A museum built on the grounds of the presidential headquarters in Ramallah, dedicated to the legacy of Yasser Arafat, has opened to the public, a day short of the 12-year anniversary of the Palestinian leader’s death.
The museum, according to Nasser al-Kidwa, chairman of the board of the Yasser Arafat Foundation, intends to present the most important events in Palestinian history from the beginning of the 20th century until the death of Arafat in 2004.
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Speaking on Thursday in Ramallah, in the occupied West Bank, at a rally commemorating Arafat, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said: “2017 is going to be the year to end the occupation, and even though Arafat is gone in body, he still lives among us in spirit.”
Arafat died on November 11, 2004, at a French military hospital after suffering a sudden illness following three years of Israeli military siege around his Ramallah headquarters.
Construction on the $7m project began in 2010. Kidwa said visitors will be able to walk from the museum to Arafat’s former office and bedroom by bridge.
On display are a selection of personal belongings, including his pistol and his keffiyeh kerchief.
The team of curators had a hard time collecting all of Arafat’s belongings, Kidwa said.
He said while the belongings in Ramallah were easy to find, most of Arafat’s items in the Gaza Strip were lost after the Palestinian group Hamas took over the territory in 2007.
Kidwa said Arafat’s Nobel Peace Prize medal, which he won after signing the interim agreement with Israel in 1993, was found in a market in Gaza.