech. Also the end of Illegal Israeli occupation and make Palestine an independent nation with its capital Jerusalem was the crucial demand for Bangladeshi people. The Head of Palestinian Diplomatic Mission of Bangladesh, H.E. Mr. Yousef S.Y.  Ramadan has expressed his gratitude for the people and the Government of Bangladesh and said that “Palestinian people shall never give up their legitimate right of self determination as well as return to their homeland and establish their own independent state with its capital, the Holy city of Jerusalem. With the support of our brothers of Bangladesh and rest of the world, we shall continue our revolution till the end.”

 

Also the Honorable Prime minister of Bangladesh has reiterated the support in favour of establishing the State of Palestine ending the illegal Israeli occupation. She said in her message, ” Bangladesh joins the international community in reaffirming its commitment to the inalienable right of the people of Palestine to self-determination and support to their five-decade long struggle for peace, stability and justice. Having experienced aggression and crimes against humanity during the War of Liberation in 1971, Bangladesh condemns the heinous attacks on the people of Palestine, and denounces the illegal settlements, including the expansion plans, and any other action by the occupying force, that obstructs negotiations towards a viable two-State solution.”

 

The international community strongly supports the resumption and continuation of the negotiating process with Israel and other powers, and an end to unilateral actions that may predetermine the outcome of the negotiations. Given the extensive settlement by Jews in the Occupied Territories, encouraged by successive Israeli governments since 1967, and given the ever more rightward trend of the current Netanyahu regime, rapid progress toward Palestinian self-determination and toward a tangible improvement in the Palestinian economy and living conditions, still seems far off.

international solidarity day of palestine

international solidarity day of Palestine

International Pressure on stopping Israeli Brutality over Palestine is raising

Nov 23, 16
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France & Palestine

France & Palestine

A high-level French diplomat has denied any news regarding France halting the French peace summit that is set to take place in December, saying it will go on whether “with or without Israel.” The statement, released by the French embassy in Tel Aviv, comes after the Israeli newspaper, Ynet, published news claiming that France will stop efforts to hold the peace summit. The French consul in Jerusalem, Pierre Cochard said “as [French president] mentioned in his address to the General Assembly of the United Nations on 20 September, the French objective is to convene an international conference to help revive the peace process in the Middle East. We work closely with our partners and with the parties to this end. After working visits to Israel and the Palestinian territories, the special envoy of the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Pierre Vimont, has just visited the United States. It will continue this work on future trips to the main partner countries,” Cochard   added.

Meanwhile, Israel said it will not participate in the summit since it goes against its official stance, and “enables Palestinians to avoid direct negotiations without preconditions. In addition, a statement from Netanyahu’s office called on France not to promote such an initiative. The conference amis to revive the Israeli-Palestinian negotiations and end the Israeli occupation. It has had a strong support from the Palestinian officials, and strong opposition from the Israeli side.

Here, PLO Executive Committee Member Dr. Hanan Ashrawi met with Irish Representative Jonathan Conlon at the PLO Headquarters in Ramallah and welcomed him to Palestine. Both parties reviewed Palestinian-Irish relations at length, and Dr. Ashrawi expressed her appreciation to Ireland for its continued backing of Palestine at the United Nations and its ongoing support of Palestinian self-determination and human rights. She urged the Irish government to recognize Palestine in the immediate future. Dr. Ashrawi and Mr. Conlon also discussed matters related to the latest global and European developments and the role of Ireland in the EU.

Dr. Ashrawi provided an assessment of the alarming and worsening conditions on the ground and Israel’s persistent violations of international law and conventions.

 

Dr. Ashrawi

Dr Ashwari

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan refuses to take back his past verbal attacks against Israel

Nov 22, 16
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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan

Despite Turkey’s reconciliation agreement with Israel in June 2016, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan struck anything but a conciliatory tone stating that Israel has killed millions of Palestinians in Gaza and Palestine. Although Israel and Turkey had made progress in normalizing ties, Erdogan refused to take back his past verbal attacks against Israel, including a statement that Israel’s attacks against terrorist targets in Gaza during Operation Protective Edge were more barbaric than Nazi leader Adolf Hitler’s actions.

