Palestinians set to open museum dedicated to late leader Yasser Arafat



Yasser Arafat. Credit: World Economic Forum.

( The Palestinians are set to open a museum Wednesday dedicated to their late leader Yasser Arafat.

The museum, which cost about $7 million to build, is located near Arafat’s gravesite in Ramallah and is the first venue of its kind dedicated to the late Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) leader.

On display across the museum’s two floors are a variety of the former Palestinian leader’s possessions, including the famous sunglasses he wore during his 1974 “gun and olive branch” speech to the United Nations and the Nobel Peace Prize he won in 1993. The museum also features videos and photographs of some of the key moments in Arafat’s life, including some from his personal collection.

The museum’s final exhibit includes the room where Arafat was holed up after being besieged by Israeli tanks during the Palestinians’ Second Intifada (violent uprising). 

“[Arafat’s] legacy is in many ways too big for a single museum to hold,” said Mohammad Halayqa, the museum’s director, The Guardian reported. “He was a symbol of unity for the Palestinian people, a national leader, a freedom fighter and a father.”

A towering figure within Palestinian society, Arafat was the longtime leader of the PLO and its subsidiary political party, Fatah, as well as the president of the Palestinian Authority. For years, Arafat waged conflict with Israel and orchestrated numerous terrorist attacks while operating from several Arab countries, including Jordan, Lebanon, and Tunisia. Arafat was the nephew of the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin al-Husseini. Arafat’s full name was Muhammed Yasser Abdel Rahman Abdel Raouf Arafat al-Qudwa al-Husseini, but he later shortened it.

Despite signing the Oslo Accords with Israel in 1993, Arafat never fully renounced terrorism and was blamed for igniting the bloody Second Intifada in 2000, which saw widespread suicide bombings and other terrorist attacks against Israelis. Arafat died in 2004, and Mahmoud Abbas succeeded him as the leader of the PLO, the PA, and Fatah.

Posted on November 8, 2016 .