Yasser Arafat

Yasser Arafat

Overview
Mohammed Yasser Abdel Rahman Abdel Raouf Arafat al-Qudwa al-Husseini (‎; 24 August 192911 November 2004), popularly known as Yasser Arafat or by his kunya
Kunya (Arabic)
A kunya is a teknonym, the name of an adult derived from their child, especially their eldest son, in Arabic names.A kunya is expressed by the use of abū or umm in a genitive construction, i.e "father of" or "mother of" as a honorific in place of or alongside given names in the Arab world and the...

 Abu Ammar , was a Palestinian
Palestinian people
The Palestinian people, also referred to as Palestinians or Palestinian Arabs , are an Arabic-speaking people with origins in Palestine. Despite various wars and exoduses, roughly one third of the world's Palestinian population continues to reside in the area encompassing the West Bank, the Gaza...

 leader and a Laureate of the Nobel Prize
Nobel Prize
The Nobel Prizes are annual international awards bestowed by Scandinavian committees in recognition of cultural and scientific advances. The will of the Swedish chemist Alfred Nobel, the inventor of dynamite, established the prizes in 1895...

. He was Chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization
Palestine Liberation Organization
The Palestine Liberation Organization is a political and paramilitary organization which was created in 1964. It is recognized as the "sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people" by the United Nations and over 100 states with which it holds diplomatic relations, and has enjoyed...

 (PLO), President of the Palestinian National Authority
Palestinian National Authority
The Palestinian Authority is the administrative organization established to govern parts of the West Bank and Gaza Strip...

 (PNA), and leader of the Fatah
Fatah
Fataḥ is a major Palestinian political party and the largest faction of the Palestine Liberation Organization , a multi-party confederation. In Palestinian politics it is on the left-wing of the spectrum; it is mainly nationalist, although not predominantly socialist. Its official goals are found...

 political party, which he founded in 1959. Arafat spent much of his life fighting against Israel
Israel
The State of Israel is a parliamentary republic located in the Middle East, along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea...

 in the name of Palestinian self-determination
Self-determination
Self-determination is the principle in international law that nations have the right to freely choose their sovereignty and international political status with no external compulsion or external interference...

.
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Quotations

Those who call us terrorists wish to prevent world public opinion from discovering the truth about us and from seeing the justice on our faces. They seek to bide the terrorism and tyranny of their acts, and our own posture of self-defence.

ibid. (Number 47)

The Israelis are mistaken if they think we do not have an alternative to negotiations. By Allah I swear they are wrong. The Palestinian people are prepared to sacrifice until either the last boy and the last girl raise the Palestinian flag over the walls, the churches and the mosques of Jerusalem.

in a speech given on 1995-08-06, at a party to celebrate the birth of his daughter (reported in Haaretz on 1995-09-06 and in The Jerusalem Post on 1995-09-07)

This child, who is grasping the stone, facing the tank, is it not the greatest message to the world when that hero becomes a martyr? We are proud of them.

On Palestinian Authority Television (2002-01-15)
Encyclopedia
Mohammed Yasser Abdel Rahman Abdel Raouf Arafat al-Qudwa al-Husseini (‎; 24 August 192911 November 2004), popularly known as Yasser Arafat or by his kunya
Kunya (Arabic)
A kunya is a teknonym, the name of an adult derived from their child, especially their eldest son, in Arabic names.A kunya is expressed by the use of abū or umm in a genitive construction, i.e "father of" or "mother of" as a honorific in place of or alongside given names in the Arab world and the...

 Abu Ammar , was a Palestinian
Palestinian people
The Palestinian people, also referred to as Palestinians or Palestinian Arabs , are an Arabic-speaking people with origins in Palestine. Despite various wars and exoduses, roughly one third of the world's Palestinian population continues to reside in the area encompassing the West Bank, the Gaza...

 leader and a Laureate of the Nobel Prize
Nobel Prize
The Nobel Prizes are annual international awards bestowed by Scandinavian committees in recognition of cultural and scientific advances. The will of the Swedish chemist Alfred Nobel, the inventor of dynamite, established the prizes in 1895...

. He was Chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization
Palestine Liberation Organization
The Palestine Liberation Organization is a political and paramilitary organization which was created in 1964. It is recognized as the "sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people" by the United Nations and over 100 states with which it holds diplomatic relations, and has enjoyed...

 (PLO), President of the Palestinian National Authority
Palestinian National Authority
The Palestinian Authority is the administrative organization established to govern parts of the West Bank and Gaza Strip...

 (PNA), and leader of the Fatah
Fatah
Fataḥ is a major Palestinian political party and the largest faction of the Palestine Liberation Organization , a multi-party confederation. In Palestinian politics it is on the left-wing of the spectrum; it is mainly nationalist, although not predominantly socialist. Its official goals are found...

 political party, which he founded in 1959. Arafat spent much of his life fighting against Israel
Israel
The State of Israel is a parliamentary republic located in the Middle East, along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea...

 in the name of Palestinian self-determination
Self-determination
Self-determination is the principle in international law that nations have the right to freely choose their sovereignty and international political status with no external compulsion or external interference...

. Originally opposed to Israel's existence, he modified his position in 1988 when he accepted UN Security Council Resolution 242. Arafat and his movement operated from several Arab countries. In the late 1960s and early 1970s, Fatah faced off with Jordan
Jordan
Jordan , officially the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan , Al-Mamlaka al-Urduniyya al-Hashemiyya) is a kingdom on the East Bank of the River Jordan. The country borders Saudi Arabia to the east and south-east, Iraq to the north-east, Syria to the north and the West Bank and Israel to the west, sharing...

 in a brief civil war. Forced out of Jordan and into Lebanon
Lebanon
Lebanon , officially the Republic of LebanonRepublic of Lebanon is the most common term used by Lebanese government agencies. The term Lebanese Republic, a literal translation of the official Arabic and French names that is not used in today's world. Arabic is the most common language spoken among...

, Arafat and Fatah were major targets of Israel's 1978 and 1982 invasions of that country.

Arafat remains a highly controversial figure whose legacy has been widely disputed. He was "revered by many Arabs," and the majority of the Palestinian people, regardless of political ideology
Ideologies of parties
This is a list of political ideologies. Many political parties base their political action and election program on an ideology. In social studies, a political ideology is a certain ethical set of ideals, principles, doctrines, myths or symbols of a social movement, institution, class, and or large...

 or faction, viewed him as a freedom fighter who symbolized their national aspirations. However he was "reviled by many Israelis" who viewed him as a terrorist. Israel has also accused him of mass corruption, secretly amassing a personal wealth estimated to be USD $1.3 billion in 2002 despite the degrading economic conditions of the Palestinians.

Later in his career, Arafat engaged in a series of negotiations with the government of Israel to end the decades-long conflict between it and the PLO. These included the Madrid Conference of 1991
Madrid Conference of 1991
The Madrid Conference was hosted by the government of Spain and co-sponsored by the USA and the USSR. It convened on October 30, 1991 and lasted for three days. It was an early attempt by the international community to start a peace process through negotiations involving Israel and the Palestinians...

, the 1993 Oslo Accords
Oslo Accords
The Oslo Accords, officially called the Declaration of Principles on Interim Self-Government Arrangements or Declaration of Principles , was an attempt to resolve the ongoing Palestinian-Israeli conflict...

 and the 2000 Camp David Summit. His political rivals, including Islamists
Islamism
Islamism also , lit., "Political Islam" is set of ideologies holding that Islam is not only a religion but also a political system. Islamism is a controversial term, and definitions of it sometimes vary...

 and several PLO leftists
Rejectionist Front
The Rejectionist Front or Front of the Palestinian Forces Rejecting Solutions of Surrender was a political coalition formed in 1974 by radical Palestinian factions who rejected the Ten Point Program adopted by the Palestine Liberation Organization in its 12th Palestinian National Congress ...

, often denounced him for being corrupt
Political corruption
Political corruption is the use of legislated powers by government officials for illegitimate private gain. Misuse of government power for other purposes, such as repression of political opponents and general police brutality, is not considered political corruption. Neither are illegal acts by...

 or too submissive in his concessions to the Israeli government. In 1994, Arafat received the Nobel Peace Prize
Nobel Peace Prize
The Nobel Peace Prize is one of the five Nobel Prizes bequeathed by the Swedish industrialist and inventor Alfred Nobel.-Background:According to Nobel's will, the Peace Prize shall be awarded to the person who...

, together with Yitzhak Rabin
Yitzhak Rabin
' was an Israeli politician, statesman and general. He was the fifth Prime Minister of Israel, serving two terms in office, 1974–77 and 1992 until his assassination in 1995....

 and Shimon Peres
Shimon Peres
GCMG is the ninth President of the State of Israel. Peres served twice as the eighth Prime Minister of Israel and once as Interim Prime Minister, and has been a member of 12 cabinets in a political career spanning over 66 years...

, for the negotiations at Oslo. During this time, Hamas
Hamas
Hamas is the Palestinian Sunni Islamic or Islamist political party that governs the Gaza Strip. Hamas also has a military wing, the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades...

 and other militant organizations rose to power and shook the foundations of the authority that Fatah under Arafat had established in the Palestinian territories
Palestinian territories
The Palestinian territories comprise the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Since the Palestinian Declaration of Independence in 1988, the region is today recognized by three-quarters of the world's countries as the State of Palestine or simply Palestine, although this status is not recognized by the...

.

In late 2004, after effectively being confined within his Ramallah compound for over two years by the Israeli army, Arafat became ill, fell into a coma and died on 11 November 2004 at the age of 75. While the exact cause of his death remains unknown and no autopsy
Autopsy
An autopsy—also known as a post-mortem examination, necropsy , autopsia cadaverum, or obduction—is a highly specialized surgical procedure that consists of a thorough examination of a corpse to determine the cause and manner of death and to evaluate any disease or injury that may be present...

 was performed, his doctors spoke of idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura
Idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura
Idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura is the condition of having an abnormally low platelet count of no known cause . As most incidents of ITP appear to be related to the production of antibodies against platelets, immune thrombocytopenic purpura or immune thrombocytopenia are terms also used to...

 and cirrhosis
Cirrhosis
Cirrhosis is a consequence of chronic liver disease characterized by replacement of liver tissue by fibrosis, scar tissue and regenerative nodules , leading to loss of liver function...

.

Birth and childhood


Arafat was born in Cairo
Cairo
Cairo , is the capital of Egypt and the largest city in the Arab world and Africa, and the 16th largest metropolitan area in the world. Nicknamed "The City of a Thousand Minarets" for its preponderance of Islamic architecture, Cairo has long been a centre of the region's political and cultural life...

 to Palestinian parents. His father, Abdel Raouf al-Qudwa al-Husseini, was a Palestinian from Gaza
Gaza
Gaza , also referred to as Gaza City, is a Palestinian city in the Gaza Strip, with a population of about 450,000, making it the largest city in the Palestinian territories.Inhabited since at least the 15th century BC,...

, whose mother, Yasser's paternal grandmother, was Egypt
Egypt
Egypt , officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, Arabic: , is a country mainly in North Africa, with the Sinai Peninsula forming a land bridge in Southwest Asia. Egypt is thus a transcontinental country, and a major power in Africa, the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East and the Muslim world...

ian. Arafat's father worked as a textile merchant in Cairo's religiously mixed Sakakini District
El-Sakakini
El-Sakakini is a small district in Cairo, Egypt that neighbours the El Zaher and Abbaseya districts....

. Arafat was the second-youngest of seven children and was, along with his younger brother Fathi
Fathi Arafat
Fathi Arafat , born in Cairo, was a Palestinian physician and a founder and long-term chairman of the Palestine Red Crescent Society. He studied medicine at Cairo University from 1950 until 1957 and thereafter practiced as a pediatrician in Cairo, Kuwait and Jordan...

, the only offspring born in Cairo. His mother, Zahwa Abul Saud, was from a Jerusalem family. She died from a kidney ailment in 1933, when Arafat was four years of age.

Arafat's first visit to Jerusalem came when his father, unable to raise seven children alone, sent him and his brother Fathi to their mother's family in the Moroccan Quarter
Moroccan Quarter
The Moroccan Quarter or Mughrabi Quarter was an 800-year old neighborhood in the southeast corner of the Old City of Jerusalem, bordering on the western wall of the Temple Mount on the east , the Old City walls on the south , the Jewish Quarter to the west, and the Muslim Quarter to...

 of the Old City. They lived there with their uncle Salim Abul Saud for four years. In 1937, their father recalled them to be taken care of by their older sister, Inam. Arafat had a deteriorating relationship with his father; when he died in 1952, Arafat did not attend the funeral, nor did he visit his father's grave upon his return to Gaza. Arafat's sister Inam stated in an interview with Arafat's biographer, British historian Alan Hart, that Arafat was heavily beaten by his father for going to the Jewish quarter in Cairo and attending religious services. When she asked Arafat why he would not stop going, he responded by saying that he wanted to study the Jewish mentality.

Education and 1948 Arab–Israeli War


In 1944, Arafat enrolled in the University of King Fuad I
Cairo University
Cairo University is a public university located in Giza, Egypt.The university was founded on December 21, 1908, as the result of an effort to establish a national center for educational thought...

 and graduated in 1950. He later claimed to have sought a better understanding of Judaism
Judaism
Judaism ) is the "religion, philosophy, and way of life" of the Jewish people...

 and Zionism
Zionism
Zionism is a Jewish political movement that, in its broadest sense, has supported the self-determination of the Jewish people in a sovereign Jewish national homeland. Since the establishment of the State of Israel, the Zionist movement continues primarily to advocate on behalf of the Jewish state...

 by engaging in discussions with Jews and reading publications by Theodor Herzl
Theodor Herzl
Theodor Herzl , born Benjamin Ze’ev Herzl was an Ashkenazi Jew Austro-Hungarian journalist and the father of modern political Zionism and in effect the State of Israel.-Early life:...

 and other prominent Zionists. At the same time, he became an Arab nationalist
Arab nationalism
Arab nationalism is a nationalist ideology celebrating the glories of Arab civilization, the language and literature of the Arabs, calling for rejuvenation and political union in the Arab world...

 and began procuring weapons to be smuggled into the former British Mandate of Palestine, for use by irregulars
Irregular military
Irregular military refers to any non-standard military. Being defined by exclusion, there is significant variance in what comes under the term. It can refer to the type of military organization, or to the type of tactics used....

 in the Arab Higher Committee
Arab Higher Committee
The Arab Higher Committee was the central political organ of the Arab community of Mandate Palestine. It was established on 25 April 1936, on the initiative of Hajj Amin al-Husayni, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, and comprised the leaders of Palestinian Arab clans under the mufti's...

 and the Army of the Holy War
Army of the Holy War
The Army of the Holy War or Holy War Army was a force of Palestinian Arab irregulars in the 1947-48 Palestinian civil war led by Abd al-Qadir al-Husayni and Hasan Salama. The force has been described as Husayni's "personal" army...

 militias.

During the 1948 Arab–Israeli War
1948 Arab-Israeli War
The 1948 Arab–Israeli War, known to Israelis as the War of Independence or War of Liberation The war commenced after the termination of the British Mandate for Palestine and the creation of an independent Israel at midnight on 14 May 1948 when, following a period of civil war, Arab armies invaded...

, Arafat left the University and, along with other Arabs, sought to enter Palestine
Palestine
Palestine is a conventional name, among others, used to describe the geographic region between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River, and various adjoining lands....

 to join Arab forces fighting against Israeli troops
Haganah
Haganah was a Jewish paramilitary organization in what was then the British Mandate of Palestine from 1920 to 1948, which later became the core of the Israel Defense Forces.- Origins :...

. However, instead of joining the ranks of the Palestinian fedayeen
Palestinian fedayeen
Palestinian fedayeen refers to militants or guerrillas of a nationalist orientation from among the Palestinian people...

, Arafat fought alongside the Muslim Brotherhood
Muslim Brotherhood
The Society of the Muslim Brothers is the world's oldest and one of the largest Islamist parties, and is the largest political opposition organization in many Arab states. It was founded in 1928 in Egypt by the Islamic scholar and schoolteacher Hassan al-Banna and by the late 1940s had an...