In a statement, The Turkish President had said- “There were times that Gaza was bombarded. I cannot forget those moments when thousands of people were killed in these bombings. I do not agree with what Hitler did and I also do not agree with what Israel has done in Gaza. So there is no point in comparing who was more barbaric…you killed thousands of people in Gaza and Palestine,”

Erdogan also defended Hamas’s indiscriminate firing of rockets on civilian targets in Israel, and said he does not consider Hamas a terrorist organization. He said, “Hamas is not a terrorist organization. Hamas is a political movement born out of (national) resurrection. Until now you have been sitting with Mahmoud Abbas and Fatah, did you get any results? No you didn’t.My desire is this: We must achieve peace in this region. If there is no peace in the region, it will be unfortunate.”

Erdogan also accused Israel of trying to take over the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem. He said, “Israel is making an effort to take over the Al-Aqsa Mosque, and that is unacceptable. First of all we must be vigilant that (Israel) will not be able to take over the place through archaeological excavations. Jerusalem is holy to three religions, and we all must respect that. (But) we are now experiencing a process of normalization of relations. I do not want to discuss these issues.”

“Donald Trump election will lead the end of Palestinian state”-Israeli Minister

Nov 16, 16
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Israeli Cabinet minister Naftali Bennett with PM netaniyahu

Israeli Cabinet minister Naftali Bennett with PM netaniyahu

 

Naftali Bennett , a senior Israeli Cabinet minister said the election of Donald Trump has helped create an opportunity for Israel to completely finish  the establishment of a Palestinian state. The remarks by Naftali Bennett reflect sentiment in the nationalist Israeli right wing that Trump’s election could usher in a new era of relations with the United States. While the two countries are close allies, relations were sometimes tense between President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu because of their vastly different world views.

Bennett last week welcomed Trump’s election, predicting that “the special relationship” with the U.S. would grow stronger and noting that the Republican campaign platform had no mention of a Palestinian state. “The era of a Palestinian state is over,” he declared at the time. he also said “The combination of the changes in the United States, in Europe and the region provide Israel with a unique opportunity to reset and rethink everything.” he added. “I believe that we have to bring alternative new ideas instead of the Palestinian state approach.” “My expectation is not from anyone abroad,” he said. “After many years, the Israeli government has to decide what do we want.

Bennett leads the Jewish Home party, a coalition partner that is affiliated with the West Bank settler movement. He is one of the most influential voices in Israeli politics, and both his party and most members of Netanyahu’s Likud oppose Palestinian statehood on either religious or security grounds. Israeli hard-liners welcomed Trump’s election last week, noting the strong support for Israel in his campaign platform and the many pro-Israel officials who advised him during his campaign.

Bennett’s comments were also an indicator of the pressure Netanyahu could soon face to abandon his commitment to the “two-state solution” favored by Obama and the international community. For two decades, the international community has been pushing for a negotiated peace deal that would include the establishment of a Palestinian state in the West Bank, east Jerusalem and Gaza Strip — areas captured by Israel in the 1967 Mideast war.

In an interview with “Israel Today,” a free daily owned by Republican super-donor Sheldon Adelson, Trump said he believed his administration can play “a significant role” in helping the Mideast parties reach an agreement. on the other hand, Netanyahu told his Cabinet on Sunday that he would soon be meeting Trump. He ordered his Cabinet and lawmakers to avoid speaking to the media about the election while the incoming U.S. administration formulates its policies

 

Donald Trump wants to make peace between Palestine & Israel

Nov 14, 16
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Donald Trump Meets Netanyahu

Donald Trump Meets Netanyahu

The newly elected US President Donald Trump said he wants to put an end to the Israel-Palestinian conflict through negotiating an “Ultimate deal” between the Palestinians and the Israelis with his staff reportedly warning the current Obama administration not to make any major move that could interfere with Trump’s future policies. Trump said in an interview with the Wall Street Journal, referring to the complex conflict as the “War that never ends.”

Just one day after winning the election, Trump invited Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to meet with him in the US. Trump noted that any deal should be directly negotiated between Israel and Palestine, but that his administration would play a “significant role in helping the parties to achieve a just, lasting peace.” He also stated that Israel is a “beacon of hope to countless people,” and that it shares the same values as the US, such as “freedom of speech, freedom of worship and the importance of creating opportunities for all citizens to pursue their dreams.”

