Ten years on, Palestinians in Jordan remember Arafat

Published November 13th, 2014 - 21:02 GMT

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On November 11, 2004, Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat died with a track record of failures and triumphs still palpable to Palestinians in the diaspora.  

This week, a decade after his death, Al Bawaba went out in Amman to see what Arafat represents for Palestinians today, both young and old. 

 

 

 

Photos by Alisa Reznick and Zab Mustefa  Continue reading below »

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Yasser Arafat was the kindest and simplest person you could meet. He was the superhero of Palestine. I was born in 1974 and Arafat opened my eyes. He was my president. I remember when he died, it was a disaster for all of Palestine and the people were in the streets crying.  — Dr. Ashraf A. Ijneid, 40, businessman from  Ramallah
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Image 1 of 11:  1 / 11Yasser Arafat was the kindest and simplest person you could meet. He was the superhero of Palestine. I was born in 1974 and Arafat opened my eyes. He was my president. I remember when he died, it was a disaster for all of Palestine and the people were in the streets crying. — Dr. Ashraf A. Ijneid, 40, businessman from Ramallah

Enlarge
Things changed for worse not better. The military came and surrounded Yasser Arafat but he was with the cause and the people unlike like Mahmoud Abbas. He doesn’t know the situation in Palestine. — Fadaw Attar, 43, homemaker from Ramallah
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Image 2 of 11:  2 / 11Things changed for worse not better. The military came and surrounded Yasser Arafat but he was with the cause and the people unlike like Mahmoud Abbas. He doesn’t know the situation in Palestine. — Fadaw Attar, 43, homemaker from Ramallah

Enlarge
He was the only man I think that could gather the Palestinians for their own issue. Now we have no one. Maybe some people didn’t like his dealings, but he was the only one who could unite us. — Yousef, 40, nut shop owner from Ramle
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Image 3 of 11:  3 / 11He was the only man I think that could gather the Palestinians for their own issue. Now we have no one. Maybe some people didn’t like his dealings, but he was the only one who could unite us. — Yousef, 40, nut shop owner from Ramle

Enlarge
I heard Yasser Arafat was very humble and he was one of the people, but after he died I realized he was a traitor. You can’t deny the things he did for Palestine, but I think he was selfish. He was trying to find a solution for the cause just to keep his position. — Waleed Jalal, 24, business student from Ramle
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Image 4 of 11:  4 / 11I heard Yasser Arafat was very humble and he was one of the people, but after he died I realized he was a traitor. You can’t deny the things he did for Palestine, but I think he was selfish. He was trying to find a solution for the cause just to keep his position. — Waleed Jalal, 24, business student from Ramle

Enlarge
The thing that made Yasser Arafat famous was the way he died because he didn’t do anything when he was living. — Safa, Nazall, 18, student from Damascus
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Image 5 of 11:  5 / 11The thing that made Yasser Arafat famous was the way he died because he didn’t do anything when he was living. — Safa, Nazall, 18, student from Damascus

Enlarge
Part of getting unity is accepting that at one time there was a leader who made mistakes and now someone should ratify this. I’m talking about Oslo, West Bank settlements, 1948 Palestinians who are neglected by the Palestinian Authority, these were mistakes that Arafat didn’t take into consideration. — Haneen, coffee shop owner from Nablus
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Image 6 of 11:  6 / 11Part of getting unity is accepting that at one time there was a leader who made mistakes and now someone should ratify this. I’m talking about Oslo, West Bank settlements, 1948 Palestinians who are neglected by the Palestinian Authority, these were mistakes that Arafat didn’t take into consideration. — Haneen, coffee shop owner from Nablus

Enlarge
Hundreds of Palestinians gathered in Amman on November 13 to commemorate Arafat's legacy with speeches and traditional music during a memorial event at the Royal Cultural Palace.
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Image 7 of 11:  7 / 11Hundreds of Palestinians gathered in Amman on November 13 to commemorate Arafat's legacy with speeches and traditional music during a memorial event at the Royal Cultural Palace.

Enlarge
Arafat loved the people, he was truly Palestinian, and he was everything to us. — Hanan Abu Suleman, 40, homemaker from Ashkelon
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Image 8 of 11:  8 / 11Arafat loved the people, he was truly Palestinian, and he was everything to us. — Hanan Abu Suleman, 40, homemaker from Ashkelon

Enlarge
Palestinians from Ramallah, Gaza and Hebron pose for a photo during the memorial event in Amman on November 13.
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Image 9 of 11:  9 / 11Palestinians from Ramallah, Gaza and Hebron pose for a photo during the memorial event in Amman on November 13.

