November 11, 2020 at 6:28 AM EST
With diplomatic challenges mounting, Palestinians just lost their lead negotiator to covid-19
By Steve Hendrix and Shira Rubin
JERUSALEM — The death Tuesday of longtime negotiator Saeb Erekat deprives the Palestinian leadership of one of its most seasoned operators just as it confronts diplomatic upheavals across the region, a transition to a new presidential administration in Washington and Arab allies who are suddenly willing to engage with Israel on their own.
Leaders from around the world noted the passing of Erekat, who died of complications from covid-19. A figure who loomed large in the region’s diplomatic affairs for decades, he was well known to the Middle East experts likely to staff the State Department under Joe Biden’s presidency.
An academic who spoke fluent English and advocated nonviolent change, Erekat earned a reputation as a negotiator who had read everything and came prepared.