The Israeli right hopes Trump’s election will end the animosity between Netanyahu’s government and that of US President Barack Obama’s administration. Israeli-Palestinian peace talks have been at a standstill for two years since US efforts led by Secretary of State John Kerry failed. The sides stopped consultations after Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas forged an unexpected pact with Hamas.
Trump, unlike his predecessors, is reportedly prepared to turn a blind eye to the issue of Israeli settlements that are being built on the occupied lands that Palestinians want for their future state. Despite their illegality under international law, Trump believes they do not present an impassable obstacle to peace talks.

 

Israel imposes new racist laws over Palestinian Muslim prayer: Palestinians will go to the Security Council

Nov 14, 16
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Palestinian Mosque destroyed by Israel

Palestinian Mosque destroyed by Israel

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says he backs a bill limiting the volume of calls to prayer from mosques, a proposal government watchdogs call a threat to religious freedom.  The draft bill applies to all houses of worship, it is seen as specifically targeting mosques only. He said in a cabinet meeting that “I cannot count the times – they are simply too numerous – that citizens have turned to me from all parts of Israeli society, from all religions, with complaints about the noise and suffering caused them by the excessive noise coming to them from the public address systems of houses of prayer.”

Israel’s population is roughly 17.5 percent Arab, most of them Muslim, and they accuse the Jewish majority of badly discriminating against them. East Jerusalem is also mainly Palestinian and traditional calls to prayer by muezzins through public address systems can be heard in the city. The Israel Democracy Institute, a non-partisan think-tank, has spoken out against the proposal. On Sunday, 13 November, 2016, one of the group’s officials accused Israel’s right-wing politicians of dangerously using the issue to gain political points under the guise of improving quality of life.

Meanwhile, Palestinian presidency official spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeina, warned of the danger of the latest Israeli procedures of legislation outposts and prevent prayers call  for Muslim prayer through mosque loudspeakers, which will drag the region into a disaster. Mentioning these measures as completely unacceptable, the Palestinian leadership have decided to go to the UN Security Council and to all the international institutions, to stop this Israeli escalating  measures. According to Israeli sources, the Ministerial Committee on Legislation approved unanimously on a draft regulation bill that seeks to regularize the status of thousands of housing units in settlements built on private Palestinian land. Israeli Minister of Education and the far-right Jewish Home Party president ,Naftali Bennett who introduced draft decisions for voting said  after the vote that “Israel today began a historical process to arrange a settlement in Judea and Samaria.

On the other hand the ministerial committee also approved legislation on Prevention prayer  call over loudspeakers  for Muslims after it was put to a vote and the resolution was voted on unanimously. Palestinian Minister of Awqaf and Religious Affairs Yusuf Adeis, denounced on Sunday evening, the approval of the ministerial committee for legislation in the Israeli government, to prevent the call to prayer in Jerusalem and surrounding Arab neighborhoods. He called the international community and the Arab and Islamic worlds, and international institutions to protect the holy Islamic and Christian holy sites and places, calling for immediate action to push the Israeli government to retreat from these extremist and irresponsible decisions.

Palestinian Muslims pray in the Mosque

Palestinian Muslims pray in the Mosque

A Tribute to Yasser Arafat

Nov 13, 16
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Yasser Arafat

Yasser Arafat

November 11, 2016 is the 12th death anniversary of the great global leader Yasser Arafat, who was the very best friend of Bangladesh. This life-time fighting Palestinian Liberation Organisation leader left the world in 2004 in a Paris hospital at the age of 75. Thousands of Palestinians attended a rally in the West Bank to remember the man who guided Palestinian aspirations for four decades. Yasser Arafat is one of the greatest world leaders who are always remembered by history. The legendary Palestinian leader was not only for a freedom and an independent state for the Palestine, but also was the symbol of liberty for the rest of the world. It’s been more than a decade since his death but he is still alive in the heart and mind of every Palestinian.

