Muhammad al-Shafa’i, general manager of the Dynamometer company in the West Bank, has closed the deal on his most interesting buy yet - Yasser Arafat’s old Mercedes, according to numerous Palestinian sources.
After spending 10 years out of service in a garage in Ramallah, the car resurfaced again in an auction held by the Palestinian Authority. Al-Shafa’i, whose Nablus-based company inspects local vehicles, scooped it up for a “high price”.
The 1998 Mercedes S600 wasn’t exactly the former head of the PLO’s personal vehicle, but it was frequently used by Arafat’s driver to take him around the West Bank. It was also used frequently in processions, along with other cars.
But after Arafat’s death, it was stowed away in a state of disrepair, with a limited budget preventing the Palestinian Authority from getting it back on the road.
Al-Shafa’i says he’s commiitted to getting the car back into the shape it deserves, saying in a widely-shared facebook post that he’s proud of his new purchase and will take care of it even better than if it were in a museum.
Yasser Arafat remains a divisive figure on the international stage, but he is widely loved by Palestinians. His death in 2004 led to an outpouring of grief, but also accusations of poisoning and assassination.