, although he did not join the organization. He took part in combat in the Gaza area (which was the main battleground of Egyptian forces
Military of Egypt
The Egyptian Armed Forces are the largest in Africa, and the Arab World, and is the tenth largest in the world, consisting of the Egyptian Army, Egyptian Navy, Egyptian Air Force and Egyptian Air Defense Command....

 during the conflict). In early 1949, the war was winding down in Israel's favor, and Arafat returned to Cairo from a lack of logistical support.

After returning to the University, Arafat studied civil engineering
Civil engineering
Civil engineering is a professional engineering discipline that deals with the design, construction, and maintenance of the physical and naturally built environment, including works like roads, bridges, canals, dams, and buildings...

 and served as president of the General Union of Palestinian Students
General Union of Palestinian Students
The General Union of Palestinian Students is an organization run by Palestinian students since the early 1920s. It is generally considered one of the first Palestinian institutions started. It was officially launched in Cairo in 1959....

 (GUPS) from 1952 to 1956. During his first year as president of the union, the University was renamed Cairo University after a coup
Coup d'état
A coup d'état state, literally: strike/blow of state)—also known as a coup, putsch, and overthrow—is the sudden, extrajudicial deposition of a government, usually by a small group of the existing state establishment—typically the military—to replace the deposed government with another body; either...

 was carried out by the Free Officers Movement
Free Officers Movement
In Egypt, the clandestine revolutionary Free Officers Movement was composed of young junior army officers committed to unseating the Egyptian monarchy and its British advisors...

 overthrowing King Farouk I
Farouk of Egypt
Farouk I of Egypt , was the tenth ruler from the Muhammad Ali Dynasty and the penultimate King of Egypt and Sudan, succeeding his father, Fuad I, in 1936....

. By that time, Arafat had graduated with a bachelor's degree in civil engineering and was called to duty to fight with Egyptian forces during the Suez Crisis
Suez Crisis
The Suez Crisis, also referred to as the Tripartite Aggression, Suez War was an offensive war fought by France, the United Kingdom, and Israel against Egypt beginning on 29 October 1956. Less than a day after Israel invaded Egypt, Britain and France issued a joint ultimatum to Egypt and Israel,...

; however, he never actually fought on the battlefield. Later that year, at a conference in Prague
Prague
Prague is the capital and largest city of the Czech Republic. Situated in the north-west of the country on the Vltava river, the city is home to about 1.3 million people, while its metropolitan area is estimated to have a population of over 2.3 million...

, he donned a solid white keffiyeh
Keffiyeh
The keffiyeh/kufiya , also known as a ghutrah , ' , mashadah , shemagh or in Persian chafiye , Kurdish cemedanî and Turkish puşi, is a traditional Arab headdress fashioned from a square, usually cotton, scarf. It is typically worn by Arab men, as well as some Kurds...

–different from the checkered one he adopted later in Kuwait
Kuwait
The State of Kuwait is a sovereign Arab state situated in the north-east of the Arabian Peninsula in Western Asia. It is bordered by Saudi Arabia to the south at Khafji, and Iraq to the north at Basra. It lies on the north-western shore of the Persian Gulf. The name Kuwait is derived from the...

, which was to become his emblem.

Name


Arafat's full name was Mohammed Abdel Rahman Abdel Raouf Arafat al-Qudwa al-Husseini. Mohammed Abdel Rahman was his first name, Abdel Raouf was his father's name and Arafat his grandfather's. Al-Qudwa
Qudwa
Al-Qudwa, also spelled al-Qidwa, or al-Qudwah / al-Qidwah, is a famous family of notables in the city of Gaza in the Palestinian Territories of the Ashraf class . The family is also sometimes known as "Arafat" , or Arafat al-Qudwa....

 was the name of his tribe and al-Husseini was that of the clan to which the al-Qudwas belonged. al-Husseini was based in Gaza and should not be confused with the well-known, but unrelated, al-Husayni
Al-Husayni
Husayni is the name of a prominent Palestinian Arab clan formerly based in Jerusalem. Several members of the clan held important political positions such as Mayor and Grand Mufti of Jerusalem and founded and led many Palestinian Arab Islamist groups such as the Holy War Army, the Palestine Arab...

 clan of Jerusalem.

Since Arafat was raised in Cairo, the tradition of dropping the Mohammed or Ahmad portion of one's first name was common; notable Egyptians such as Anwar Sadat
Anwar Sadat
Muhammad Anwar al-Sadat was the third President of Egypt, serving from 15 October 1970 until his assassination by fundamentalist army officers on 6 October 1981...

 and Hosni Mubarak
Hosni Mubarak
Muhammad Hosni Sayyid Mubarak is a former Egyptian politician and military commander. He served as the fourth President of Egypt from 1981 to 2011....

 did so. However, Arafat also dropped Abdel Rahman and Abdel Raouf from his name as well. During the early 1950s, Arafat adopted the name Yasser, and in the early years of Arafat's guerrilla career, he assumed the nom de guerre of Abu Ammar. Both names are related to Ammar ibn Yasir
Ammar ibn Yasir
ʻAmmār ibn Yāsir al-Ansi was one of the companions of the Islamic prophet Muhammad. He was one of the Muhajirun, and referred to as by Shia Muslims as one of the Four Companions....

, one of Muhammad
Muhammad
Muhammad |ligature]] at U+FDF4 ;Arabic pronunciation varies regionally; the first vowel ranges from ~~; the second and the last vowel: ~~~. There are dialects which have no stress. In Egypt, it is pronounced not in religious contexts...

's early companion
Sahaba
In Islam, the ' were the companions, disciples, scribes and family of the Islamic prophet...

s. Although he dropped most of his inherited names, he retained Arafat due to its significance in Islam
Mount Arafat
Mount Arafat or Mount Arafah is a granite hill east of Mecca. It is also known as the Mount of Mercy . The hill is the place Muslims believe the Islamic prophet Muhammad stood and delivered the Farewell Sermon to the Muslims who had accompanied him for the Hajj towards the end of his life...

.

Founding of Fatah


Following the Suez Crisis
Suez Crisis
The Suez Crisis, also referred to as the Tripartite Aggression, Suez War was an offensive war fought by France, the United Kingdom, and Israel against Egypt beginning on 29 October 1956. Less than a day after Israel invaded Egypt, Britain and France issued a joint ultimatum to Egypt and Israel,...

 in 1956, Egyptian president Gamal Abdel Nasser
Gamal Abdel Nasser
Gamal Abdel Nasser Hussein was the second President of Egypt from 1956 until his death. A colonel in the Egyptian army, Nasser led the Egyptian Revolution of 1952 along with Muhammad Naguib, the first president, which overthrew the monarchy of Egypt and Sudan, and heralded a new period of...

, a leader of the Free Officers Movement, agreed to allow the United Nations Emergency Force
United Nations Emergency Force
The first United Nations Emergency Force was established by United Nations General Assembly to secure an end to the 1956 Suez Crisis with resolution 1001 on November 7, 1956. The force was developed in large measure as a result of efforts by UN Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjöld and a proposal...

 to establish itself in the Sinai Peninsula
Sinai Peninsula
The Sinai Peninsula or Sinai is a triangular peninsula in Egypt about in area. It is situated between the Mediterranean Sea to the north, and the Red Sea to the south, and is the only part of Egyptian territory located in Asia as opposed to Africa, effectively serving as a land bridge between two...

 and Gaza Strip
Gaza Strip
thumb|Gaza city skylineThe Gaza Strip lies on the Eastern coast of the Mediterranean Sea. The Strip borders Egypt on the southwest and Israel on the south, east and north. It is about long, and between 6 and 12 kilometres wide, with a total area of...

, causing the expulsion of all guerrilla or "fedayeen
Palestinian fedayeen
Palestinian fedayeen refers to militants or guerrillas of a nationalist orientation from among the Palestinian people...

" forces there—including Arafat. Arafat originally struggled to obtain a visa to Canada
Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

 and later Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia , commonly known in British English as Saudi Arabia and in Arabic as as-Sa‘ūdiyyah , is the largest state in Western Asia by land area, constituting the bulk of the Arabian Peninsula, and the second-largest in the Arab World...

, but was unsuccessful in both attempts. In 1957, he applied for a visa to Kuwait
Kuwait
The State of Kuwait is a sovereign Arab state situated in the north-east of the Arabian Peninsula in Western Asia. It is bordered by Saudi Arabia to the south at Khafji, and Iraq to the north at Basra. It lies on the north-western shore of the Persian Gulf. The name Kuwait is derived from the...

 (at the time a British
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 protectorate) and was approved, based on his work in civil engineering. There he encountered two Palestinian friends: Salah Khalaf
Salah Khalaf
Salah Mesbah Khalaf , also known as Abu Iyad was deputy chief and head of intelligence for the Palestine Liberation Organization, and the second most senior official of Fatah after Yasser Arafat....

 (Abu Iyad) and Khalil al-Wazir (Abu Jihad), both official members of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood. Arafat had met Abu Iyad while attending Cairo University and Abu Jihad in Gaza. Both became Arafat's right-hand men in future politics. Abu Iyad traveled with Arafat to Kuwait in late in 1960; Abu Jihad, working as also a teacher, had been living there since 1959. After settling in Kuwait, Abu Iyad helped Arafat obtain a temporary job as a schoolteacher.

As Arafat began to develop friendships with Palestinian refugees (some of whom he knew also from his Cairo days), he and the others gradually founded the group that became known as Fatah
Fatah
Fataḥ is a major Palestinian political party and the largest faction of the Palestine Liberation Organization , a multi-party confederation. In Palestinian politics it is on the left-wing of the spectrum; it is mainly nationalist, although not predominantly socialist. Its official goals are found...

. The exact date for the establishment of Fatah is unknown. However, in 1959, the group's existence was attested in the pages of a Palestinian nationalist magazine, Filastununa Nida al-Hayat (Our Palestine, The Call of Life), which was written and edited by Abu Jihad. FaTaH is a reverse acronym of the Arabic name Harakat al-Tahrir al-Watani al-Filastini which translates into "The Palestinian National Liberation Movement". Fatah is also a word that was used in early Islamic times to refer to 'conquest'.

Fatah dedicated itself to the liberation of Palestine by an armed struggle carried out by Palestinians themselves. This differed from other Palestinian political and guerrilla organizations, most of which firmly believed in a united Arab response. Arafat's organization never embraced the ideologies of major Arab national governments of the time, in contrast to other Palestinian factions, which often became satellites of nations such as Egypt, Iraq
Iraq
Iraq ; officially the Republic of Iraq is a country in Western Asia spanning most of the northwestern end of the Zagros mountain range, the eastern part of the Syrian Desert and the northern part of the Arabian Desert....

, Saudi Arabia, Syria
Syria
Syria , officially the Syrian Arab Republic , is a country in Western Asia, bordering Lebanon and the Mediterranean Sea to the West, Turkey to the north, Iraq to the east, Jordan to the south, and Israel to the southwest....

 and others.

In accordance with his ideology, Arafat generally refused to accept donations to his organization from major Arab governments, in order to act independently of them. However, he did not want to alienate them, and sought their undivided support by avoiding alliances with groups loyal to other ideologies. He worked hard in Kuwait, however, to establish the groundwork for Fatah's future financial support by enlisting contributions from the many wealthy Palestinians working there and other Gulf States
Arab states of the Persian Gulf
"Arab states of the Persian Gulf" or "Arab Persian Gulf states" or "Persian Gulf Arab states" or "Arabic Persian Gulf states" or "Arab States of The Gulf", are terms that refer to the six Arab states of Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Kuwait, Bahrain and Oman, bordering the Persian Gulf....

, such as Qatar
Qatar
Qatar , also known as the State of Qatar or locally Dawlat Qaṭar, is a sovereign Arab state, located in the Middle East, occupying the small Qatar Peninsula on the northeasterly coast of the much larger Arabian Peninsula. Its sole land border is with Saudi Arabia to the south, with the rest of its...

 (where he met Mahmoud Abbas
Mahmoud Abbas
Mahmoud Abbas , also known by the kunya Abu Mazen , has been the Chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organisation since 11 November 2004 and became President of the Palestinian National Authority on 15 January 2005 on the Fatah ticket.Elected to serve until 9 January 2009, he unilaterally...

 in 1961). These businessmen and oil workers contributed generously to the Fatah organization. Arafat continued this process in other Arab countries such as Libya
Libya
Libya is an African country in the Maghreb region of North Africa bordered by the Mediterranean Sea to the north, Egypt to the east, Sudan to the southeast, Chad and Niger to the south, and Algeria and Tunisia to the west....

 and Syria.

In 1962, Arafat and his closest companions migrated to Syria—a country sharing a border with Israel—which had recently seceded from its ephemeral union with Nasser's Egypt
United Arab Republic
The United Arab Republic , often abbreviated as the U.A.R., was a sovereign union between Egypt and Syria. The union began in 1958 and existed until 1961, when Syria seceded from the union. Egypt continued to be known officially as the "United Arab Republic" until 1971. The President was Gamal...

. Fatah had approximately three hundred members by this time, but none were fighters. In Syria, however, he managed to recruit members by offering them higher incomes to enable his armed attacks against Israel. Fatah's manpower was incremented further after Arafat decided to offer much higher salaries to members of the Palestine Liberation Army (PLA), the regular military force of the Palestine Liberation Organization
Palestine Liberation Organization
The Palestine Liberation Organization is a political and paramilitary organization which was created in 1964. It is recognized as the "sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people" by the United Nations and over 100 states with which it holds diplomatic relations, and has enjoyed...

 (PLO), which was created by the Arab League
Arab League
The Arab League , officially called the League of Arab States , is a regional organisation of Arab states in North and Northeast Africa, and Southwest Asia . It was formed in Cairo on 22 March 1945 with six members: Egypt, Iraq, Transjordan , Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, and Syria. Yemen joined as a...

 in the summer of 1964. On December 31 of that same year, a squad from al-Assifa
Al-Assifa
Al-`Asifah was the mainstream armed wing of the Palestinian political party and militant group Fatah.It was established in 1964 to protect the political wing of Fatah from reprisals. Its first attempted raid occurred on March 31, 1964, but was hindered because the fighters were detained by the...

, the armed branch of Fatah at the time, attempted to infiltrate Israel, but they were intercepted and detained by Lebanese
Lebanon
Lebanon , officially the Republic of LebanonRepublic of Lebanon is the most common term used by Lebanese government agencies. The term Lebanese Republic, a literal translation of the official Arabic and French names that is not used in today's world. Arabic is the most common language spoken among...

 security forces. Several other raids with Fatah's poorly trained and badly equipped fighters followed this incident. Some were successful, others failed in their missions. Arafat often led these incursions personally.

Arafat and his top aide Abu Jihad were detained in Syria when a pro-Syrian Palestinian leader, Yusuf Orabi was murdered. Hours before he was killed, Arafat was discussing with him ways to unite their factions and to request Orabi's support for Arafat against his rivals within the Fatah leadership. Shortly after Arafat left the meeting, Orabi was thrown out of the window of a three-story building and Syrian police loyal to Hafez al-Assad
Hafez al-Assad
Hafez ibn 'Ali ibn Sulayman al-Assad or more commonly Hafez al-Assad was the President of Syria for three decades. Assad's rule consolidated the power of the central government after decades of coups and counter-coups, such as Operation Wappen in 1957 conducted by the Eisenhower administration and...

 (Assad and Orabi were "close friends"), suspected Arafat was involved in the incident. Assad appointed a panel, which found Arafat and Abu Jihad guilty of the murder. Nonetheless, both were pardoned by Syrian President Salah Jadid
Salah Jadid
Salah Jadid was a Syrian general and political figure in the Baath Party, and the country's de facto leader from 1966 until 1970.- Rise to power :...

. The incident, however, brought Assad and Arafat on unpleasant terms, which would show later when Assad became President of Syria.

