The Yasser Arafat Museum says it has removed artwork depicting the former Palestinian Authority leader that exaggerated his facial features, after accusations they are insulting to the late president.
The 35-piece exhibit at the museum in Ramallah, in the West Bank, faced immediate backlash after it was installed on Sunday.
Shehab News Agency published a picture of the caricatures showing a smiling Arafat in his trademark keffiyeh headdress with his nose and mouth oversized and slightly distorted.
رسومات كاريكاتير مُسيئة ومُخزية للرئيس الراحل ياسر عرفات فناً ومضموناً
والأدهى من ذلك أن هذه الرسومات في عقر دار ياسر عرفات والراعية للمعرض
الخزي والعار على إدارة المؤسسة وعلى اشتيه وعلى كل من تطاول على الإساءة للياسر pic.twitter.com/AreNOibxcm
— Mona Baker (@MonaBak79240189) January 24, 2022
Supporters of Arafat, who died in 2004, took to Twitter posting photographs with the caption: “This is the icon we know.”
Activists from Fatah, the Palestinian movement Arafat founded, has demanded an investigation into how the images came to be displayed.
In a statement, the museum insists the images are merely artistic impressions of a revered Palestinian leader.
“The displayed drawings, while some of them are somewhat controversial, represent the viewpoint of their makers regarding their support for the Palestinian cause and the late president Yasser Arafat,” the statement says.
A museum spokesperson confirms that pieces have been taken down.