Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has paid tribute to former South African President Nelson Mandela who passed away on Thursday. "He was," said Mr Abbas, "the bravest and most important man who stood with the Palestinian people and supported their cause." The world mourns a leader, he added.
"President Mandela was a leader not only to South Africa but also to the world and to the Palestinian people," continued Abbas. "Palestine and Mandela have shared historic relations which shall remain entrenched forever between the Palestinian and South African people." As a leader and a fighter for the freedom of his people, and a symbol of liberation from colonialism and occupation, the Palestinians will not forget his historic statement that the South African revolution will not be completed until the Palestinian people gain their freedom, insisted the PA leader.
Born in 1918, Mandela had been suffering from ill-health since 2011. The Nobel Peace Laureate spent 27 years in prison on charges of subversion and planning a coup against the apartheid white minority government. After his release in 1990 he was elected as South Africa's first black president in 1994. He will be remembered as a symbol of courage, wisdom and integrity of a kind that today's leaders and politicians would do well to emulate.