Published: 2017-11-09 19:00
Last Updated: 2017-11-12 11:11
Thousands of Palestinians across and outside the country have started commemorating the 13th anniversary of the death of iconic Palestinian leader, Yasser Arafat.
Arafat, an Arab nationalist, was a founding member of the Fatah political party, which he led from 1959 until his death on November 11 2004.
In Ramallah, a rally organized by Fatah and other Palestinian factions marked the anniversary with crowds marching through the main street towards Yasser Arafat mausoleum, carrying portraits of Arafat and waving Palestinian flags.
Addressing the rally on behalf of President Mahmoud Abbas, Deputy Fatah Chairman Mahmoud al-Aloul said: “Not only was Yasser Arafat the leader who inspired the Palestinian revolution, but also the one who inspired liberation movements worldwide,” PA run news agency Wafa reported.
Al-Aloul further stressed: “We will remain committed to our independent decision. We could not accept any solution unless it commensurate with the Palestinian people’s national aspirations.”
Meanwhile, Israeli police disrupted another commemoration rally in Hebron, after a large number of troops fired tear gas and reportedly surrounded a number of schools preventing students from exiting.
In Gaza, a rally will be held on Saturday to commemorate the anniversary of his death, an event recently made possible following the recent reconciliation between Fatah and Hamas.
Yasser Arafat, the iconic Palestinian leader
Yasser Arafat was a Palestinian political leader, the chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) for 35 years until 2004 and President of the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) from 1994 to 2004.
According to Arafat himself, he was born in Jerusalem in 1929 in Jerusalem. However, this fact is somewhat disputed, with others claiming his birthplace was in Cairo or Gaza.
In the late 1950s Arafat founded Fatah, a party promoting the message that Palestinians should take control of their own struggle and not rely on any Arab government to negotiate with Israel on their behalf.
Arafat is most famous for his role in the breakthrough 1993 Oslo Agreement, which gave the Palestinians limited territorial sovereignty and partial control over civil affairs in the West Bank and Gaza.
He died surprisingly in France after a short period of illness, aged 75-years-old, and was buried in the Muqata, which was his compound in Ramallah.
The cause of his death is still debated. While French doctors who pronounced his death said it was a massive haemorrhagic cerebrovascular accident, while his widow, Suha, has maintained he was poisoned, possibly by radioactive polonium-210.