Palestinian president Arafat dies at 75(1)

时间:2006-05-07 03:38  97次点击 | 0 关注
  Yasser Arafat, who triumphantly forced his people‘s plight into the world spotlight but failed to achieve his lifelong quest for Palestinian statehood, died Thursday at age 75.
  Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat salutes while attending the Palestinian Islamic Christians Conference at his compound in the West Bank town of Ramallah, in this Aug. 10, 2004 file photo. He died Thursday Nov. 11, 2004 at age 75. [AP]

  The French military hospital where he had been treated since Oct. 29 said he died at 3:30 a.m. The Palestinian leader spent his final days there in a coma. Doctors would not disclose what ailment killed Arafat

  US President Bush issued a statement of condolence to the Palestinian people.

  "The death of Yasser Arafat is a significant moment in Palestinian history. We express our condolences to the Palestinian people. For the Palestinian people, we hope that the future will bring peace and the fulfillment of their aspirations for an independent, democratic Palestine that is at peace with its neighbors," the president‘s statement said.

  "During the period of transition that is ahead, we urge all in the region and throughout the world to join in helping make progress toward these goals and toward the ultimate goal of peace," Bush said.

  In the first comment from an Israeli official, Justice Minister Yosef Lapid blamed Arafat for global terrorism and the failure to achieve Middle East peace, but expressed hope of improved relations under new leadership.
  This is an undated photograph of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, made available by the Palestinian Authority in Gaza City of the Gaza Strip. Arafat died Thursday, Nov. 11, 2004, at age 75, three Palestinian officials said. [AP]

  "I hated him for the deaths of Israelis. ... I hated him for not allowing the peace process ... to move forward," Lapid told Israel Radio.

  Palestinian flags at Arafat‘s battered Ramallah compound were lowered to half staff. Television broadcast excerpts from the Quran with a picture of Arafat in the background.

  In the Gaza Strip, mosques blared Quranic verses and children burned tires on the main streets, covering the skies in black smoke. People pasted posters of Arafat on building walls.

  "He closed his eyes and his big heart stopped. He left for God but he is still among this great people," said senior Arafat aide Tayeb Abdel Rahim, who broke into tears as he announced Arafat‘s death.

  In a statement, U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan sad he was saddened by Arafat‘s passing:

  "President Arafat was one of those few leaders who could be instantly recognized by people in any walk of life all around the world. For nearly four decades, he expressed and symbolized in his person the national aspirations of the Palestinian people."

  The Palestinian parliament speaker will be sworn in as Palestinian Authority president in the coming hours.

  Palestinian officials have said they want to ensure a smooth transition. Under Palestinian law, Parliament Speaker Rauhi Fattouh, a virtual unknown, is to become caretaker president until elections are held in 60 days.

  Arafat‘s last days were as murky and dramatic as his life. Flown to France on Oct. 29 after nearly three years of being penned in his West Bank headquarters by Israeli tanks, he initially improved but then sharply deteriorated as rumors swirled about his illness.

  Top Palestinian officials flew in to check on their leader while Arafat‘s 41-year-old wife, Suha, publicly accused them of trying to usurp his powers. Ordinary Palestinians prayed for his well being, but expressed deep frustration over his failure to improve their lives.