Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

MEDIAWATCH

Is Carla Bruni against a political comeback for Sarkozy?

Read more

DEBATE

Clone of Pakistan Protests: Democracy put the test (Part Two)

Read more

DEBATE

Pakistan Protests: Democracy put the test (Part One)

Read more

ENCORE!

The French Maestro of Soul

Read more

FOCUS

US tobacco giants want lion's share of e-cigarette business

Read more

ENCORE!

Bold and bonkers: Kate Bush is back on stage

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

Simon Serfaty, US foreign policy specialist

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

'It's a War, Stupid!'

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

French PM calls on ECB to go further to help economy

Read more

  • US military targets Somalia's al Shabaab Islamist group

    Read more

  • French education ministry picture sparks racist abuse

    Read more

  • UN backs Iraqi request for inquiry into IS militant crimes

    Read more

  • Obama calls for higher wages amid 'revving' US economy

    Read more

  • Video: Ukraine’s children return to school as fighting rages on

    Read more

  • Americans detained in North Korea call for US help

    Read more

  • US urges Israel to reverse West Bank land seizure

    Read more

  • Lesotho PM calls for regional peacekeeping force after ‘coup’

    Read more

  • Ukrainian forces retreat from Luhansk airport after clashes

    Read more

  • Teddy Riner, France’s unstoppable judo champion

    Read more

  • Death toll rises in Paris apartment building blast

    Read more

  • Iraqi forces free Amerli in biggest victory over IS militants since June

    Read more

  • French police arrest hungry hedgehog hunters

    Read more

  • Tripoli under control of militias, says government

    Read more

  • Monaco’s Falcao leaves Ligue 1 for Man Utd

    Read more

  • Spain orders custody for parents of ill British boy

    Read more

Middle east

Arafat's legend lives on for Ramallah youth

Video by Gallagher Fenwick , Nidal Rafah

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2012-11-28

Eight years after his death, Yasser Arafat remains a hero for most Palestinians. FRANCE 24's reporters look at his legacy in the city of Ramallah, where the former Palestinian leader was - twice - laid to rest.

Eight years have gone by since the death in a Paris hospital of former Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat. For the pupils of Ramallah’s Al Ahlyia College in the West Bank, many of whom scarcely remember life under Arafat, the founder of the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) remains a figure of legend. 

“He raised the name of Palestine on the international stage and let the world know that its people are under occupation," said Jocelyn Shahin, an 11th grade student.

While some pupils, like Shahin, remembered Arafat as the leader who chose to resist “not with weapons but with the olive branch”, others praised his lifelong defiance, comparing the PLO’s founder with his milder successor, Palestinian Authority chief Mahmoud Abbas.

“Yasser Arafat used resistance more than Mahmoud Abbas, who chooses peaceful means like going to the United Nations to advance our cause because he sees that his people cannot resist against a powerful country like Israel,” said Moayed Walid Obeidallah, referring to Abbas’s bid for recognition of Palestine as a non-member state at the UN.

‘The last Palestinian giant’

Portraits of Arafat, whose remains were exhumed and promptly reburied on Tuesday as part of a French-led investigation into the causes of his death, are still ubiquitous on the school’s walls - as in most public buildings across the West Bank.

At the nearby compound which houses the Palestinian presidency, those who knew the former strongman personally and served under him say he is irreplaceable.

For Mazen Ez Aldin, a former general of the Palestinian Presidential Guard, Arafat was “the last giant that the Palestinian people produced this century”.

While many here expect the investigation to conclude that Arafat was murdered, all are adamant his legacy will live on - at least until a worthy successor is found.

As Ez Aldin concluded, "Arafat will remain immortal in the minds of the Palestinian people until the day when one of its children will raise the flag of Palestine on the mosques and churches of Jerusalem.”

 

Date created : 2012-11-28

  • PALESTINIAN TERRITORIES

    Reopening the mystery of Yasser Arafat’s death

    Read more

  • PALESTINIAN TERRITORIES

    Palestinians seeking UN upgrade in statehood bid

    Read more

  • ISRAELI-PALESTINIAN CONFLICT

    Ten key dates on the path towards Palestinian statehood

    Read more

COMMENT(S)