Following the sixth anniversary of Yasser Arafat’s death, on November 11, people donated thousand of his objects – photographs, pistols, trademark sunglasses and military-style suits– for display in a new museum under construction in Ramallah. These objects are meant to be symbols to remember the emblem of the Palestinian leader and the Palestinian history. On Tuesday, the Associated Press gave exclusive access to part of the collection, including the last kaffiyeh Arafat wore two weeks before his death, in 2004, a transistor radio and a Koran, that were donated by Fayez Mohammed, who hosted Mr. Arafat and her sister into his home, in the village of al-Auja, during the 1967 Middle East war.
According to what the museum officials told AP, collecting and cataloguing Mr. Arafat’s belongings has been a slow process, mostly because they are scattered in different Arab countries, such as Jordan, Lebanon, and Tunisia, that were bases of the PLO leader between 1970 and 1980. ‘Most have yet to be delivered to Ramallah,’ Nasser al-Qidwa, a nephew of Arafat overseeing the work told AP.
One of the most important pieces for the museum is still in Gaza; the 1994 Nobel Peace Prize that Arafat shared with Israeli politicians Yitzhak Rabin and Shimon Peres. However, Hamas officials did not allow to give this and other pieces.
The construction of the museum, which is going to cost $3.4 million, started two months ago and is expected to be opened within a year. The museum will have two sections: a new building and the headquarters where Mr. Arafat was detained in his final years, both of them connected by a wing.
The foundation officials said that the museum isn’t just about remembering Mr. Arafat, but also opening a window to see the historic evolution of Palestine and the Palestinians. ‘It’s about Yasser Arafat representing people, Yasser Arafat representing the nation, representing the struggle,’ they added..
Yasser Arafat died on 11 November 2004, at the age of 75, in a military hospital in France, due to an illness that was not clearly established and was surrounded by many rumors, none of which was confirmed.
In the Palestinian territories, rallies and speeches are expected to be organized on Thursday’s anniversary of his death.