Leader of the Palestinians



On November 13, 1966, Israel launched a major raid against the Jordan
Jordan
Jordan , officially the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan , Al-Mamlaka al-Urduniyya al-Hashemiyya) is a kingdom on the East Bank of the River Jordan. The country borders Saudi Arabia to the east and south-east, Iraq to the north-east, Syria to the north and the West Bank and Israel to the west, sharing...

ian-administered West Bank
West Bank
The West Bank ) of the Jordan River is the landlocked geographical eastern part of the Palestinian territories located in Western Asia. To the west, north, and south, the West Bank shares borders with the state of Israel. To the east, across the Jordan River, lies the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan...

 town of as-Samu
As-Samu
As Samu or es-Samu is a town in the Hebron Governorate of the West Bank, 12 kilometers south of the city of Hebron. as-Samu is 60 kilometers south-west of Jerusalem. The area is a hilly, rocky area cut by some wadis. The Armistice Demarcation Line runs generally east to west approximately five...

, in response to a Fatah-implemented roadside bomb attack, which had killed three members of the Israeli security forces
Israeli Security Forces
Security forces in Israel include a variety of organizations, including law enforcement, military, paramilitary, governmental, and intelligence agencies.-Military:...

 near the southern Green Line
Green Line (Israel)
Green Line refers to the demarcation lines set out in the 1949 Armistice Agreements between Israel and its neighbours after the 1948 Arab-Israeli War...

 border. In the resulting skirmish, scores of Jordanian security forces were killed and 125 homes razed. This raid was one of several factors that led to the 1967 Six-Day War
Six-Day War
The Six-Day War , also known as the June War, 1967 Arab-Israeli War, or Third Arab-Israeli War, was fought between June 5 and 10, 1967, by Israel and the neighboring states of Egypt , Jordan, and Syria...

.

The Six-Day war began when Israel launched a preemptive air strike against Egypt's air force
Egyptian Air Force
The Egyptian Air Force, or EAF , is the aviation branch of the Egyptian Armed Forces. The EAF is headed by an Air Marshal . Currently, the commander of the Egyptian Air Force is Air Marshal Reda Mahmoud Hafez Mohamed...

 on June 5, 1967. The war ended in an Arab defeat and Israel's occupation of several Arab territories, including the West Bank and Gaza Strip
Gaza Strip
thumb|Gaza city skylineThe Gaza Strip lies on the Eastern coast of the Mediterranean Sea. The Strip borders Egypt on the southwest and Israel on the south, east and north. It is about long, and between 6 and 12 kilometres wide, with a total area of...

. Although Nasser and his Arab allies had been defeated, Arafat and Fatah could claim a victory, in that the majority of Palestinians, who had up to that time tended to align and sympathize with individual Arab governments, now began to agree that a 'Palestinian' solution of their dilemma was indispensable. Many primarily Palestinian political parties, including George Habash
George Habash
George Habash also known by his laqab "al-Hakim" was a Palestinian nationalist. Habash, a Palestinian Christian, founded the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, which pioneered the hijacking of airplanes as a Middle East militant tactic...

's Arab Nationalist Movement
Arab Nationalist Movement
The Arab Nationalist Movement , also known as the Movement of Arab Nationalists and the Harakiyyin, was a pan-Arab nationalist organization influential in much of the Arab world, most famously so within the Palestinian movement.-Origins & Ideology:The Arab Nationalist Movement had its origins in a...

, Hajj Amin al-Husseini
Mohammad Amin al-Husayni
Haj Mohammed Effendi Amin el-Husseini was a Palestinian Arab nationalist and Muslim leader in the British Mandate of Palestine. From as early as 1920, in order to secure the independence of Palestine as an Arab state he actively opposed Zionism, and was implicated as a leader of a violent riot...

's Arab Higher Committee
Arab Higher Committee
The Arab Higher Committee was the central political organ of the Arab community of Mandate Palestine. It was established on 25 April 1936, on the initiative of Hajj Amin al-Husayni, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, and comprised the leaders of Palestinian Arab clans under the mufti's...

, the Islamic Liberation Front and several Syrian-backed groups, virtually crumbled after their sponsor governments' defeat. Barely a week after the defeat, Arafat crossed the Jordan River in disguise and entered the West Bank, where he set up recruitment centers in Hebron
Hebron
Hebron , is located in the southern West Bank, south of Jerusalem. Nestled in the Judean Mountains, it lies 930 meters above sea level. It is the largest city in the West Bank and home to around 165,000 Palestinians, and over 500 Jewish settlers concentrated in and around the old quarter...

, the Jerusalem area and Nablus
Nablus
Nablus is a Palestinian city in the northern West Bank, approximately north of Jerusalem, with a population of 126,132. Located in a strategic position between Mount Ebal and Mount Gerizim, it is the capital of the Nablus Governorate and a Palestinian commercial and cultural center.Founded by the...

, and began attracting both fighters and financiers for his cause.

At the same time, Nasser contacted Arafat through Mohammed Heikal
Mohamed Hassanein Heikal
Mohamed Hassanein Heikal is a leading Egyptian journalist. For 17 years he was editor-in-chief of the Cairo newspaper Al-Ahram and has been a respected commentator on Arab affairs for more than 50 years.-Background and Books:...

 (one of Nasser's advisers) and Arafat was declared by Nasser to be the 'leader of the Palestinians'. In December, Ahmad Shukeiri
Ahmad Shukeiri
Ahmad al-Shukeiri also transcribed al-Shuqayri, Shuqeiri, Shukeiry, etc.), was the first Chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization, serving in 1964–67....

 resigned his post as PLO Chairman. Yahya Hammuda
Yahya Hammuda
Yahya Hammuda was the Chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization Executive Committee from 24 December 1967 to 2 February 1969 Following the resignation of Ahmad Shukeiri. He was succeeded by Yasser Arafat....

 took his place and invited Arafat to join the organization. Fatah was allocated 33 of 105 seats of the PLO Executive Committee
PLO Executive Committee
The Executive Committee is the highest executive body of the Palestine Liberation Organization .Its 18 members are elected by the PLO Parliament, the Palestinian National Council , often as representatives of the PLO member factions...

 while 57 seats were left for several other guerrilla factions.

Battle of Karameh



Throughout 1968, Fatah and other Palestinian armed groups were the target of a major Israeli army operation in the Jordanian village of Karameh
Karameh
al-Karameh is a town in Jordan, near the Allenby Bridge which spans the Jordan River. The river defines the border between Israel and Jordan....

, where the Fatah headquarters—as well as a mid-sized Palestinian refugee camp—were located. The town's name is the Arabic
Arabic language
Arabic is a name applied to the descendants of the Classical Arabic language of the 6th century AD, used most prominently in the Quran, the Islamic Holy Book...

 word for 'dignity', which elevated its symbol
Symbol
A symbol is something which represents an idea, a physical entity or a process but is distinct from it. The purpose of a symbol is to communicate meaning. For example, a red octagon may be a symbol for "STOP". On a map, a picture of a tent might represent a campsite. Numerals are symbols for...

ic power in the eyes of the Arab people
Arab
Arab people, also known as Arabs , are a panethnicity primarily living in the Arab world, which is located in Western Asia and North Africa. They are identified as such on one or more of genealogical, linguistic, or cultural grounds, with tribal affiliations, and intra-tribal relationships playing...

, especially after the Arab defeat in 1967. The operation was in response to attacks, including rockets strikes from Fatah and other Palestinian militias, within the occupied West Bank. According to Said Aburish
Said Aburish
Said K. Aburish is a Palestinian journalist, and writer.Born into a Palestinian family, Abu Rish attended school in Jerusalem and Beirut...

, the government of Jordan and a number of Fatah commandos informed Arafat that large-scale Israeli military preparations for an attack on the town were underway, prompting fedayeen groups, such as George Habash's newly formed group the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine
Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine
The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine is a Palestinian Marxist-Leninist organisation founded in 1967. It has consistently been the second-largest of the groups forming the Palestine Liberation Organization , the largest being Fatah...

 (PFLP) and Nayef Hawatmeh
Nayef Hawatmeh
Nayef Hawatmeh , Jordanian-Palestinian Christian politician. His name can be transliterated from the Arabic in many ways; variants include Naif Hawatma, Niaf Hawathme, etc....

's breakaway organization the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine
Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine
The Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine is a Palestinian Marxist-Leninist, secular political and military organization. It is also frequently referred to as the Democratic Front, or al-Jabha al-Dimuqratiyah...

 (DFLP), to withdraw their forces from the town. Though advised by a pro-Fatah Jordanian divisional commander to withdraw his men and headquarters to nearby hills, Arafat refused, stating, "We want to convince the world that there are those in the Arab world who will not withdraw or flee". Aburish writes that it was on Arafat's orders that Fatah remained, and that the Jordanian Army
Royal Jordanian Land Force
The Royal Jordanian Land Force is part of the Jordanian Armed Forces . It draws its origins from units first formed in the British Mandate of Transjordan in the 1920s. It has seen combat against Israel in 1948, 1956, 1967, and 1973...

 agreed to back them if heavy fighting ensued.
On the night of 21 March, the IDF attacked Karameh with heavy weaponry, armored vehicles and fighter jets. Fatah held its ground, surprising the Israeli military. As Israel's forces intensified their campaign, the Jordanian Army became involved, causing the Israelis to redeploy in order to avoid widening the conflict. By the end of the battle, nearly 150 Fatah gunmen had been killed and a similar number captured. At least eighty-four Jordanian soldiers and twenty-eight Israelis were also killed. Despite the higher Arab death toll and the fact that the battle was decided in Israel's favor, Fatah considered themselves victorious because of the Israeli army's withdrawal. Some have alleged that Arafat himself was on the battlefield, but the details of his involvement are unclear. However, his allies–as well as Israeli intelligence
Mossad
The Mossad , short for HaMossad leModi'in uleTafkidim Meyuchadim , is the national intelligence agency of Israel....

–confirm that he urged his men throughout the battle to hold their ground and continue fighting.

The battle was covered in detail by Time
Time (magazine)
Time is an American news magazine. A European edition is published from London. Time Europe covers the Middle East, Africa and, since 2003, Latin America. An Asian edition is based in Hong Kong...

, and Arafat's face appeared on the cover of the 13 December 1968 issue, bringing his image to the world for the first time. Amid the post-war environment, the profiles of Arafat and Fatah were raised by this important turning point, and he came to be regarded as a national hero who dared to confront Israel. With mass applause from the Arab World
Arab world
The Arab world refers to Arabic-speaking states, territories and populations in North Africa, Western Asia and elsewhere.The standard definition of the Arab world comprises the 22 states and territories of the Arab League stretching from the Atlantic Ocean in the west to the Arabian Sea in the...

, financial donations increased significantly, and Fatah's weaponry and equipment improved. The group's numbers swelled as many young Arabs, including thousands of non-Palestinians, joined the ranks of Fatah.

At the Palestinian National Council
Palestinian National Council
The Palestinian National Council is the legislative body of the Palestine Liberation Organization and elects its Executive Committee, which assumes leadership of the organization between its sessions. The Council normally meets every two years. Resolutions are passed by a simple majority with a...

 in Cairo
Cairo
Cairo , is the capital of Egypt and the largest city in the Arab world and Africa, and the 16th largest metropolitan area in the world. Nicknamed "The City of a Thousand Minarets" for its preponderance of Islamic architecture, Cairo has long been a centre of the region's political and cultural life...

 on February 3, 1969, Yahya Hammuda stepped down from his chairmanship of the PLO. Arafat was elected chairman on February 4. He became Commander-in-Chief
Commander-in-Chief
A commander-in-chief is the commander of a nation's military forces or significant element of those forces. In the latter case, the force element may be defined as those forces within a particular region or those forces which are associated by function. As a practical term it refers to the military...

 of the Palestinian Revolutionary Forces two years later, and in 1973, became the head of the PLO's political department.

Jordan



In the late 1960s, tensions between Palestinians and the Jordanian government increased greatly; heavily armed Arab resistance elements had created a virtual "state within a state" in Jordan, eventually controlling several strategic positions in that country. After their victory in the Battle of Karameh, Fatah and other Palestinian militias began taking control of civil life in Jordan. They set up roadblocks, publicly humiliated Jordanian police forces, molested women and levied illegal taxes—all of which Arafat either condoned or ignored. King Hussein
Hussein of Jordan
Hussein bin Talal was the third King of Jordan from the abdication of his father, King Talal, in 1952, until his death. Hussein's rule extended through the Cold War and four decades of Arab-Israeli conflict...

 considered this a growing threat to his kingdom's sovereignty and security, and attempted to disarm the militias. However, in order to avoid a military confrontation with opposition forces, Hussein dismissed several of his anti-PLO cabinet officials, including some of his own family members, and invited Arafat to become Prime Minister of Jordan. Arafat refused, citing his belief in the need for a Palestinian state with Palestinian leadership.
Despite Hussein's intervention, militant actions in Jordan continued. On 15 September 1970, the PFLP
Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine
The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine is a Palestinian Marxist-Leninist organisation founded in 1967. It has consistently been the second-largest of the groups forming the Palestine Liberation Organization , the largest being Fatah...

 hijacked five planes and landed three of them at Dawson's Field
Dawson's Field hijackings
In the Dawson's Field hijackings five jet aircraft bound for New York City were hijacked by members of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine...

, located 30 miles (48 km) east of Amman
Amman
Amman is the capital of Jordan. It is the country's political, cultural and commercial centre and one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world. The Greater Amman area has a population of 2,842,629 as of 2010. The population of Amman is expected to jump from 2.8 million to almost...

. After the passengers were moved to other locations, three of the planes were blown up. This tarnished Arafat's image in many western nations, including the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

, who held him responsible for controlling Palestinian factions that belonged to the PLO. Arafat, bowing to pressure from Arab governments, publicly condemned the hijackings and suspended the PFLP from any guerrilla actions for a few weeks. (He had taken the same action after the PFLP attacked Athens Airport.) The Jordanian government moved to regain control over its territory, and the next day, King Hussein declared martial law
Martial law
Martial law is the imposition of military rule by military authorities over designated regions on an emergency basis— only temporary—when the civilian government or civilian authorities fail to function effectively , when there are extensive riots and protests, or when the disobedience of the law...

. On the same day, Arafat became supreme commander of the PLA.

As the conflict raged, other Arab governments attempted to negotiate a peaceful resolution. As part of this effort, Gamal Abdel Nasser led the first ever emergency Arab League summit in Cairo
1970 Arab League summit
The 1970 Arab League summit was held on September 27 in Cairo, Egypt as an extraordinary Arab League Summit. The summit came in the aftermath of the bloody events of Black September in Jordan, and the clashes between the Palestinian Liberation Organization and King Hussein of Jordan...

 on 21 September. Arafat's speech drew sympathy from attending Arab leaders. Other heads of state took sides against Hussein, among them Muammar al-Gaddafi
Muammar al-Gaddafi
Muammar Muhammad Abu Minyar Gaddafi or "September 1942" 20 October 2011), commonly known as Muammar Gaddafi or Colonel Gaddafi, was the official ruler of the Libyan Arab Republic from 1969 to 1977 and then the "Brother Leader" of the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya from 1977 to 2011.He seized power in a...

, who mocked him and his schizophrenic father King Talal
Talal of Jordan
Talal I bin Abdullah 26 February 1909 – 7 July 1972) was the second King of Jordan from 20 July 1951 until forced to abdicate in favour of his son Hussein due to health reasons on 11 August 1952....

. The attempt to establish a peace agreement between the two sides failed. Nasser died of a massive heart attack hours after the summit.

By 25 September, the Jordanian army achieved dominance, and two days later Arafat and Hussein agreed to a ceasefire in Amman. The Jordanian army inflicted heavy casualties on the Palestinians—including civilians—who suffered approximately 3,500 fatalities. After repeated violations of the ceasefire from both the PLO and the Jordanian Army, Arafat called for King Hussein to be toppled. Responding to the threat, in June 1971, Hussein ordered his forces to oust all remaining Palestinian fighters in northern Jordan—which they accomplished. Arafat and a number of his forces, including two high-ranking commanders, Abu Iyad and Abu Jihad
Abu Jihad
Khalil Ibrahim al-Wazir , also known by his kunya "Abu Jihad" , was a Palestinian military leader and founder of the secular nationalist party Fatah...

