Today marks 18 years since the first President of Palestine and chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) Yasser Arafat passed away after his home was besieged by Israeli occupation military.
Arafat came to symbolise not only the Palestinian struggle for independence but also became an international icon as a freedom fighter against oppression across the world mainly in Africa where he actively supported liberation fighters such as Zanu, ZAPU, and ANC among others.
The Palestinian struggle was justly adopted as an African struggle for independence. Whenever he visited Zimbabwe, Arafat was celebrated as an African leader. He visited Zimbabwe several times meeting the late President Robert Mugabe and current leader, President Emmerson Mnangagwa among other leaders.
Through his leadership and comradeship, Arafat facilitated official diplomatic relations with Zimbabwe after its independence, ultimately leading to the opening of the embassy in Harare in 1983.
Despite having passed away in 2004, the people of Palestine continue to honour the legacy of Arafat through resistance and fighting Israeli occupation and apartheid until the state of Palestine is fully liberated with East Jerusalem as its capital.
Yasser Arafat has gone 18 years ago in body, but he left behind a legacy of struggle and a national strategy that had been established for an approach followed by the founding leaders, headed by President Mahmoud Abbas.