Journalist, B'Tselem Founder Amnon Kapeliouk Dies Aged 78

Veteran left-wing activist was known for his close ties to Arafat, wrote Palestinian leader's biography.

The journalist and well-known leftist, Amnon Kapeliouk, died Friday at the age of 78. Kapeliouk, one of the oldest active journalists in Israel, had worked for Al HaMishmar and Yedioth Aharonoth, as well as Le Monde and Le Monde Diplomatique. He was also known for his close ties to Yasser Arafat and other leaders of the Palestine Liberation Organization.

Kapeliouk, a native of Jerusalem, began writing in the 1950s for the Israeli daily Al HaMishmar. He covered news from the Arab world as well as the activities of Palestinians in Israel and the territories. Kapeliouk's published works include a biography of Yasser Arafat, as well as a detailed investigation into the Sabra and Shatila massacre.

According to Uri Avnery, another bastion of Israel's left and veteran journalist, "Kapeliouk belonged to a group of reporters from the occupied territories who did an excellent job after the occupation. It was a glorious time for Israeli journalism, covering what was going on in the occupied territories in a way that was unparalleled. When they [this type of reporter] disappeared, the reporting on the occupied territories was transformed into government communiques."

During the first Lebanon War, Kapeliouk interviewed Arafat in Beirut. According to his spouse, Olga, Al HaMishmar refused to publish the interview, and as a result he moved to Yedioth Aharonoth.

Kapeliouk was also one of the founders of B'Tselem, the human rights watchdog in the territories.