, were forced into the northern corner of Jordan. They relocated near the town of Jerash
Jerash
Jerash, the Gerasa of Antiquity, is the capital and largest city of Jerash Governorate , which is situated in the north of Jordan, north of the capital Amman towards Syria...

, near the border with Syria. With the help of Munib Masri
Munib Masri
Munib al-Masri is a member of the Palestine Legislative Council and former Jordanian Cabinet Minister. During his term as cabinet minister he helped Yasser Arafat and his Fatah commanders escape Jordan during the Black September period....

, a pro-Palestinian Jordanian cabinet member, and Fahd al-Khomeimi, the Saudi ambassador to Jordan, Arafat managed to enter Syria with nearly two thousand of his fighters. However, due to the hostility of relations between Arafat and Syrian President Hafez al-Assad
Hafez al-Assad
Hafez ibn 'Ali ibn Sulayman al-Assad or more commonly Hafez al-Assad was the President of Syria for three decades. Assad's rule consolidated the power of the central government after decades of coups and counter-coups, such as Operation Wappen in 1957 conducted by the Eisenhower administration and...

 (who had previously ousted President Salah Jadid
Salah Jadid
Salah Jadid was a Syrian general and political figure in the Baath Party, and the country's de facto leader from 1966 until 1970.- Rise to power :...

), the Palestinian fighters crossed the border into Lebanon to join PLO forces in that country, where they set up their new headquarters.

Official recognition


Because of Lebanon's weak central government, the PLO was able to operate virtually as an independent state. During this time in the 1970s, numerous leftist
Left-wing politics
In politics, Left, left-wing and leftist generally refer to support for social change to create a more egalitarian society...

 PLO groups took up arms against Israel, carrying out attacks against civilians as well as military targets within Israel and outside of it.

Two major incidents occurred in 1972. The Fatah subgroup Black September
Black September (group)
The Black September Organization was a Palestinian paramilitary group, founded in 1970. It was responsible for the kidnapping and murder of eleven Israeli athletes and officials, and fatal shooting of a West German policeman, during the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich, their most publicized event...

 hijacked a Sabena flight on route to Vienna
Vienna
Vienna is the capital and largest city of the Republic of Austria and one of the nine states of Austria. Vienna is Austria's primary city, with a population of about 1.723 million , and is by far the largest city in Austria, as well as its cultural, economic, and political centre...

 and forced it to land at the Ben Gurion International Airport
Ben Gurion International Airport
Ben Gurion International Airport , also referred to by its Hebrew acronym Natbag , is the largest and busiest international airport in Israel, handling 12,160,339 passengers in 2010...

 in Lod
Lod
Lod is a city located on the Sharon Plain southeast of Tel Aviv in the Center District of Israel. At the end of 2010, it had a population of 70,000, roughly 75 percent Jewish and 25 percent Arab.The name is derived from the Biblical city of Lod...

, Israel. The PFLP and the Japanese Red Army
Japanese Red Army
The was a Communist terrorist group founded by Fusako Shigenobu early in 1971 in Lebanon. It sometimes called itself Arab-JRA after the Lod airport massacre...

 carried out a shooting rampage at the same airport
Lod Airport massacre
The Lod Airport massacre was a terrorist attack that occurred on May 30, 1972, in which three members of the Japanese Red Army, on behalf of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine , killed 26 people and injured 80 others at Tel Aviv's Lod airport...

, killing twenty-four civilians. Israel later claimed that the assassination of PFLP spokesman Ghassan Kanafani
Ghassan Kanafani
Ghassan Kanafani was a Palestinian writer and a leading member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. He was assassinated by car bomb in Beirut, allegedly by the Mossad.- Early years :Ghassan Fayiz Kanafani was born in 1936 in the then Acre , British Mandate of Palestine...

 was a response to the PFLP's involvement in masterminding the latter attack. Two days later, various PLO factions retaliated by bombing a bus station, killing eleven civilians.
At the Munich Olympic Games
1972 Summer Olympics
The 1972 Summer Olympics, officially known as the Games of the XX Olympiad, were an international multi-sport event held in Munich, West Germany, from August 26 to September 11, 1972....

, Black September kidnapped and killed eleven Israeli athletes. A number of sources, including Mohammed Oudeh
Abu Daoud
Mohammad Daoud Oudeh , commonly known by his nom de guerre Abu Daoud or Abu Dawud was a Palestinian militant known as the planner, architect and mastermind of the Munich massacre...

 (Abu Daoud), one of the masterminds of the Munich massacre
Munich massacre
The Munich massacre is an informal name for events that occurred during the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich, Bavaria in southern West Germany, when members of the Israeli Olympic team were taken hostage and eventually killed by the Palestinian group Black September. Members of Black September...

, and Benny Morris
Benny Morris
Benny Morris is professor of History in the Middle East Studies department of Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in the city of Be'er Sheva, Israel...

, a prominent Israeli historian, have stated that Black September was an armed branch of Fatah used for paramilitary operations. According to Abu Daoud's 1999 book, "Arafat was briefed on plans for the Munich hostage-taking." The killings were internationally condemned. In 1973–74, Arafat closed Black September down, ordering the PLO to withdraw from acts of violence outside Israel, the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

In 1974, the PNC approved the Ten Point Program (drawn up by Arafat and his advisers), and proposed a compromise with the Israelis. It called for a Palestinian national authority over every part of "liberated Palestinian territory", which refers to areas captured by Arab forces in the 1948 Arab-Israeli War (present-day West Bank, East Jerusalem
East Jerusalem
East Jerusalem or Eastern Jerusalem refer to the parts of Jerusalem captured and annexed by Jordan in the 1948 Arab-Israeli War and then captured and annexed by Israel in the 1967 Six-Day War...

 and Gaza Strip). This caused discontent among several of the PLO factions; the PFLP, DFLP and other parties formed a breakaway organization, the Rejectionist Front
Rejectionist Front
The Rejectionist Front or Front of the Palestinian Forces Rejecting Solutions of Surrender was a political coalition formed in 1974 by radical Palestinian factions who rejected the Ten Point Program adopted by the Palestine Liberation Organization in its 12th Palestinian National Congress ...

.

Israel and the US have alleged also that Arafat was involved in the 1973 Khartoum diplomatic assassinations, in which five diplomats and five others were killed. A 1973 United States Department of State
United States Department of State
The United States Department of State , is the United States federal executive department responsible for international relations of the United States, equivalent to the foreign ministries of other countries...

 document, declassified in 2006, concluded "The Khartoum operation was planned and carried out with the full knowledge and personal approval of Yasser Arafat." Arafat denied any involvement in the operation and insisted it was carried out independently by the Black September group. Israel claimed that Arafat was in ultimate control over these organizations and therefore had not abandoned terrorism.

In addition, some circles within the US State Department viewed Arafat as an able diplomat and negotiator who can get support from many Arab governments at once. An example of that we find in March 1973, when Arafat tried to arrange for a meeting between the President of Iraq and the Emir of Kuwait in order to resolve their disputes.

Also in 1974, the PLO was declared the "sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people" and admitted to full membership of the Arab League at the Rabat Summit. Arafat became the first representative of a non-governmental organization
Non-governmental organization
A non-governmental organization is a legally constituted organization created by natural or legal persons that operates independently from any government. The term originated from the United Nations , and is normally used to refer to organizations that do not form part of the government and are...

 to address a plenary session
Plenary session
Plenary session is a term often used in conferences to define the part of the conference when all members of all parties are to attend.These sessions may contain a broad range of content from keynotes to panel discussions and are not necessarily related to a specific style of delivery.The term has...

 of the UN General Assembly
United Nations General Assembly
For two articles dealing with membership in the General Assembly, see:* General Assembly members* General Assembly observersThe United Nations General Assembly is one of the five principal organs of the United Nations and the only one in which all member nations have equal representation...

. Arafat was also the first leader to address the UN while wearing a holster
Holster
A handgun holster is a device used to hold or restrict the undesired movement of a handgun, most commonly in a location where it can be easily withdrawn for immediate use.-Function:...

, although it did not contain a gun
Gun
A gun is a muzzle or breech-loaded projectile-firing weapon. There are various definitions depending on the nation and branch of service. A "gun" may be distinguished from other firearms in being a crew-served weapon such as a howitzer or mortar, as opposed to a small arm like a rifle or pistol,...

. In his United Nations
United Nations
The United Nations is an international organization whose stated aims are facilitating cooperation in international law, international security, economic development, social progress, human rights, and achievement of world peace...

 address, Arafat condemned Zionism, but said, "Today I have come bearing an olive branch and a freedom fighter's gun. Do not let the olive branch fall from my hand." His speech increased international sympathy for the Palestinian cause.

Following recognition, Arafat established relationships with a variety of world leaders, including Saddam Hussein
Saddam Hussein
Saddam Hussein Abd al-Majid al-Tikriti was the fifth President of Iraq, serving in this capacity from 16 July 1979 until 9 April 2003...

 and Idi Amin
Idi Amin
Idi Amin Dada was a military leader and President of Uganda from 1971 to 1979. Amin joined the British colonial regiment, the King's African Rifles in 1946. Eventually he held the rank of Major General in the post-colonial Ugandan Army and became its Commander before seizing power in the military...

. Arafat was Amin's best man at his wedding in Uganda
Uganda
Uganda , officially the Republic of Uganda, is a landlocked country in East Africa. Uganda is also known as the "Pearl of Africa". It is bordered on the east by Kenya, on the north by South Sudan, on the west by the Democratic Republic of the Congo, on the southwest by Rwanda, and on the south by...

 in 1975.

Fatah involvement in Lebanese Civil War



Although hesitant at first to take sides in the conflict, Arafat and Fatah played an important role in the Lebanese Civil War
Lebanese Civil War
The Lebanese Civil War was a multifaceted civil war in Lebanon. The war lasted from 1975 to 1990 and resulted in an estimated 150,000 to 230,000 civilian fatalities. Another one million people were wounded, and today approximately 350,000 people remain displaced. There was also a mass exodus of...

. Succumbing to pressure from PLO sub-groups such as the PFLP, DFLP and the Palestine Liberation Front
Palestine Liberation Front
The Palestine Liberation Front is a Palestinian militant group, which is designated as a terrorist organization by Canada, the European Union and the USA. It is presently led by Dr. Wasel Abu Yousef.-Origins:...

 (PLF), Arafat aligned the PLO with the Communist
Communism
Communism is a social, political and economic ideology that aims at the establishment of a classless, moneyless, revolutionary and stateless socialist society structured upon common ownership of the means of production...

 and Nasserist
Nasserism
Nasserism is an Arab nationalist political ideology based on the thinking of the former Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser. It was a major influence on pan-Arab politics in the 1950s and 1960s, and continues to have significant resonance throughout the Arab World to this day. It also...

 Lebanese National Movement
Lebanese National Movement
The Lebanese National Movement or Mouvement National Libanais in French, was a front of parties and organizations active during the early years of the Lebanese Civil War...

 (LNM). The LNM was led by Kamal Jumblatt
Kamal Jumblatt
Kamal Jumblatt ; was an important Lebanese politician. He was the main leader of the anti-government forces in the Lebanese Civil War until his assassination in 1977. He is the father of the present Lebanese Druze leader Walid Jumblatt.-Family background and education:Kamal Jumblatt was born in...

, who had a friendly relationship with Arafat and other PLO leaders. Although originally aligned with Fatah, Syrian President Hafez al-Assad
Hafez al-Assad
Hafez ibn 'Ali ibn Sulayman al-Assad or more commonly Hafez al-Assad was the President of Syria for three decades. Assad's rule consolidated the power of the central government after decades of coups and counter-coups, such as Operation Wappen in 1957 conducted by the Eisenhower administration and...

 feared a loss of influence in Lebanon and switched sides. He sent his army, along with the Syrian-backed Palestinian factions of as-Sa'iqa
As-Sa'iqa
As-Sa'iqa is a Palestinian Baathist political and military faction created and controlled by Syria...

 and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine – General Command (PFLP-GC) led by Ahmad Jibril to fight alongside the radical right-wing Christian forces against the PLO and the LNM. The primary components of the Christian front were the Maronite
Maronite Church
The Syriac Maronite Church of Antioch is an Eastern Catholic Church in full communion with the Holy See of Rome . It traces its heritage back to the community founded by Maron, a 4th-century Syriac monk venerated as a saint. The first Maronite Patriarch, John Maron, was elected in the late 7th...

 Phalangists
Kataeb Party
The Lebanese Phalanges , better known in English as the Phalange , is a traditional right-wing Lebanese political party. Although it is officially secular, it is mainly supported by Maronite Christians. The party played a major role in the Lebanese War...

 loyal to Bachir Gemayel
Bachir Gemayel
Bachir Gemayel was a Lebanese politician, militia commander, and president-elect...

 and the Tigers Militia
Tigers Militia (Lebanon)
The Tigers Militia , also known as NLP Tigers or Tigers of the Liberals and PNL "Lionceaux" in French, was the military wing of the National Liberal Party during the Lebanese Civil War.- Origins :The NLP militia was first raised in October 1968 by Camille Chamoun at his own home town...

—which was led by Dany Chamoun
Dany Chamoun
Dany Chamoun was a prominent Lebanese politician. A Maronite Christian and the younger son of former President Camille Chamoun, Dany Chamoun was also a politician in his own right, and was known for his opposition to the occupation of Lebanese territory by foreign forces, whether Syrian or...

, a son of former President Camille Chamoun
Camille Chamoun
Camille Nimr Chamoun was President of Lebanon from 1952 to 1958, and one of the country's main Christian leaders during most of the Lebanese Civil War ....

.

In February 1975, the Tigers shot an important pro-Palestinian Lebanese MP, Ma'arouf Sa'ad, founder of the Popular Nasserite Organization. His death, from his wounds, the following month, and the murder in April
Bus Massacre
The Bus Massacre, also known as the ‘Ain el-Rammaneh incident’ , was the collective name given to a short series of armed clashes involving Lebanese Christian and Palestinian elements in the streets of central Beirut, which is commonly presented as the spark that set off the Lebanese Civil War in...

 of that year of twenty-seven Palestinians and Lebanese travelling on bus from Sabra and Shatila to the Tel al-Zaatar refugee camp by Phalangist forces, precipitated the Lebanese Civil War. Arafat was reluctant to respond with force, but many other Fatah and PLO members felt otherwise. For example, the DFLP carried out several attacks against the Lebanese Army. In 1976, an alliance of Christian militias with the backing of the Lebanese and Syrian Army
Syrian Army
The Syrian Army, officially called the Syrian Arab Army, is the land force branch of the Syrian Armed Forces. It is the dominant military service of the four uniformed services, controlling the senior most posts in the armed forces, and has the greatest manpower, approximately 80 percent of the...

 besieged Tel al-Zaatar camp in east Beirut
Beirut
Beirut is the capital and largest city of Lebanon, with a population ranging from 1 million to more than 2 million . Located on a peninsula at the midpoint of Lebanon's Mediterranean coastline, it serves as the country's largest and main seaport, and also forms the Beirut Metropolitan...

. The PLO and LNM retaliated by attacking the town of Damour
Damour massacre
The Damour massacre took place on January 20, 1976 during the 1975–1990 Lebanese Civil War. Damour, a Christian town on the main highway south of Beirut, was attacked by the Palestine Liberation Organisation units...

, a Phalangist stronghold. Over 330 people were killed and many more wounded. The Tel al-Zaatar camp fell to the Christians after a six-month siege, and a massacre
Tel al-Zaatar Massacre
The Tel al-Zaatar massacre took place during the Lebanese Civil War on August 12, 1976. Tel al-Zaatar was a UNRWA administered Palestinian Refugee camp housing approximately 50,000-60,000 refugees in northeast Beirut.-Background:...

 followed in which thousands of Palestinians were killed. Arafat and Abu Jihad blamed themselves for not successfully organizing a rescue effort.
PLO cross-border raids against Israel grew during the late 1970s. One of the most severe—known as the Coastal Road massacre
Coastal Road massacre
The Coastal Road massacre of 1978 was an attack involving the hijacking of a bus on Israel's Coastal Highway in which 38 Israeli civilians, including 13 children, were killed, and 71 were wounded. The attack was planned by Abu Jihad and carried out by the PLO faction Fatah...

