Italian city of Palermo names square after Yasser Arafat

In 2014, the mayor of Palermo Leoluca Orlando also awarded the city's honorary citizenship to Marwan Barghouti, who is serving five life-sentences in Israel for terrorism.

Yasser Arafat in 1968 at the then PLO head quarters. (photo credit: REUTERS)
Yasser Arafat in 1968 at the then PLO head quarters.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
The Italian city of Palermo named a portion of its waterfront promenade after Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat on Tuesday.
The street plaque unveiled in the ceremony reads: "Yasser Arafat (1929-2004) – Nobel Prize for Peace 1994."
Arafat led the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) for 35 years and became the first president of the Palestinian Authority in 1996.
Before officially renouncing terrorism in 1988 and again in 1993, Arafat and the PLO were responsible for countless attacks against Israeli and Jewish targets all over the world.
He and Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin shared the Nobel Prize for Peace in 1994 after signing the Oslo Accords. According to many, Arafat did not do enough to prevent fatal attacks and violence even after that.

The initiative was promoted by the Municipality of Palermo, the NGO Palermo Solidarity Network "With Palestine in the Heart" and the NGO CISS-South Sud International Cooperation, as reported by the Italian daily Corriere della Sera.
"Palermo in 1996 named a city street for Nobel Prize winner Yitzhak Rabin, killed in 1995, and today a waterfront square is dedicated to Yasser Arafat, who shared the Nobel Prize with Rabin," the mayor of Palermo Leoluca Orlando said during the ceremony as quoted by the paper.
"The Oslo accords were the result of their courage, because the two of them understood that peace can overcome, and does overcome, old hostilities between peoples. It would be important, and I have hope that we can return to the spirit of Oslo, and to lasting peace among peoples," Orlando added.
Orlando is governing Palermo, which is the regional capital of Sicily, at the head of a center-left coalition.
In 2014, he awarded the honorary citizenship of Palermo to Marwan Barghouti, who is serving five life-sentences in Israel for terrorism.
Attending the ceremony was, among others, Arafat's nephew Nasser Al-Kidwa, who is the chairman of the Yasser Arafat Foundation and a prominent official of the Palestinian Authority's ruling party Fatah.