A museum dedicated to PLO leader Yasser Arafat will open on Wednesday ahead of the
anniversary of his death.
Current Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas will formally open the Yasser Arafat Museum next to the gravesite of Arafat in Ramallah. The museum, which cost $7 million, is the first of its kind dedicated to the PLO leader, according to the Yasser Arafat Foundation.
The opening comes two days before Palestinians commemorate the 12th anniversary of his death in a hospital near Paris on November 11, 2004 from unknown causes.
On display over two floors are a range of Arafat’s possessions, including the famous sunglasses he wore when addressing the United Nations in 1974. The interactive museum also features videos and photographs of key moments in Arafat’s life, some from Arafat’s private collection.
The Nobel Peace Prize, which Arafat won in 1994 along with his Israeli negotiating partners Yitzhak Rabin and Shimon Peres for the Oslo Peace Accord of the previous year, is on display too.
The final exhibit in the museum is the room where Arafat holed up after Israeli tanks surrounded his headquarters during the second Palestinian intifada. Israel held Arafat personally responsible for the intifida which started after negotiations between the Israeli government and Arafat stalled in the year 2000.
“People will get the chance to see Yasser Arafat’s legacy and history as a person and a political leader,” museum director Mohammad Halayqa told AFP, saying the project had been years in the making.
Arafat was the terrorist leader of the PLO, an organization devoted to the destruction of Israel. Despite signing the Oslo peace agreement in 1993 with Israel, Arafat never fully renounced terror as a means of achieving his goals, nor did he modify the PLO covenant calling for the destruction of Israel.
More than a decade after his death, Arafat remains a towering figure in Palestinian culture, politics and society. Palestinian politicians from across the political spectrum seek to present
themselves as heirs to Arafat’s legacy. Palestinians accuse Israel of poisoning Arafat, a claim the Israeli government has flatly rejected.