—occurred on 11 March 1978. A force of nearly a dozen Fatah fighters landed their boats near a major coastal road connecting the city of Haifa
Haifa
Haifa is the largest city in northern Israel, and the third-largest city in the country, with a population of over 268,000. Another 300,000 people live in towns directly adjacent to the city including the cities of the Krayot, as well as, Tirat Carmel, Daliyat al-Karmel and Nesher...

 with Tel Aviv-Yafo. There they hijacked a bus and sprayed gunfire inside and at passing vehicles, killing thirty-seven civilians. In response, the IDF launched Operation Litani three days later, with the goal of taking control of Southern Lebanon up to the Litani River
Litani River
The Litani River is an important water resource in southern Lebanon. The river rises in the fertile Beqaa Valley valley, west of Baalbek, and empties into the Mediterranean Sea north of Tyre. Exceeding 140 km in length, the Litani River is the longest river in Lebanon and provides an average...

. The IDF achieved this goal, and Arafat withdrew PLO forces north into Beirut
Beirut
Beirut is the capital and largest city of Lebanon, with a population ranging from 1 million to more than 2 million . Located on a peninsula at the midpoint of Lebanon's Mediterranean coastline, it serves as the country's largest and main seaport, and also forms the Beirut Metropolitan...

.

After Israel withdrew from Lebanon, cross-border hostilities between PLO forces and Israel continued, though from August 1981 to May 1982, the PLO adopted a unilateral policy of refraining from responding to provocations. Beirut was soon besieged and bombarded by the IDF; Arafat declared the city to be the "Hanoi
Hanoi
Hanoi , is the capital of Vietnam and the country's second largest city. Its population in 2009 was estimated at 2.6 million for urban districts, 6.5 million for the metropolitan jurisdiction. From 1010 until 1802, it was the most important political centre of Vietnam...

 and Stalingrad of the Israeli army." The Civil War's first phase ended and Arafat—who was commanding Fatah forces at Tel al-Zaatar—narrowly escaped with assistance from Saudi and Kuwaiti diplomats. Towards the end the siege, the US and Europe
Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

an governments brokered an agreement guaranteeing safe passage for Arafat and the PLO—guarded by a multinational force of eight hundred US Marines
United States Marine Corps
The United States Marine Corps is a branch of the United States Armed Forces responsible for providing power projection from the sea, using the mobility of the United States Navy to deliver combined-arms task forces rapidly. It is one of seven uniformed services of the United States...

 supported by the US Navy—to exile in Tunis
Tunis
Tunis is the capital of both the Tunisian Republic and the Tunis Governorate. It is Tunisia's largest city, with a population of 728,453 as of 2004; the greater metropolitan area holds some 2,412,500 inhabitants....

.

Arafat returned to Lebanon a year after his eviction from Beirut, this time establishing himself in the northern Lebanese city of Tripoli
Tripoli, Lebanon
Tripoli is the largest city in northern Lebanon and the second-largest city in Lebanon. Situated 85 km north of the capital Beirut, Tripoli is the capital of the North Governorate and the Tripoli District. Geographically located on the east of the Mediterranean, the city's history dates back...

. This time Arafat was expelled by a fellow Palestinian working under Hafez al-Assad. Arafat did not return to Lebanon after his second expulsion, though many Fatah fighters did.

Tunisia


Arafat and Fatah's center for operations was based in Tunis, the capital of Tunisia
Tunisia
Tunisia , officially the Tunisian RepublicThe long name of Tunisia in other languages used in the country is: , is the northernmost country in Africa. It is a Maghreb country and is bordered by Algeria to the west, Libya to the southeast, and the Mediterranean Sea to the north and east. Its area...

, until 1993. In 1985 he narrowly survived an Israeli assassination attempt when Israeli Air Force
Israeli Air Force
The Israeli Air Force is the air force of the State of Israel and the aerial arm of the Israel Defense Forces. It was founded on May 28, 1948, shortly after the Israeli Declaration of Independence...

 F-15s
F-15E Strike Eagle
The McDonnell Douglas F-15E Strike Eagle is an all-weather multirole fighter, derived from the McDonnell Douglas F-15 Eagle. The F-15E was designed in the 1980s for long-range, high speed interdiction without relying on escort or electronic warfare aircraft. United States Air Force F-15E Strike...

 bombed his headquarters there as part of Operation Wooden Leg
Operation Wooden Leg
Operation Wooden Leg was an attack by Israel on the Palestine Liberation Organization headquarters in Hammam al-Shatt, Tunisia, 12 miles from the capital of Tunis. It took place on October 1, 1985. Taking place 1,280 miles away, this was the furthest operation from Israel undertaken by the...

, leaving 73 people dead. Arafat had gone out jogging that morning.

First Intifada


During the 1980s, Arafat received financial assistance from Libya, Iraq and Saudi Arabia, which allowed him to reconstruct the badly battered PLO. This was particularly useful during the First Intifada
First Intifada
The First Intifada was a Palestinian uprising against the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian Territories. The uprising began in the Jabalia refugee camp and quickly spread throughout Gaza, the West Bank and East Jerusalem....

 in December 1987, which began as an uprising of Palestinians against the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip. The word Intifada in Arabic is literally translated as "tremor", however, it is generally defined as an uprising or revolt.

The first stage of the Intifada began following an incident at the Erez checkpoint
Erez Crossing
The Erez Crossing is a pedestrian/cargo terminal on the Israeli Gaza Strip barrier. It is located in the northern end of the Gaza Strip, on the border with Israel.It is part of a complex formerly including the Erez Industrial Park....

 where four Palestinian residents of the Jabalya refugee camp were killed in a traffic accident involving an Israeli driver. Rumors spread that the deaths were a deliberate act of revenge for an Israeli shopper that was stabbed to death by a Palestinian in Gaza four days earlier. Mass rioting broke-out and within weeks and partly upon consistent requests by Abu Jihad, Arafat attempted to direct the uprising, which lasted until 1992–93. Abu Jihad had previously been assigned the responsibility of the Palestinian territories within the PLO command and according to biographer Said Aburish
Said Aburish
Said K. Aburish is a Palestinian journalist, and writer.Born into a Palestinian family, Abu Rish attended school in Jerusalem and Beirut...

, had "impressive knowledge of local conditions" in the Israeli-occupied territories
Israeli-occupied territories
The Israeli-occupied territories are the territories which have been designated as occupied territory by the United Nations and other international organizations, governments and others to refer to the territory seized by Israel during the Six-Day War of 1967 from Egypt, Jordan, and Syria...

. On April 16, 1988, as the Intifada was raging, Abu Jihad was assassinated in his Tunis household, allegedly by an Israeli hit squad. Arafat considered Abu Jihad a PLO counterweight to local Palestinian leadership, and led a funeral procession for him in Damascus
Damascus
Damascus , commonly known in Syria as Al Sham , and as the City of Jasmine , is the capital and the second largest city of Syria after Aleppo, both are part of the country's 14 governorates. In addition to being one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world, Damascus is a major...

.

The most common tactic used by Palestinians during the Intifada was throwing stones, molotov cocktails, and burning tires. The local leadership in some West Bank towns commenced non-violent protests against Israeli occupation by engaging in tax resistance and other boycotts. Israel responded by confiscating large sums of money in house-to-house raids. As the Intifada came to a close, new armed Palestinian groups—in particular Hamas
Hamas
Hamas is the Palestinian Sunni Islamic or Islamist political party that governs the Gaza Strip. Hamas also has a military wing, the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades...

 and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ)—began targeting Israeli civilians with the new tactic of suicide bombing and internal fighting amongst the Palestinians increased dramatically.

Change in direction


There is reason to believe that Arafat was considering some kind of territorial compromise with the State of Israel at least since 1974. Recently declassified documents show that in early 1976, at a meeting with US Senator Adlai Stevenson III
Adlai Stevenson III
Adlai Ewing Stevenson III is an American politician of the Democratic Party. He represented the state of Illinois in the United States Senate from 1970 until 1981.-Education, military service, and early career:...

, Arafat suggested a "few kilometers" of Israeli withdrawal from parts of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip while transferring responsibility to the UN, and this, he claimed "would give him something to show his people before he could acknowledge Israel's right to exist".

On 15 November 1988, the PLO proclaimed the independent State of Palestine
Proposals for a Palestinian state
Proposals for a Palestinian state currently refers to the proposed establishment of an independent state for the Palestinian people in Palestine on land that was occupied by Israel since the Six-Day War of 1967 and before by Egypt and by Jordan since 1949...

. Though he had frequently been accused of and associated with terrorism, in speeches on 13 and 14 December Arafat accepted UN Security Council Resolution 242
United Nations Security Council Resolution 242
United Nations Security Council Resolution 242 was adopted unanimously by the UN Security Council on November 22, 1967, in the aftermath of the Six Day War. It was adopted under Chapter VIof the United Nations Charter...

, Israel's right "to exist in peace and security" and repudiated 'terrorism in all its forms, including state terrorism'. Arafat's statements were greeted with approval by the US administration, which had long insisted on these statements as a necessary starting point for official discussions between the US and the PLO. These remarks from Arafat indicated a shift away from one of the PLO's primary aims—the destruction of Israel (as entailed in the Palestinian National Covenant
Palestinian National Covenant
The Palestinian National Covenant or Palestinian National Charter is the charter or constitution of the Palestine Liberation Organization ....

)–and toward the establishment of two separate entities: an Israeli state within the 1949 armistice lines, and an Arab state in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. On 2 April 1989, Arafat was elected by the Central Council of the Palestine National Council, the governing body of the PLO, to be the president of the proclaimed State of Palestine.

Prior to the Gulf War
Gulf War
The Persian Gulf War , commonly referred to as simply the Gulf War, was a war waged by a U.N.-authorized coalition force from 34 nations led by the United States, against Iraq in response to Iraq's invasion and annexation of Kuwait.The war is also known under other names, such as the First Gulf...

 in 1990–91, when the Intifada's intensity began to wear down, Arafat supported Saddam Hussein
Saddam Hussein
Saddam Hussein Abd al-Majid al-Tikriti was the fifth President of Iraq, serving in this capacity from 16 July 1979 until 9 April 2003...

's invasion of Kuwait
Kuwait
The State of Kuwait is a sovereign Arab state situated in the north-east of the Arabian Peninsula in Western Asia. It is bordered by Saudi Arabia to the south at Khafji, and Iraq to the north at Basra. It lies on the north-western shore of the Persian Gulf. The name Kuwait is derived from the...

 and opposed the US-led coalition attack on Iraq. He made this decision without the consent of other leading members of Fatah and the PLO. Arafat's top aide Abu Iyad vouched to stay neutral and opposed an alliance with Saddam; On 17 January 1991, Abu Iyad was assassinated by the pro-Iraqi Abu Nidal Organization
Abu Nidal
Abu Nidal , born Sabri Khalil al-Banna , was the founder of Fatah–The Revolutionary Council , a militant Palestinian group more commonly known as the Abu Nidal Organization...

. Arafat's decision also severed relations with Egypt and many of the oil-producing Arab states that supported the US-led coalition. Many in the US also used Arafat's position as a reason to disregard his claims to being a partner for peace. After the end of hostilities, many Arab states that backed the coalition cut off funds to the PLO and began providing financial support for the organization's rival Hamas as well as other Islamist groups.

In 1990, Arafat married Suha Tawil
Suha Arafat
Suha Arafat , née Suha Daoud Tawil , is the widow of former Palestinian Authority President Yasser Arafat.-Early life:...

, a Palestinian Christian
Palestinian Christian
Palestinian Christians are Arabic-speaking Christians descended from the people of the geographical area of Palestine. Within Palestine, there are churches and believers from many Christian denominations, including Oriental Orthodoxy, Eastern Orthodoxy, Catholic , Protestant, and others...

 when he was 61 and Suha, 27. Before their marriage, she was working as a secretary for Arafat in Tunis after her mother introduced her to him in France
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

. Prior to Arafat's marriage, he adopted fifty Palestinian war orphans
Orphan
An orphan is a child permanently bereaved of or abandoned by his or her parents. In common usage, only a child who has lost both parents is called an orphan...

. Arafat narrowly escaped death again on 7 April 1992, when an Air Bissau aircraft he was a passenger on crash-landed in the Libyan Desert
Libyan Desert
The Libyan Desert covers an area of approximately 1,100,000 km2, it extends approximately 1100 km from east to west, and 1,000 km from north to south, in about the shape of a rectangle...

 during a sandstorm. Two pilots and an engineer were killed; Arafat was bruised and shaken.

Palestinian Authority and peace negotiations



Oslo Accords


In the early 1990s, Arafat and leading Fatah officials engaged the Israeli government in a series of secret talks and negotiations that led to the 1993 Oslo Accords
Oslo Accords
The Oslo Accords, officially called the Declaration of Principles on Interim Self-Government Arrangements or Declaration of Principles , was an attempt to resolve the ongoing Palestinian-Israeli conflict...

. The agreement called for the implementation of Palestinian self-rule in portions of the West Bank and Gaza Strip over a five year period, along with an immediate halt to and gradual removal of Israeli settlements in those areas. The accords called for a Palestinian police force to be formed from local recruits and Palestinians abroad, to patrol areas of self-rule. Authority over the various fields of rule, including education and culture, social welfare, direct tax
Direct tax
The term direct tax generally means a tax paid directly to the government by the persons on whom it is imposed.-General meaning:In the general sense, a direct tax is one paid directly to the government by the persons on whom it is imposed...

ation and tourism, would be transferred to the Palestinian interim government. Both parties agreed also on forming a committee that would establish cooperation and coordination dealing with specific economic sectors, including utilities, industry, trade and communication.

Prior to signing the accords, Arafat—as Chairman of the PLO and its official representative—signed two letters renouncing violence and officially recognizing Israel. In return, Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin
Yitzhak Rabin
' was an Israeli politician, statesman and general. He was the fifth Prime Minister of Israel, serving two terms in office, 1974–77 and 1992 until his assassination in 1995....

, on behalf of Israel, officially recognized the PLO.

The following year, Arafat and Rabin were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize
Nobel Peace Prize
The Nobel Peace Prize is one of the five Nobel Prizes bequeathed by the Swedish industrialist and inventor Alfred Nobel.-Background:According to Nobel's will, the Peace Prize shall be awarded to the person who...

, along with Shimon Peres
Shimon Peres
GCMG is the ninth President of the State of Israel. Peres served twice as the eighth Prime Minister of Israel and once as Interim Prime Minister, and has been a member of 12 cabinets in a political career spanning over 66 years...

. The Palestinian reaction was mixed. The Rejectionist Front
Rejectionist Front
The Rejectionist Front or Front of the Palestinian Forces Rejecting Solutions of Surrender was a political coalition formed in 1974 by radical Palestinian factions who rejected the Ten Point Program adopted by the Palestine Liberation Organization in its 12th Palestinian National Congress ...

 of the PLO allied itself with Islamists in a common opposition against the agreements. It was rejected also by Palestinian refugee
Palestinian refugee
Palestinian refugees or Palestine refugees are the people and their descendants, predominantly Palestinian Arabic-speakers, who fled or were expelled from their homes during and after the 1948 Palestine War, within that part of the British Mandate of Palestine, that after that war became the...

s in Lebanon, Syria, and Jordan as well as by many Palestinian intellectuals and the local leadership of the Palestinian territories. However, the inhabitants of the territories generally accepted the agreements and Arafat's promise for peace and economic well-being.

Establishing authority in the territories


In accordance with the terms of the Oslo agreement, Arafat was required to implement PLO authority in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. He insisted that financial support was imperative to establishing this authority and needed it to secure the acceptance of the agreements by the Palestinians living in those areas. However, the Gulf Arab States—Arafat's usual source for financial backing—still refused to provide him and the PLO with any major donations because of his sympathy for Iraq during the Gulf War, in 1991. Ahmed Qurei
Ahmed Qurei
Ahmed Ali Mohammed Qurei , also known by his Arabic Kunya Abu Alaa is a former prime minister of the Palestinian Authority...

—a key Fatah negotiator during the negotiations in Oslo—openly announced that the PLO was bankrupt.