The relation between Palestine and Bangladesh started since the birth of this country. Since the independence of Bangladesh in 1971, Yasser Afarat has been regarded as a great friend of the people of Bangladesh. Like any other Muslim nation, Bangladesh has always been supporting the independent state of Palestine with its capital in Jerusalem. Those who came to power in the state of Bangladesh, have always maintained a warm friendly relationship with Palestine. Yasser Arafat was one of the best friends of the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. In the later periods, Hussain Muhammad Ershad, Begum Khaleda Zia and Sheikh Hasina have kept up their constant support for Yasser Arafat during and even after their reign. Amongst the 134 countries that have recognised the independent state of Palestine, Bangladesh is one of them. Yasser Arafat paid several state visit to Bangladesh and had a number of stopovers at the then Dhaka International Airport. In 1997, he came to Dhaka as per special invitation of the then Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on the occasion of the Silver Jubilee of independence of Bangladesh. On that particular occasion, there were also world renowned global leaders like Nelson Mandela and Turkish President Suleiman Demerol, among others.
In the remembrance of this great leader print, online and broadcast media will highlight the day. The Embassy of the state of Palestine, Dhaka is going to arrange some special programmes on the occasion. According the Embassy sources, the former Ambassador of Palestine to Dhaka is on a visit to Bangladesh at this moment. Also, the one & only Bangladeshi Palestinian, the freedom fighter in the Liberation War, Captain (rtd.) Sayeed Ahmed is also currently here in the country. Palestinians are getting ready to commemorate the 12th anniversary of the death of Yasser Arafat, their iconic leader who even in death embodies their struggle for independence and statehood. Palestinians organise prayers to mark the day of Arafat’s death.
Conspiracy theories that he was poisoned despite doctors finding no trace of toxins, piling yet more mystery on the life and legacy of a man who shared the 1994 Nobel Peace Prize with Israeli prime minister Yitzhak Rabin. Accused of fomenting violence and branded as an obstacle to peace with Israel and Washington by Israeli leaders, Arafat’s passing has done little to reignite the stagnant Middle East peace process.
Yasser Arafat’s grave in the courtyard of the Muqataa, the Palestinian Authority headquarters in Ramallah, will also come into focus in the official commemoration of his death anniversary.

Our deepest respect to this great leader!

The writer is a Freelance Journalist, the Daily Sun, Dhaka Bangladesh and CEO of Ra’dia Inc. He can be reached at: radiadhk@gmail.com.

Yasser Arafat Museum opened in Ramallah at his 12th Death Anniversary

Nov 13, 16
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Yasser Arafat Museum

Yasser Arafat Museum

 

Twelve years, since the death of the Palestinian World leader Yasser Arafat , a museum of his life opens on Wednesday 09 November, 2016 in the West Bank complex, Ramallah,  where he spent his last years under Israeli siege. the project which began in 2010, Costing $7m (£5.6m) to construct, and years in the making, the Yasser Arafat Museum traces a life indelibly associated with the Palestinian experience and includes the preserved suite of modest rooms he inhabited in the muqata, his Ramallah headquarters. The museum follows Arafat’s life from his birth in 1929 – which it places in Jerusalem, although other historical sources have suggested he was born in Cairo – through his emergence as Fatah’s leader at the height of the armed conflict against Israel, which saw Arafat move around bases in the Middle East including Tunis and Beirut, including the plane crash he survived in the Libyan desert.

According to Nasser al-Kidwa, chairman of the board of the Yasser Arafat Foundation, the museum intends to present the most important events in Palestinian history from the beginning of the 20th century until the death of Arafat in 2004. He said, The team of curators had a hard time collecting all of Arafat’s belongings. Also he said while the belongings in Ramallah were easy to find, most of Arafat’s items in the Gaza Strip were lost  in 2007. Arafat’s Nobel Peace Prize medal, which he won after signing the interim agreement with Israel in 1993, was found in a market in Gaza.

 

A museum’s staff displays one of Yasser Arafat’s notebooks.

A museum’s staff displays one of Yasser Arafat’s notebooks.

The opening of the museum on Wednesday – by his successor President Mahmoud Abbas – comes two days before Palestinians commemorate the 12th anniversary of Arafat’s death in a hospital near Paris.The museum’s inauguration, and its deliberate appeal to the memory of the single overarching political figure in recent Palestinian history, comes at a time when Arafat’s Fatah movement, the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO), and indeed the Palestinian people, have never appeared more divided, with Fatah ruling on the West Bank and the Islamist group Hamas controlling Gaza.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said: “2017 is going to be the year to end the occupation, and even though Arafat is gone in body, he still lives among us in spirit.”

The museum is housed in a sleek white building a short walk from Arafat’s mausoleum, where his body was brought from France for burial. An aerial walkway links the museum building to Arafat’s cramped old office and bedroom. On display are a selection of personal belongings, including his pistol and his keffiyeh kerchief.

Yasser Arafat Museum Inauguration

Yasser Arafat Museum Inauguration