Palestinians recall fond memories of late Cuban leader Castro

Palestinians recall fond memories of late Cuban leader Castro, Jerusalem PostAdam Rasgon, November 27, 2016

fidelcigarFile picture of Fidel Castro smoking a cigar during interview with the press in Havana. (photo credit:REUTERS)

Palestinian political and civil society leaders reacted to the death of former Cuban President Fidel Castro over the weekend, remembering him as a strong supporter of the Palestinian people and cause.

PA President Mahmoud Abbas hailed the former Cuban president in a letter to current Cuban President Raul Castro on Saturday. “On behalf of the Palestinian people, the State of Palestine, and myself, we offer you and the friendly Cuban people our deepest condolences on the passing of Fidel Castro, a man who spent his life sternly defending his country’s and people’s causes in addition to just and righteous causes around the world,” the PA president wrote.

Abbas ordered Palestinian flags to be set a half-staff on Sunday, according to Wafa, the official PA news site.

Raul Castro, the current Cuban President, announced on Cuban state television on Saturday that “the commander-in-chief of the Cuban revolution died.”

A Hamas leader in Gaza, who spoke to The Jerusalem Post on the condition of anonymity, said that Palestinians have fond memories of Fidel. “He was a symbol of the national struggle. His relationship to the Palestinian cause and Mr. Yasser Arafat was very strong,” the Hamas leader stated. “He was a brother in the resistance and stood in the face of colonialists, similar to Nelson Mandela.”

Cuba, under Fidel’s leadership, was the only Latin American country to vote against the 1947 UN Partition Plan, which recommended the division of the British Mandate of Palestine into independent Jewish and Arab-Palestinian states.

PLO Executive Committee Member Wasel Abu Yousif told the Post Castro’s death is a great loss. “He always supported the Palestinian Liberation Organization and the Palestinian people in their struggle to establish an independent Palestinian state and welcomed President Arafat to Cuba in the early 1970s,” the top PLO official remarked. “We thank Castro, who represented the revolutionary spirit, for everything that he did in terms of his political and moral support for Palestine.”

Fidel welcomed Arafat in Cuba in 1974 in his first of many visits to Cuba, where he was treated as a head of state. Fidel also supported the Palestinian leadership in a number of international forums including the UN and the Non-Aligned Movement.

Sam Bahour, a Palestinian businessman and political commentator, told the Post, that Castro distinguished himself as a “consistent” supporter of the Palestinian people. “There’s a sense of respect for his consistent support to the Palestinian struggle,” Bahour stated. “He stood with the Palestine when it was alone without trying to impose any agenda on it. His support was in line with what Palestinians defined as what they needed.”

Fidel resigned as Cuban President in 2008 and largely remained out of the public’s eye in the remaining years of his life.
Explore posts in the same categories: Abbas, Arafat, Castro, Cuba, Palestinian Authority, Palestinian heroes

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