Palestinians mourn the loss their longtime spokesman, Saeb Erekat

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas declared a three-day mourning period for Saeb Erekat, the chief Palestinian negotiator who died on Tuesday after contracting COVID-19.

Saeb Erekat died weeks after being infected by the coronavirus at 65.

The American-educated Erekat was involved in nearly every round of peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians going back to the landmark Madrid conference in 1991.

Over the years, he was a constant media presence. He tirelessly argued for a negotiated two-state solution to the decades-old conflict, defended the Palestinian leadership and blamed Israel — particularly hard-line leader Benjamin Netanyahu — for the failure to reach an agreement

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