Al-Awda Mourns The Death of President Yasser
Farewell, Abu Ammar
With hearts full of sorrow, we, members of Al-Awda—the
President Arafat’s pivotal role in advancing the
Under Arafat’s leadership, the PLO succeeded in
defining the Palestinian cause as one of a nation determined to take matters
into its own hands; a people made up of refugees whose continued existence is
organically, naturally and historically tied to the land of Palestine. In fact,
the PLO, as the embodiment of Palestinian identity and hopes, went beyond the
role played by traditional national liberation movements. The PLO fought to
restore the national rights of the Palestinian people and to end the colonial
Abu Ammar personified
the Palestinian struggle to the extent that the two became inseparable in the
eyes of many. The man who dedicated his entire life to
Most of all, Arafat embodied and personified the
unmatched Palestinian will to resist oppression irrespective of the cost of
such resistance. He personified the Palestinian revolt in the face of
overwhelming odds. When Palestinian forces at the Jordanian
Regardless of whether one agrees or disagrees
with his political tactics or leadership style, one thing is clear: Yasser Arafat never retreated on any of the core
Palestinian objectives, namely independence, the right to return and a free
In 1982, Arafat resisted military and political
pressures to abandon the Palestinian struggle. Instead, he led an alliance of
Palestinian-Lebanese-Syrian resistance to
Rebuffing offers of safe passage out of the
besieged city of
During the summer of 2000, Arafat came under
intense pressure at Camp David to accept U.S.-Israeli dictates with regards to
Arafat paid a heavy price for his refusal to surrender his people’s rights.
A campaign of killing and terror was unleashed
against the West Bank and
This is a day of grief and sorrow. However, our grief for Abu Ammar should not be mistaken for resignation and despair. The Palestinian people have a long, existential struggle that transcends individuals. For, this is what Abu Ammar had always taught us.
This is also a day of unity for Palestinians and all people of conscience; unity in sadness, but also in determination to continue the struggle for which President Arafat has paid with his life.
We reiterate our determination to challenge any
We call on the Palestinian people to move forward with the establishment and implementation of a national unity program within the framework of a unified national leadership that encompasses all segments of the Palestinian people, including those living in the Diaspora.
As we bid him farewell, we will especially remember Abu Ammar for his refusal to abandon the Palestinian refugees’ right to return to their original towns and villages. Throughout his life, President’s insisted that only the Palestinian people had the right to define the objectives, strategies and tactics of their struggle, without any external interference.
This is a message which many within the
Palestinian movement in North America would like to see the
Long Live the Palestinian People!
11 November 2004