RIP Saeb Erekat, Palestinian Peace Negotiator

Americans for Peace Now (APN) sends its deepest sympathy to the Erekat family and to the Palestinian people as they mourn the death of Dr. Saeb Erekat, the Secretary General of the Executive Committee of the PLO, and the former chief Palestinian negotiator in peace talks with Israel.

A proud Palestinian patriot, Erekat was one of the leading voices in support of a diplomatically negotiated peace agreement with Israel. He often noted that no other Palestinian diplomat had spent more hours negotiating the terms of Israeli-Palestinian political relations and the terms of a future Israeli-Palestinian two-state peace accord.

Despite disappointments and setbacks, Erekat remained committed to peace with Israel until the last days of his life. In a conversation with APN last May, Erekat said: “when I talk about peace, and when I say openly and very, very, loudly -- and I know many Palestinians don’t like to hear this from me -- I will never abandon the two-state solution because it’s the only solution.” He added, “I am not doing the Israelis a favor by saying that. I am doing myself a favor. Nobody benefits more from reaching an agreement for two states more than me, and no one stands to lose more in the absence of two states than me. And I pray and hope that someday Israeli policymakers will come to their senses and understand that they are not doing me a favor when they sit with me and make peace with me.”

The Chair of APN’s Board of Directors, Jim Klutznick, said: “Dr. Erekat was a man of peace who devoted most of his life to the cause of Israeli-Palestinian peace. Both Palestinians and Israelis and their respective diaspora communities – and everyone who cares about peace between the two peoples – should mourn the death of this brave man and pay respect to his contribution to the cause of peace. It is incumbent upon supporters of peace on both sides, and our friends worldwide, to follow in his footsteps to help realize the noble cause that he has so resolutely pursued.”