In 1994, Arafat moved to Gaza City
Gaza
Gaza , also referred to as Gaza City, is a Palestinian city in the Gaza Strip, with a population of about 450,000, making it the largest city in the Palestinian territories.Inhabited since at least the 15th century BC,...

, one of the territories controlled by the Palestinian National Authority
Palestinian National Authority
The Palestinian Authority is the administrative organization established to govern parts of the West Bank and Gaza Strip...

 (PNA)—the provisional entity created by the Oslo Accords. Arafat became the President
President of the Palestinian National Authority
The President of the Palestinian National Authority is the highest-ranking political position in the Palestinian National Authority ....

 and Prime Minister
Prime Minister of the Palestinian National Authority
The Prime Minister of the Palestinian National Authority is the head of government of the Palestinian Authority government.The Prime Minister's Office was created in 2003 to manage day-to-day activities of the Palestinian government. The position was created because both Israel and the United...

 of the PNA, the Commander of the PLA and the Speaker
Speaker of the Palestinian Legislative Council
The Speaker of the Palestinian Legislative Council is the chairman of the Palestinian Legislative Council. As Chairman, the Speaker replaces the President of the Palestinian National Authority if the latter is unable to perform their role...

 of the PLC
Palestinian Legislative Council
The Palestinian Legislative Council, the legislature of the Palestinian Authority, is a unicameral body with 132 members, elected from 16 electoral districts in the West Bank and Gaza...

. In July, after the PNA was declared the official government of the Palestinians, the Basic Laws of the Palestinian National Authority was published, in three different versions by the PLO. Arafat proceeded with creating a structure for the PNA. He established an executive committee
PLO Executive Committee
The Executive Committee is the highest executive body of the Palestine Liberation Organization .Its 18 members are elected by the PLO Parliament, the Palestinian National Council , often as representatives of the PLO member factions...

 or cabinet composed of twenty members. Arafat also took the liberty to replace and assign mayors and city councils for major cities such as Gaza and Nablus
Nablus
Nablus is a Palestinian city in the northern West Bank, approximately north of Jerusalem, with a population of 126,132. Located in a strategic position between Mount Ebal and Mount Gerizim, it is the capital of the Nablus Governorate and a Palestinian commercial and cultural center.Founded by the...

. He began subordinating non-governmental organizations that dealt in education, health, and social affairs under his authority by replacing their elected leaders and directors with PNA officials loyal to him. He then appointed himself chairman of the Palestinian financial organization that was created by the World Bank
World Bank
The World Bank is an international financial institution that provides loans to developing countries for capital programmes.The World Bank's official goal is the reduction of poverty...

 to control most aid money towards helping the new Palestinian entity.

Arafat established a Palestinian police force, named the Preventive Security Service
Preventive Security Service
The Preventive Security Force is the official security apparatus of the Palestinian National Authority. It was established in 1994 by President Yasser Arafat in accordance with the Oslo Accords....

 (PSS), that became active on May 13. It was mainly composed of PLA soldiers and foreign Palestinian volunteers. Arafat assigned Mohammed Dahlan
Mohammed Dahlan
Mohammed Dahlan born on September 29, 1961 in Khan Younis Refugee Camp, Khan Younis, Gaza Strip also known by the kunya or nom de guerre Abu Fadi is a Palestinian politician, the former leader of Fatah in Gaza...

 and Jibril Rajoub
Jibril Rajoub
Jibril Rajoub is a Palestinian political figure. He was the head of the Preventive Security Force in the West Bank until being dismissed in 2002. He was elected to the Fatah Central Committee at the party's 2009 congress...

 to head the organization. Amnesty International
Amnesty International
Amnesty International is an international non-governmental organisation whose stated mission is "to conduct research and generate action to prevent and end grave abuses of human rights, and to demand justice for those whose rights have been violated."Following a publication of Peter Benenson's...

 accused Arafat and the PNA leadership for failing to adequately investigate abuses by the PSS (including torture and unlawful killings) of political opponents and dissidents as well as the arrests of human rights activists.

On July 24, 1995, Arafat's wife Suha gave birth to a daughter in Sorbonne
Sorbonne
The Sorbonne is an edifice of the Latin Quarter, in Paris, France, which has been the historical house of the former University of Paris...

, France
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

. She was named Zahwa after Arafat's deceased mother.

Throughout November–December 1995, Arafat toured dozens of Palestinian cities and towns that were evacuated by Israeli forces including Jenin
Jenin
Jenin is the largest town in the Northern West Bank, and the third largest city overall. It serves as the administrative center of the Jenin Governorate and is a major agricultural center for the surrounding towns. In 2007, the city had a population of 120,004 not including the adjacent refugee...

, Ramallah, al-Bireh
Al-Bireh
al-Bireh or el-Bira is a Palestinian city adjacent to Ramallah in the central West Bank, north of Jerusalem. It is situated on the central ridge running through the West Bank and is above sea level, covering an area of...

, Nablus, Qalqilyah
Qalqilyah
-Bibliography: p. -External links:**...

 and Tulkarm
Tulkarm
Tulkarem or Tulkarm is a Palestinian city in the northern Samarian mountain range in the Tulkarm Governorate in the extreme northwestern West Bank adjacent to the Netanya and Haifa districts to the west, the Nablus and Jenin Districts to the east...

, declaring them "liberated". The PNA also gained control of the West Bank's postal service
Postage stamps and postal history of the Palestinian National Authority
The Palestinian National Authority began in 1994 to issue stamps and operate postal services as authorized by the Oslo Accords.-Postal service:Starting in 1994-5, the Palestinian National Authority established post offices throughout the PNA, developed its own unique postmarks and issued stamps....

 during this period. On 20 January 1996, Arafat was elected president of the PNA, with an overwhelming 88.2% majority (the only other candidate was charity organizer Samiha Khalil
Samiha Khalil
Samiha al-Qubaj Salameh Khalil , also known as Umm Khalil, was a Palestinian charity worker as well as a prominent figure in Palestinian politics....

). However, because Hamas
Hamas
Hamas is the Palestinian Sunni Islamic or Islamist political party that governs the Gaza Strip. Hamas also has a military wing, the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades...

, the DFLP and other popular opposition movements chose to boycott the presidential elections, the choices were limited. Arafat's landslide victory guaranteed Fatah 51 of the 88 seats in the PLC. After Arafat was elected to the post of President of the PNA, he was often referred to as the Ra'is, (literally president in Arabic), although he spoke of himself as "the general".
In 1997, the PLC accused the executive branch of the PNA of financial mismanagement causing the resignation of four members of Arafat's cabinet. Arafat refused to resign his post.

Other peace agreements


In mid-1996, Benjamin Netanyahu
Benjamin Netanyahu
Benjamin "Bibi" Netanyahu is the current Prime Minister of Israel. He serves also as the Chairman of the Likud Party, as a Knesset member, as the Health Minister of Israel, as the Pensioner Affairs Minister of Israel and as the Economic Strategy Minister of Israel.Netanyahu is the first and, to...

 was elected
Israeli prime ministerial election, 1996
The first ever election for Prime Minister was held in Israel on 29 May 1996 alongside simultaneous Knesset elections. There were only two candidates: Shimon Peres of the Labour Party and Binyamin Netanyahu of Likud. The result was a surprise win for Netanyahu by a margin of 29,457 votes, less than...

 Prime Minister of Israel
Prime Minister of Israel
The Prime Minister of Israel is the head of the Israeli government and the most powerful political figure in Israel . The prime minister is the country's chief executive. The official residence of the prime minister, Beit Rosh Hamemshala is in Jerusalem...

 by a margin of just one percent. Palestinian-Israeli relations grew even more hostile as a result of continued conflict. Despite the Israel-PLO accord, Netanyahu opposed the idea of Palestinian statehood. In 1998, U.S. President Bill Clinton
Bill Clinton
William Jefferson "Bill" Clinton is an American politician who served as the 42nd President of the United States from 1993 to 2001. Inaugurated at age 46, he was the third-youngest president. He took office at the end of the Cold War, and was the first president of the baby boomer generation...

 persuaded the two leaders to meet. The resulting Wye River Memorandum
Wye River Memorandum
The Wye River Memorandum was an agreement negotiated between Israel and the Palestine Authority to implement the earlier Interim Agreement of 28 September, 1995...

 detailed the steps to be taken by the Israeli government and PNA to complete the peace process.
Arafat continued negotiations with Netanyahu's successor, Ehud Barak
Ehud Barak
Ehud Barak is an Israeli politician who served as Prime Minister from 1999 until 2001. He was leader of the Labor Party until January 2011 and holds the posts of Minister of Defense and Deputy Prime Minister in Binyamin Netanyahu's government....

, at the Camp David Summit in July 2000. Due partly to his own politics (Barak was from the leftist Labor Party, whereas Netanyahu was from the rightist
Right-wing politics
In politics, Right, right-wing and rightist generally refer to support for a hierarchical society justified on the basis of an appeal to natural law or tradition. To varying degrees, the Right rejects the egalitarian objectives of left-wing politics, claiming that the imposition of equality is...

 Likud
Likud
Likud is the major center-right political party in Israel. It was founded in 1973 by Menachem Begin in an alliance with several right-wing and liberal parties. Likud's victory in the 1977 elections was a major turning point in the country's political history, marking the first time the left had...

 Party) and partly due to insistence for compromise by President Clinton, Barak made what many Israelis called a "generous offer". Barak offered Arafat a Palestinian state in 73% of the West Bank and all of the Gaza Strip. The Palestinian percentage of sovereignty would extend to 91% (94% excluding Jerusalem) over a ten to twenty-five year period. Israel would annex the border settlement blocs (encompassing most Israeli settlements), and would cede the equivalent area in the Israeli Negev
Negev
The Negev is a desert and semidesert region of southern Israel. The Arabs, including the native Bedouin population of the region, refer to the desert as al-Naqab. The origin of the word Neghebh is from the Hebrew root denoting 'dry'...

 desert to the Palestinians. To ensure contiguity, an elevated roadway and railway would pass over the Negev from the West Bank to the Gaza Strip. All remaining Israeli settlement
Israeli settlement
An Israeli settlement is a Jewish civilian community built on land that was captured by Israel from Jordan, Egypt, and Syria during the 1967 Six-Day War and is considered occupied territory by the international community. Such settlements currently exist in the West Bank...

s would be removed, with the exception of Kiryat Arba
Kiryat Arba
Kiryat Arba or Qiryat Arba , lit. "Town of the Four," is an Israeli settlement in the Judean Mountains region of the West Bank on the edge of Hebron. Its settlers consist of a mix of Russian immigrants, American immigrants, and native-born Israelis numbering close to 10,000...

, which was to remain an Israeli enclave linked by a bypass road. An Israeli road from Jerusalem to the Dead Sea would also cut through the West Bank, but Palestinians would have free passage. Israel would take sovereignty over Jewish neighborhoods, sites holy to Judaism, and some Palestinian neighborhoods in East Jerusalem
East Jerusalem
East Jerusalem or Eastern Jerusalem refer to the parts of Jerusalem captured and annexed by Jordan in the 1948 Arab-Israeli War and then captured and annexed by Israel in the 1967 Six-Day War...

, while the Palestinians would take sovereignty over some Palestinian neighborhoods, three Quarters of the Old City, and the remaining Palestinian neighborhoods would come under Palestinian autonomy. Palestinians would also have "custodianship" over the Temple Mount
Temple Mount
The Temple Mount, known in Hebrew as , and in Arabic as the Haram Ash-Sharif , is one of the most important religious sites in the Old City of Jerusalem. It has been used as a religious site for thousands of years...

, and sovereignty on all Islamic and Christian holy sites. Palestine would have no military, and would rely on the PA's well-armed paramilitary security forces, and an international force in the Jordan Valley. Other demands were temporary Israeli observation of border crossings, sharing of water resources, Israeli right to build radar stations in Palestine and deploy troops in case of an emergency, no alliances without Israeli approval, the dismantling of all militant groups, and no foreign forces east of the Jordan River. Also included in the offer was the return of 100,000 refugees, $30 billion to resettle the remaining refugees, and compensation for those not allowed to return. Arafat rejected Barak's offer and refused to make an immediate counter-offer. He stated to President Clinton that, "the Arab leader who would surrender Jerusalem is not born yet". Arafat also made it clear that he would never relinquish the Palestinian right of return
Palestinian right of return
The Palestinian right of return is a political position or principle asserting that Palestinian refugees, both first-generation refugees and their descendants, have a right to return, and a right to the property they or their forebears left or which they were forced to leave in what is now Israel...

. The move was criticized by a member of his own negotiating team and cabinet, Nabil Amr
Nabil Amr
Nabil Amr is a former information minister in the Palestinian National Authority, and previous ambassador to Egypt. He was an outspoken critic of Yasir Arafat, especially regarding his behavior at the 2000 Camp David Summit....

.
After the September 2000 outbreak of the Second Intifada, negotiations continued at the Taba summit
Taba Summit
The Taba summit were talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, held from January 21 to January 27, 2001 at Taba in the Sinai peninsula...

 in January 2001; this time, Ehud Barak pulled out of the talks to campaign in the Israeli elections. In October and December 2001, suicide bombings by Palestinian militant groups increased and Israeli counter strikes intensified. Following the election of Ariel Sharon
Ariel Sharon
Ariel Sharon is an Israeli statesman and retired general, who served as Israel’s 11th Prime Minister. He has been in a permanent vegetative state since suffering a stroke on 4 January 2006....

 in February, the peace process took a steep downfall. Palestinian elections scheduled for January 2002 were postponed—the stated reason was an inability to campaign due to the emergency conditions imposed by the Intifada, as well as IDF incursions and restrictions on freedom of movement
Freedom of movement
Freedom of movement, mobility rights or the right to travel is a human right concept that the constitutions of numerous states respect...

 in the Palestinian territories. In the same month, Sharon ordered Arafat to be confined to his Mukata'a headquarters in Ramallah
Ramallah
Ramallah is a Palestinian city in the central West Bank located 10 kilometers north of Jerusalem, adjacent to al-Bireh. It currently serves as the de facto administrative capital of the Palestinian National Authority...

, following an attack in the Israeli city of Hadera
Hadera
Hadera is a city located in the Haifa District of Israel approximately from the major cities of Tel Aviv and Haifa. The city is located along of the Israeli Mediterranean Coastal Plain...

; US President George W. Bush
George W. Bush
George Walker Bush is an American politician who served as the 43rd President of the United States, from 2001 to 2009. Before that, he was the 46th Governor of Texas, having served from 1995 to 2000....

 supported Sharon's action, claiming that Arafat was "an obstacle to the peace."

Political survival



Arafat's long personal and political survival was taken by most Western commentators as a sign of his mastery of asymmetric warfare
Asymmetric warfare
Asymmetric warfare is war between belligerents whose relative military power differs significantly, or whose strategy or tactics differ significantly....

 and his skill as a tactician, given the extremely dangerous nature of politics of the Middle East and the frequency of assassinations. Some commentators believe his survival was largely due to Israel's fear that he could become a martyr
Martyr
A martyr is somebody who suffers persecution and death for refusing to renounce, or accept, a belief or cause, usually religious.-Meaning:...

 for the Palestinian cause if he were assassinated or even arrested by Israel. Others believe that Israel refrained from taking action against Arafat because it feared Arafat less than Hamas
Hamas
Hamas is the Palestinian Sunni Islamic or Islamist political party that governs the Gaza Strip. Hamas also has a military wing, the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades...

 and the other Islamist movements gaining support over Fatah. The complex and fragile web of relations between the US, Israel, Saudi Arabia, and other Arab states contributed also to Arafat's longevity as the leader of the Palestinians.

Israel attempted to assassinate Arafat on a number of occasions, but has never used its own agents, preferring instead to "turn" Palestinians close to the intended target, usually using blackmail. According to Alan Hart, the Mossad's specialty is poison. According to Abu Iyad, two attempts were made on Arafat's life by the Israeli Mosaad and the Military Directorate in 1970. In 1976, Abu Sa'ed, a Palestinian traitor-agent who had been working for the Mossad for four years, was enlisted in a plot to put poison pellets that looked like grains of rice in Arafat's food. Abu Iyad explains that Abu Sa'ed confessed after he received the order to go ahead, explaining that he was unable to go through with the plot because, "He was first of all a Palestinian and his conscience wouldn't let him do it." Arafat claimed in a 1988 interview with Time
Time (magazine)
Time is an American news magazine. A European edition is published from London. Time Europe covers the Middle East, Africa and, since 2003, Latin America. An Asian edition is based in Hong Kong...

that because of his fear of assassination by the Israelis, he never slept in the same place two nights in a row.