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Now he is gone, but he was a leader who went out on the street to be with the people, he was one of us.  — Naif Abu Qattam, 43, engineer, Hebron
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Image 10 of 11:  10 / 11Now he is gone, but he was a leader who went out on the street to be with the people, he was one of us. — Naif Abu Qattam, 43, engineer, Hebron

Enlarge
He was the person who dictated all of Palestine and Fatah. He also did a lot of good things for us like making education available. — Mohammed Hamad, 24, student, Hebron
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Image 11 of 11:  11 / 11He was the person who dictated all of Palestine and Fatah. He also did a lot of good things for us like making education available. — Mohammed Hamad, 24, student, Hebron

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1

Yasser Arafat was the kindest and simplest person you could meet. He was the superhero of Palestine. I was born in 1974 and Arafat opened my eyes. He was my president. I remember when he died, it was a disaster for all of Palestine and the people were in the streets crying.  — Dr. Ashraf A. Ijneid, 40, businessman from  Ramallah

Image 1 of 11Yasser Arafat was the kindest and simplest person you could meet. He was the superhero of Palestine. I was born in 1974 and Arafat opened my eyes. He was my president. I remember when he died, it was a disaster for all of Palestine and the people were in the streets crying. — Dr. Ashraf A. Ijneid, 40, businessman from Ramallah

2

Things changed for worse not better. The military came and surrounded Yasser Arafat but he was with the cause and the people unlike like Mahmoud Abbas. He doesn’t know the situation in Palestine. — Fadaw Attar, 43, homemaker from Ramallah

Image 2 of 11Things changed for worse not better. The military came and surrounded Yasser Arafat but he was with the cause and the people unlike like Mahmoud Abbas. He doesn’t know the situation in Palestine. — Fadaw Attar, 43, homemaker from Ramallah

3

He was the only man I think that could gather the Palestinians for their own issue. Now we have no one. Maybe some people didn’t like his dealings, but he was the only one who could unite us. — Yousef, 40, nut shop owner from Ramle

Image 3 of 11He was the only man I think that could gather the Palestinians for their own issue. Now we have no one. Maybe some people didn’t like his dealings, but he was the only one who could unite us. — Yousef, 40, nut shop owner from Ramle

4

I heard Yasser Arafat was very humble and he was one of the people, but after he died I realized he was a traitor. You can’t deny the things he did for Palestine, but I think he was selfish. He was trying to find a solution for the cause just to keep his position. — Waleed Jalal, 24, business student from Ramle

Image 4 of 11I heard Yasser Arafat was very humble and he was one of the people, but after he died I realized he was a traitor. You can’t deny the things he did for Palestine, but I think he was selfish. He was trying to find a solution for the cause just to keep his position. — Waleed Jalal, 24, business student from Ramle

5

The thing that made Yasser Arafat famous was the way he died because he didn’t do anything when he was living. — Safa, Nazall, 18, student from Damascus

Image 5 of 11The thing that made Yasser Arafat famous was the way he died because he didn’t do anything when he was living. — Safa, Nazall, 18, student from Damascus

6

Part of getting unity is accepting that at one time there was a leader who made mistakes and now someone should ratify this. I’m talking about Oslo, West Bank settlements, 1948 Palestinians who are neglected by the Palestinian Authority, these were mistakes that Arafat didn’t take into consideration. — Haneen, coffee shop owner from Nablus

Image 6 of 11Part of getting unity is accepting that at one time there was a leader who made mistakes and now someone should ratify this. I’m talking about Oslo, West Bank settlements, 1948 Palestinians who are neglected by the Palestinian Authority, these were mistakes that Arafat didn’t take into consideration. — Haneen, coffee shop owner from Nablus

7

Hundreds of Palestinians gathered in Amman on November 13 to commemorate Arafat's legacy with speeches and traditional music during a memorial event at the Royal Cultural Palace.

Image 7 of 11Hundreds of Palestinians gathered in Amman on November 13 to commemorate Arafat's legacy with speeches and traditional music during a memorial event at the Royal Cultural Palace.

8

Arafat loved the people, he was truly Palestinian, and he was everything to us. — Hanan Abu Suleman, 40, homemaker from Ashkelon

Image 8 of 11Arafat loved the people, he was truly Palestinian, and he was everything to us. — Hanan Abu Suleman, 40, homemaker from Ashkelon

9

Palestinians from Ramallah, Gaza and Hebron pose for a photo during the memorial event in Amman on November 13.

Image 9 of 11Palestinians from Ramallah, Gaza and Hebron pose for a photo during the memorial event in Amman on November 13.

10

Now he is gone, but he was a leader who went out on the street to be with the people, he was one of us.  — Naif Abu Qattam, 43, engineer, Hebron

Image 10 of 11Now he is gone, but he was a leader who went out on the street to be with the people, he was one of us. — Naif Abu Qattam, 43, engineer, Hebron

11

He was the person who dictated all of Palestine and Fatah. He also did a lot of good things for us like making education available. — Mohammed Hamad, 24, student, Hebron

Image 11 of 11He was the person who dictated all of Palestine and Fatah. He also did a lot of good things for us like making education available. — Mohammed Hamad, 24, student, Hebron

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