Ma’an news agency reports: Palestinian negotiators on Thursday remembered US ambassador Christopher Stevens as fair-minded and described his death in Libya as a major loss for American foreign policy.
Stevens, who was killed with three colleagues late Tuesday in an attack on US institutions in Benghazi, served a decade earlier as a political officer at the US consulate in Jerusalem.
“It’s just tragic,” said Hanan Ashrawi, a PLO leader and veteran negotiator with Israel. “It’s very sad. I thought he was a person who was not just intelligent but also caring.”
As a mediator, the Arabic-speaking envoy “understood the Palestinian situation well. He was very understanding and he listened; he didn’t repeat talking points,” Ashrawi said in an interview.
“He could have made a big difference in peoples’ lives and, really, to America’s standing and credibility. His loss is a loss not only to US foreign policy but also to its standing with other states.”
Stevens and three other Americans died after gunmen attacked the US consulate and a safe house refuge in the eastern city of Benghazi on Tuesday night. The attackers were part of a mob blaming America for a film they said insulted the prophet Mohammad.
Demonstrators later attacked the US embassies in Yemen and Egypt in protests against the film, and American warships were moved closer to Libya.
Senior PLO negotiator Saeb Erekat blasted Stevens’ murder as an “ugly act of terror.”
“He was a really close friend of the family, and I am really shocked,” Erekat told Ma’an. “He was murdered in a very ugly act of terror, and it’s so despicable.”
Erekat said he had personally communicated to US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton the Palestinian people’s condolences.
“Such a good man, such a great loss. His heart was in the peace process, and I’m sure his heart was also in the building of Libya,” Erekat said.