Relations with Hamas and other militant groups


Arafat's ability to adapt to new tactical and political situations was perhaps tested by the rise of the Hamas and PIJ organizations, Islamist groups espousing rejectionist
Rejectionist Front
The Rejectionist Front or Front of the Palestinian Forces Rejecting Solutions of Surrender was a political coalition formed in 1974 by radical Palestinian factions who rejected the Ten Point Program adopted by the Palestine Liberation Organization in its 12th Palestinian National Congress ...

 policies with Israel. These groups often bombed non-military targets, such as malls and movie theaters, to increase the psychological damage and civilian casualties. In the 1990s, these groups seemed to threaten Arafat's capacity to hold together a unified nationalist organization with a goal of statehood. They appeared to be out of Arafat's influence and control, and were actively fighting with Fatah. Some allege that activities of these groups were tolerated by Arafat as a means of applying pressure on Israel.

An attack carried out by Hamas militants killed twenty-nine Israeli civilians celebrating Passover
Passover
Passover is a Jewish holiday and festival. It commemorates the story of the Exodus, in which the ancient Israelites were freed from slavery in Egypt...

 including many senior citizens. In response, Israel launched Operation Defensive Shield
Operation Defensive Shield
Operation Defensive Shield was a large-scale military operation conducted by the Israel Defense Forces in 2002, during the course of the Second Intifada. It was the largest military operation in the West Bank since the 1967 Six-Day War. The operation was an attempt by the Israeli army to stop the...

, a major military offensive into major West Bank cities. Mahmoud Zahar, Hamas leader in Gaza, stated in September 2010 that Arafat had instructed Hamas to launch what he termed "military operations" against Israel in 2000 when Arafat felt that negotiations with Israel would not succeed.

Some Israeli government officials opined in 2002 that the armed Fatah sub-group al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades
Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades
The al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades is a coalition of Palestinian nationalist militias in the West Bank. The group's name refers to the al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem...

 commenced attacks towards Israel in order to compete with Hamas. On May 6, the Israeli government released a report, based in part on documents captured during the Israeli occupation of Arafat's Ramallah headquarters, which included copies of papers signed by Arafat authorizing funding for al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades' activities.

Attempts to marginalize


Persistent attempts by the Israeli government to identify another Palestinian leader to represent the Palestinian people failed. Arafat was enjoying the support of groups that, given his own history, would normally have been quite wary of dealing with or supporting him. Marwan Barghouti
Marwan Barghouti
Marwan Hasib Ibrahim Barghouti is a Palestinian political figure. He is regarded as a leader of the First and Second Intifadas. Barghouti at one time supported the peace process, but later became disillusioned, and after 2000 went on to become the main figure behind the Al-Aqsa Intifada in the...

 (a leader of al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades) emerged as a possible replacement during the Second Intifada, but Israel had him arrested for being involved in the killing of twenty-six civilians, and he was sentenced to five life terms.

Arafat was finally allowed to leave his compound on 2 May after intense negotiations led to a settlement: six PFLP militants—including the organization's secretary-general Ahmad Sa'adat
Ahmad Sa'adat
Ahmad Sa'adat is a Palestinian militant and Secretary-General of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine , a militant Palestinian group....

—wanted by Israel, who had been holed up with Arafat in his compound, would not be turned over to Israel, but neither would they be held in custody by the PNA. Rather, a combination of British and American security personnel would ensure that the wanted men remained imprisoned in Jericho
Jericho
Jericho ; is a city located near the Jordan River in the West Bank of the Palestinian territories. It is the capital of the Jericho Governorate and has a population of more than 20,000. Situated well below sea level on an east-west route north of the Dead Sea, Jericho is the lowest permanently...

. (The men were later captured by Israel in an overnight raid on the prison in 2006.) With that, and a promise that he would issue a call to the Palestinians to halt attacks on Israelis, Arafat was released. He issued such a call on May 8, but as with previous attempts, it was largely ignored. In 2003, Arafat ceded his post as Prime Minister to Mahmoud Abbas
Mahmoud Abbas
Mahmoud Abbas , also known by the kunya Abu Mazen , has been the Chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organisation since 11 November 2004 and became President of the Palestinian National Authority on 15 January 2005 on the Fatah ticket.Elected to serve until 9 January 2009, he unilaterally...

 amid pressures by the US.

In 2004, President Bush dismissed Arafat as a negotiating partner, saying he had "failed as a leader" and accused him of undercutting Abbas when he was prime minister (Abbas resigned the same year he was given the position). Arafat had a mixed relationship at best with the leaders of other Arab nations. His support from Arab leaders tended to increase whenever he was pressured by Israel; for example, when Israel declared in 2003 it had made the decision, in principle, to remove him from the Israeli-controlled West Bank. In an interview with the Arabic news network Al-Jazeera, Arafat responded to Ariel Sharon's suggestion that he be exiled from the Palestinian territories
Palestinian territories
The Palestinian territories comprise the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Since the Palestinian Declaration of Independence in 1988, the region is today recognized by three-quarters of the world's countries as the State of Palestine or simply Palestine, although this status is not recognized by the...

 permanently, by stating, "Is it his [Sharon's] homeland or ours? We were planted here before the Prophet Abraham came, but it looks like they [Israelis] don't understand history or geography."

Financial dealings


In August 2002, the Israeli Military Intelligence Chief alleged that Arafat's personal wealth was in the range of USD $1.3 billion. In 2003 the International Monetary Fund
International Monetary Fund
The International Monetary Fund is an organization of 187 countries, working to foster global monetary cooperation, secure financial stability, facilitate international trade, promote high employment and sustainable economic growth, and reduce poverty around the world...

 (IMF) conducted an audit of the PNA and stated that Arafat diverted $900 million in public funds to a special bank account controlled by Arafat and the PNA Chief Economic Financial adviser. However, the IMF did not claim that there were any improprieties, and it specifically stated that most of the funds had been used to invest in Palestinian assets, both internally and abroad.

However in 2003, a team of American accountants–hired by Arafat's own finance ministry
Finance minister
The finance minister is a cabinet position in a government.A minister of finance has many different jobs in a government. He or she helps form the government budget, stimulate the economy, and control finances...

–began examining Arafat's finances; this team reached a different conclusion. The team claimed that part of the Palestinian leader's wealth was in a secret portfolio worth close to $1 billion, with investments in companies like a Coca-Cola
Coca-Cola
Coca-Cola is a carbonated soft drink sold in stores, restaurants, and vending machines in more than 200 countries. It is produced by The Coca-Cola Company of Atlanta, Georgia, and is often referred to simply as Coke...

 bottling plant in Ramallah, a Tunisian cell phone company and venture capital funds
Venture capital
Venture capital is financial capital provided to early-stage, high-potential, high risk, growth startup companies. The venture capital fund makes money by owning equity in the companies it invests in, which usually have a novel technology or business model in high technology industries, such as...

 in the US and the Cayman Islands
Cayman Islands
The Cayman Islands is a British Overseas Territory and overseas territory of the European Union located in the western Caribbean Sea. The territory comprises the three islands of Grand Cayman, Cayman Brac, and Little Cayman, located south of Cuba and northwest of Jamaica...

. The head of the investigation stated that "although the money for the portfolio came from public funds like Palestinian taxes, virtually none of it was used for the Palestinian people; it was all controlled by Arafat. And none of these dealings were made public."

An investigation conducted by the General Accounting Office reported that Arafat and the PLO held over $10 billion in assets even at the time when he was publicly claiming bankruptcy
Bankruptcy
Bankruptcy is a legal status of an insolvent person or an organisation, that is, one that cannot repay the debts owed to creditors. In most jurisdictions bankruptcy is imposed by a court order, often initiated by the debtor....

.

Although Arafat lived a modest lifestyle, Dennis Ross
Dennis Ross
Dennis B. Ross is an American diplomat and author. He has served as the Director of Policy Planning in the State Department under President George H. W...

, former Middle East negotiator for Presidents George H.W. Bush
George H. W. Bush
George Herbert Walker Bush is an American politician who served as the 41st President of the United States . He had previously served as the 43rd Vice President of the United States , a congressman, an ambassador, and Director of Central Intelligence.Bush was born in Milton, Massachusetts, to...

 and Bill Clinton, stated that Arafat's "walking-around money" financed a vast patronage system known as neopatrimonialism
Neopatrimonialism
Neopatrimonialism is a term used for patrons using state resources in order to secure the loyalty of clients in the general population, and is indicative of informal patron-client relationships that can reach from very high up in state structures down to individuals in say, small...

. According to Salam Fayyad
Salam Fayyad
Salam Fayyad is a Palestinian politician and Prime Minister of the Palestinian National Authority of the Palestinian National Authority. His first appointment, on 15 June 2007, which was justified by President Mahmoud Abbas on the basis of "national emergency", has not been confirmed by the...

—a former World Bank
World Bank
The World Bank is an international financial institution that provides loans to developing countries for capital programmes.The World Bank's official goal is the reduction of poverty...

 official whom Arafat appointed Finance Minister of the PNA
Finance Minister of the Palestinian National Authority
The Finance Minister of the Palestinian Authority is the head of the Palestinian National Authority branch that is in charge of finance. The minister deals with launching audits, collecting tax from Palestinian businesses and overseeing financial aid directed to the PNA...

 in 2002—Arafat's commodity monopolies could accurately be seen as gouging his own people, "especially in Gaza which is poorer, which is something that is totally unacceptable and immoral." Fayyad claims that Arafat used $20 million from public funds to pay the leadership of the PNA security forces (the Preventive Security Service
Preventive Security Service
The Preventive Security Force is the official security apparatus of the Palestinian National Authority. It was established in 1994 by President Yasser Arafat in accordance with the Oslo Accords....

) alone.

Fuad Shubaki, former financial aide to Arafat, told the Israeli security service Shin Bet that Arafat used several million dollars of aid money to buy weapons and support militant groups. During Israel's Operation Defensive Shield
Operation Defensive Shield
Operation Defensive Shield was a large-scale military operation conducted by the Israel Defense Forces in 2002, during the course of the Second Intifada. It was the largest military operation in the West Bank since the 1967 Six-Day War. The operation was an attempt by the Israeli army to stop the...

, the Israel army recovered counterfeit money and documents from Arafat's Ramallah headquarters. The documents showed that, in 2001, Arafat personally approved payments to Tanzim
Tanzim
Tanzim is a militant faction of the Palestinian Fatah movement.-Overview:The Tanzim militia, founded in 1995 to counter Palestinian Islamism, is widely considered to be an armed offshoot of Fatah with its own leadership structure...

 terrorists. The Palestinians claimed that the counterfeit money was confiscated from criminal elements.

Illness and death


First reports of Arafat's treatment by his doctors for what his spokesman said was the "flu
Influenza
Influenza, commonly referred to as the flu, is an infectious disease caused by RNA viruses of the family Orthomyxoviridae , that affects birds and mammals...

" came on 25 October 2004, after he vomited during a meeting. His condition deteriorated in the following days. Following visits by other doctors, including teams from Tunisia, Jordan, and Egypt—and agreement by Israel not to block his return—Arafat was taken to France
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

 on a French government jet, and was admitted to the Percy military hospital in Clamart
Clamart
Clamart is a commune in the southwestern suburbs of Paris, France. It is located from the center of Paris.The town is divided into two parts, separated by a forest: bas Clamart, the historical centre, and petit Clamart with urbanization developed in the 1960s replacing pea fields. The canton of...

, a suburb of Paris
Paris
Paris is the capital and largest city in France, situated on the river Seine, in northern France, at the heart of the Île-de-France region...

. The official statement announcing his death failed to determine a cause of death, saying only that he had a "mystery blood disorder". On 3 November, he had lapsed into a gradually deepening coma. In the ensuing days, Arafat's health was the subject of some speculation, with suspicion that he was suffering from poison
Poison
In the context of biology, poisons are substances that can cause disturbances to organisms, usually by chemical reaction or other activity on the molecular scale, when a sufficient quantity is absorbed by an organism....

ing or AIDS
AIDS
Acquired immune deficiency syndrome or acquired immunodeficiency syndrome is a disease of the human immune system caused by the human immunodeficiency virus...

. Various sources speculated that Arafat was coma
Coma
In medicine, a coma is a state of unconsciousness, lasting more than 6 hours in which a person cannot be awakened, fails to respond normally to painful stimuli, light or sound, lacks a normal sleep-wake cycle and does not initiate voluntary actions. A person in a state of coma is described as...

tose, in a "vegetative state" or dead. However, Palestinian authorities and Arafat's Jordanian doctor denied reports that Arafat was brain dead and had been kept on life support.

A controversy erupted between officials of the PNA and Suha Arafat when officials from the PNA traveled to France to see Yasser Arafat. Suha stated "They are trying to bury Abu Ammar [Arafat] alive". French law
Law of France
In academic terms, French law can be divided into two main categories: private or judicial law and public law .Judicial law includes, in particular:*civil law ; and*criminal law ....

 forbids physicians from discussing the condition of their patients with anybody with the exception, in case of grave prognosis, of close relatives. Accordingly, all communications concerning Arafat's health had to be authorized by his wife. Palestinian officials expressed regret that the news about Yasser Arafat was "filtered" by her.

The next day, chief surgeon Christian Estripeau of Percy reported that Arafat's condition had worsened, and that he had fallen into a deeper coma. Sheikh Taissir Tamimi
Sheikh Taissir Tamimi
Sheikh Taissir Dayut Tamimi . He is a supporter of the PA and an opponent of Hamas. His political views frequently bring him into conflict with Israel....

, the head of the Islamic court of the Palestinian territories—who held a vigil at Arafat's bedside—visited Arafat and declared that it was out of the question to disconnect him from life support since, according to him, such an action is prohibited in Islam
Islam
Islam . The most common are and .   : Arabic pronunciation varies regionally. The first vowel ranges from ~~. The second vowel ranges from ~~~...

.

Arafat was pronounced dead at 3:30 am UTC
Coordinated Universal Time
Coordinated Universal Time is the primary time standard by which the world regulates clocks and time. It is one of several closely related successors to Greenwich Mean Time. Computer servers, online services and other entities that rely on having a universally accepted time use UTC for that purpose...

 on 11 November at the age of 75. The exact cause of his illness is unknown. Tamimi described it as "a very painful scene." When Arafat's death was announced, the Palestinian people went into a state of mourning, with Qur'an
Qur'an
The Quran , also transliterated Qur'an, Koran, Alcoran, Qur’ān, Coran, Kuran, and al-Qur’ān, is the central religious text of Islam, which Muslims consider the verbatim word of God . It is regarded widely as the finest piece of literature in the Arabic language...

ic mourning prayers emitted from mosque loudspeakers, and tires were burned in the streets. One obituary at Socialist World said: "Many Palestinians will view the death of Yasser Arafat with a mixture of sadness and a wish that the Palestinian Authority he led, had done much more to end the poverty and oppression that blights their lives".

