Top Palestinian official Erekat dies with COVID

Saeb Erekat -- one of the most experienced and high-profile advocates for the Palestinian cause -- died on Tuesday (November 10) after contracting COVID-19.

65-year-old Erekat was a top negotiator and secretary-general of the Palestine Liberation Organization.

He was also a spokesman for Palestinian leaders such as Yasser Arafat and current president Mahmoud Abbas.

Abbas declared three days of mourning, calling his death a quote, "big loss for Palestine and our people."

He died following multiple organ failure after spending three weeks at Jerusalem's Hadassah Medical Center, according to a spokeswoman for the Israeli hospital.

He was particularly vulnerable to the respiratory disease having undergone a lung transplant in the United States three years earlier.

Erekat was well-known in diplomatic circles across the world and regularly featured in international media.

In recent years he was the principal face of a war of words with President Donald Trump's administration over a Middle East plan that envisaged leaving Israel in control of

Jewish settlements and large parts of the occupied West Bank.

After peace talks collapsed in 2014 he remained a firm backer of the negotiated creation of a future Palestinian state co-existing alongside Israel.

Even if, in his own words, it took 50 years.

His funeral is expected to be held on Wednesday in the West Bank city of Jericho where he spent much of his early years.