Avnery, center, and other peace activists march toward Arafat’s headquarters in the occupied West Bank city of Ramallah on April 22, 2002. AFP / MIKE NELSON
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Uri Avnery, a left-wing peace activist who in 1982 became the first prominent Israeli to meet in public with Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, died Monday in a Tel Aviv hospital.Avnery crossed into West Beirut from the Israeli-held east.It was broadcast the same night on Israeli television and Avnery was questioned by police but ultimately faced no charges.In 2003, during the Palestinian uprising, Avnery traveled with other Israeli activists to Arafat's headquarters in the occupied West Bank, to act as a human shield against what they said were Israeli plans to assassinate Arafat after a Palestinian suicide bombing.Avnery wrote that working to prevent such an act was "the most patriotic thing" to do at that time since killing Arafat would have been a disaster for Israel.
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