The Canard Enchaîné
Le Canard enchaîné
Le Canard enchaîné is a satirical newspaper published weekly in France. Founded in 1915, it features investigative journalism and leaks from sources inside the French government, the French political world and the French business world, as well as many jokes and humorous cartoons.-Early...

newspaper reported alleged leaks of information by unnamed medical sources at Percy hospital that had access to Arafat and his medical file. According to the newspaper, the doctors at Percy hospital suspected, from Arafat's arrival, grave lesions of the liver responsible for an alteration of the composition of the blood; Arafat was therefore placed in a hematology
Hematology
Hematology, also spelled haematology , is the branch of biology physiology, internal medicine, pathology, clinical laboratory work, and pediatrics that is concerned with the study of blood, the blood-forming organs, and blood diseases...

 service. Leukemia
Leukemia
Leukemia or leukaemia is a type of cancer of the blood or bone marrow characterized by an abnormal increase of immature white blood cells called "blasts". Leukemia is a broad term covering a spectrum of diseases...

 was "soundly ruled out". According to the same source, the reason why this diagnosis of cirrhosis
Cirrhosis
Cirrhosis is a consequence of chronic liver disease characterized by replacement of liver tissue by fibrosis, scar tissue and regenerative nodules , leading to loss of liver function...

 could not be made available was that, in the mind of the general public, cirrhosis is generally associated with the consequences of alcohol abuse. Even though the diagnosis was not of alcoholic cirrhosis and Arafat was not known for consuming any alcohol, there was a likelihood of rumors. The source explained that Arafat's living conditions did little to improve the situation. Thus, according to the source, the probable causes of the disease were multiple; Arafat's coma was a consequence of the worsened cirrhosis. The French newspaper Le Monde
Le Monde
Le Monde is a French daily evening newspaper owned by La Vie-Le Monde Group and edited in Paris. It is one of two French newspapers of record, and has generally been well respected since its first edition under founder Hubert Beuve-Méry on 19 December 1944...

quoted doctors as saying that he suffered from "an unusual blood disease and a liver problem".

After Arafat's death, the French Ministry of Defense
Minister of Defence (France)
The Minister of Defense and Veterans Affairs is the French government cabinet member charged with running the military of France....

 said that Arafat's medical file would be transmitted to only his next of kin
Next of kin
Next of kin is a term with many interpretations depending on the jurisdiction being referred to. In some jurisdictions, such as the United States, it is used to describe a person's closest living blood relative or relatives...

. It was determined that Arafat's nephew and PNA envoy to the UN, Nasser al-Qudwa
Nasser al-Qudwa
Nasser al-Qudwa whose full name is Sayed Nasser Arafat al-Qudwa from the Arafat al-Qudwa who are a family of notables from Gaza and of the Ashraf class. Nasser is a Palestinian diplomat and was the Permanent Observer from the Palestinian National Authority for the United Nations...

, was a close enough relative, thus working around Suha Arafat's silence on her husband's illness. Nasser al-Qudwa was given a copy of Arafat's 558-page medical file by the French Ministry of Defense.

Rumors about cause of death


Bassam Abu Sharif
Bassam Abu Sharif
Bassam Abu Sharif is a former senior adviser to the late Yasser Arafat and press officer of the Palestine Liberation Organization ....

, Arafat's former advisor, claimed that the Mossad poisoned Arafat through his medications by a lethal dose of thallium
Thallium poisoning
Thallium and its compounds are often highly toxic. Contact with skin is dangerous, and adequate ventilation should be provided when melting this metal. Many thallium compounds are highly soluble in water and are readily absorbed through the skin. Exposure to them should not exceed 0.1 mg per m² of...

. Another "senior Israeli physician" claimed in the article in Haaretz that it was "a classic case of food poisoning", probably caused by a meal eaten four hours before he fell ill that may have contained a toxin such as ricin
Ricin
Ricin , from the castor oil plant Ricinus communis, is a highly toxic, naturally occurring protein. A dose as small as a few grains of salt can kill an adult. The LD50 of ricin is around 22 micrograms per kilogram Ricin , from the castor oil plant Ricinus communis, is a highly toxic, naturally...

, rather than a standard bacterial poisoning. However, in the same week as the report in Haaretz, The New York Times published a separate report, also based on access to Arafat's medical records, which claimed that it was highly unlikely that Arafat had food poisoning
Foodborne illness
Foodborne illness is any illness resulting from the consumption of contaminated food, pathogenic bacteria, viruses, or parasites that contaminate food, as well as chemical or natural toxins such as poisonous mushrooms.-Causes:Foodborne illness usually arises from improper handling, preparation, or...

. Both publications further speculated that the cause of death may have been an infection of an unknown nature or origin. However, rumors of Arafat's poisoning have persisted, especially in the Arab world. Al-Kurdi lamented the fact that Arafat's widow Suha had refused an autopsy, which would have answered many questions regarding cause of death. In 2005, al-Kurdi called for the creation of an independent commission to carry out investigations concerning Arafat's suspicious death, stating, "any doctor would tell you that these are the symptoms of a poisoning".

John Loftus
John Loftus
John Joseph Loftus is an American author, former US government prosecutor and former Army intelligence officer. He is a president of The Intelligence Summit and, although he is not Jewish, a president of the Florida Holocaust Museum. Loftus also serves on the Board of Advisers to Public...

 reported on ABC radio that Arafat had died of AIDS. According to Loftus, the CIA had knowledge of his condition, and convinced Israel not to assassinate him and wait for his inevitable death of the disease, since the subsequent widespread connotations of the disease with homosexuality would discredit him. David Frum
David Frum
David J. Frum is a Canadian American journalist active in both the United States and Canadian political arenas. A former economic speechwriter for President George W. Bush, he is also the author of the first "insider" book about the Bush presidency...

, a former speechwriter for U.S. President George W. Bush, speculated that Arafat had contracted AIDS as a result of homosexual affairs with his bodyguards, based on Ion Mihai Pacepa
Ion Mihai Pacepa
Ion Mihai Pacepa is the highest-ranking intelligence official ever to have defected from the former Eastern Bloc. He is now a United States citizen, a writer, and a columnist....

's book Red Horizons in which Pacepa reported that he had a conversation with a Romanian intelligence officer in which this officer claimed to have video recordings of Arafat engaging in homosexual activities.

In September 2005, the Israeli newspaper Haaretz
Haaretz
Haaretz is Israel's oldest daily newspaper. It was founded in 1918 and is now published in both Hebrew and English in Berliner format. The English edition is published and sold together with the International Herald Tribune. Both Hebrew and English editions can be read on the Internet...

reported that French experts could not determine the cause of Arafat's death. The paper quoted an Israeli AIDS expert who claimed that Arafat bore all the symptoms of AIDS, a hypothesis later rejected in The New York Times
The New York Times
The New York Times is an American daily newspaper founded and continuously published in New York City since 1851. The New York Times has won 106 Pulitzer Prizes, the most of any news organization...

. On the issue of AIDS; a statement rejecting this suggestion was made in an article printed in numerous American news publications by an anonymous Israeli infectious disease expert; "An Israeli infectious disease specialist said he would have performed the test, if only to be thorough and to refute the rumors that surrounded the case. He said news accounts during Arafat's illness made him strongly suspect that Arafat had AIDS. But after studying the records, he said that was improbable, given the sudden onset of the intestinal troubles." This same article notes that it is also highly unlikely that Yasser Arafat died from poisoning. The article further states that Yasser Arafat died from a stroke linked to an unknown infection which could have possibly been standard food poisoning, which could kill an elderly man already in a general sick condition, which had been caused from living under Israeli siege for years in his Ramallah compound.

According to Israel Radio, "A former Palestinian intelligence officer, attorney Fahmi Shabana, says that Yasser Arafat's political rivals were responsible for his death, and that he was poisoned with polonium
Polonium
Polonium is a chemical element with the symbol Po and atomic number 84, discovered in 1898 by Marie Skłodowska-Curie and Pierre Curie. A rare and highly radioactive element, polonium is chemically similar to bismuth and tellurium, and it occurs in uranium ores. Polonium has been studied for...

. Shabana, who took part in the investigation into Arafat's death in a French hospital in 2004, said that several months after his death, the same cell murdered the head of military intelligence in Gaza
Gaza
Gaza , also referred to as Gaza City, is a Palestinian city in the Gaza Strip, with a population of about 450,000, making it the largest city in the Palestinian territories.Inhabited since at least the 15th century BC,...

, General Musa Arafat, a relative of the PLO leader, in order to prevent a blood feud
Blood Feud
"Blood Feud" is the twenty-second and final episode of The Simpsons second season. It originally aired on the Fox network in the United States on July 11, 1991. In the episode, Mr. Burns falls ill and desperately needs a blood transfusion. Homer discovers Bart has Burns' rare blood type and urges...

. The lawyer called on Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas
Mahmoud Abbas
Mahmoud Abbas , also known by the kunya Abu Mazen , has been the Chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organisation since 11 November 2004 and became President of the Palestinian National Authority on 15 January 2005 on the Fatah ticket.Elected to serve until 9 January 2009, he unilaterally...

 to reopen the investigation into Arafat's death."

In a recent report by the French doctors who treated him, rules out cancer and an acute infection,
and states it was a platelet disorder. The cause of this platelet disorder is unknown. No poison was detected.

Funeral


On 11 November, a French Army
French Army
The French Army, officially the Armée de Terre , is the land-based and largest component of the French Armed Forces.As of 2010, the army employs 123,100 regulars, 18,350 part-time reservists and 7,700 Legionnaires. All soldiers are professionals, following the suspension of conscription, voted in...

 Honor Guard
Honor guard
An honor guard, or ceremonial guard, is a ceremonial unit, usually military in nature and composed of volunteers who are carefully screened for their physical ability and dexterity...

 held a brief ceremony for Arafat, with his coffin draped in a Palestinian flag
Palestinian flag
The Palestinian flag is based on the Flag of the Arab Revolt, and is used to represent the Palestinian people , and the Palestinian Authority.-Description:...

. A military band played the French and Palestinian national anthems, and a Chopin funeral march. French President Jacques Chirac
Jacques Chirac
Jacques René Chirac is a French politician who served as President of France from 1995 to 2007. He previously served as Prime Minister of France from 1974 to 1976 and from 1986 to 1988 , and as Mayor of Paris from 1977 to 1995.After completing his studies of the DEA's degree at the...

 stood alone beside Arafat's coffin for about ten minutes in a last show of respect for Arafat, whom he hailed as "a man of courage". The next day, Arafat's body was flown from Paris
Paris
Paris is the capital and largest city in France, situated on the river Seine, in northern France, at the heart of the Île-de-France region...

 aboard a French Air Force
French Air Force
The French Air Force , literally Army of the Air) is the air force of the French Armed Forces. It was formed in 1909 as the Service Aéronautique, a service arm of the French Army, then was made an independent military arm in 1933...

 transport plane to Cairo
Cairo
Cairo , is the capital of Egypt and the largest city in the Arab world and Africa, and the 16th largest metropolitan area in the world. Nicknamed "The City of a Thousand Minarets" for its preponderance of Islamic architecture, Cairo has long been a centre of the region's political and cultural life...

, Egypt
Egypt
Egypt , officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, Arabic: , is a country mainly in North Africa, with the Sinai Peninsula forming a land bridge in Southwest Asia. Egypt is thus a transcontinental country, and a major power in Africa, the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East and the Muslim world...

 for a brief military funeral
Military funeral
A military funeral is a specially orchestrated funeral given by a country's military for a soldier, sailor, marine or airman who died in battle, a veteran, or other prominent military figures or heads of state. A military funeral may feature guards of honor, the firing of volley shots as a salute,...

 there, attended by several heads of states, prime ministers and foreign ministers. Egypt's top Muslim cleric Sayed Tantawi
Muhammad Sayyid Tantawy
Muhammad Sayyid Tantawy was an influential Islamic scholar in Egypt. From 1986 to 1996, he was the grand Mufti of Egypt...

 led mourning prayers preceding the funeral procession.
Israel refused Arafat's wish to be buried near the Al-Aqsa Mosque
Al-Aqsa Mosque
Al-Aqsa Mosque also known as al-Aqsa, is the third holiest site in Sunni Islam and is located in the Old City of Jerusalem...

 or anywhere in Jerusalem, citing widespread security concerns. Israel also feared that his burial would strengthen Palestinian claims to East Jerusalem. Israeli cabinet
Cabinet of Israel
The Cabinet of Israel is a formal body composed of government officials called ministers, chosen and led by the Prime Minister. The Prime Minister must appoint members based on the distribution of votes to political parties during legislative elections, and its composition must be approved by a...

 minister Tommy Lapid stated that "Jerusalem is the burial place of Jewish kings, not of Arab terrorists". Following the Cairo procession, Arafat was "temporarily" laid to rest within the Mukataa
Mukataa
Mukataa is the name used to refer to the offices and administrative centers of the Palestinian National Authority.Mukataas were mostly built during the British Mandate as Tegart forts and were used both as British government centers and as dwellings for the British administrative staff. Some...

 in Ramallah
Ramallah
Ramallah is a Palestinian city in the central West Bank located 10 kilometers north of Jerusalem, adjacent to al-Bireh. It currently serves as the de facto administrative capital of the Palestinian National Authority...

; tens of thousands of Palestinians attended the ceremony. Also attending were at least one Israeli peace activist (Uri Avnery
Uri Avnery
Uri Avnery is an Israeli writer and founder of the Gush Shalom peace movement.A member of the Irgun as a teenager, Avnery sat in the Knesset from 1965–74 and 1979–81...

, head of Gush Shalom
Gush Shalom
Gush Shalom is an Israeli peace activism group founded and led by former Irgun and Knesset Member and journalist, Uri Avnery, in 1993...

) and a Christian minister. Arafat was buried in a stone, rather than wooden coffin, and Palestinian spokesman Saeb Erekat
Saeb Erekat
Saeb Muhammad Salih Erekat Saeb Muhammad Salih Erekat Saeb Muhammad Salih Erekat (also Erakat; Ṣāʼib ʻUrayqāt or ʻRēqāt, born April 28, 1955 in Jordanian controlled East Jerusalem was the Palestinian chief of the PLO Steering and Monitoring Committee until 12 February 2011...

 said that Arafat would be reburied in East Jerusalem following the establishment of a Palestinian state. After Sheikh Taissir Tamimi
Sheikh Taissir Tamimi
Sheikh Taissir Dayut Tamimi . He is a supporter of the PA and an opponent of Hamas. His political views frequently bring him into conflict with Israel....

 discovered that Arafat was buried improperly and in a coffin—which is not in accordance with Islamic law
Sharia
Sharia law, is the moral code and religious law of Islam. Sharia is derived from two primary sources of Islamic law: the precepts set forth in the Quran, and the example set by the Islamic prophet Muhammad in the Sunnah. Fiqh jurisprudence interprets and extends the application of sharia to...

—Arafat was reburied on the morning of November 13, at around 3:00 am. On November 10, 2007, prior to the third anniversary of Arafat's death, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas unveiled a mausoleum
Mausoleum
A mausoleum is an external free-standing building constructed as a monument enclosing the interment space or burial chamber of a deceased person or persons. A monument without the interment is a cenotaph. A mausoleum may be considered a type of tomb or the tomb may be considered to be within the...

 for Arafat near his tomb in commemoration of him.

Successor


Upon Arafat's death, PLC Speaker
Speaker of the Palestinian Legislative Council
The Speaker of the Palestinian Legislative Council is the chairman of the Palestinian Legislative Council. As Chairman, the Speaker replaces the President of the Palestinian National Authority if the latter is unable to perform their role...

 Rawhi Fattouh succeeded Arafat as interim President of the PNA. PLO Secretary-General Mahmoud Abbas
Mahmoud Abbas
Mahmoud Abbas , also known by the kunya Abu Mazen , has been the Chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organisation since 11 November 2004 and became President of the Palestinian National Authority on 15 January 2005 on the Fatah ticket.Elected to serve until 9 January 2009, he unilaterally...

 was selected Chairman of the PLO, and Farouk Kaddoumi
Farouk Kaddoumi
Farouk al-Kaddoumi , also known as Abu al-Lutf, born in 1931. Secretary-general of Fatah's central committee and PLO's political department in Tunisia.-Early life:...

 became head of Fatah. The PNA and the leadership of Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon declared forty days of mourning for Arafat. Abbas won the January 2005 presidential election
Palestinian presidential election, 2005
The 2005 Palestinian presidential election — the first to be held since 1996 — took place on January 9, 2005 in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Voters elected PLO chairman Mahmoud Abbas as the new President of the Palestinian Authority to replace Yasser Arafat, who died on November 11,...

 by a comfortable margin, solidifying himself as the successor to Arafat as leader of the Palestinians.

See also


  • List of Fatah members
  • List of Palestinians
  • Nobel Prize controversies
    Nobel Prize controversies
    Subsequent to his death in 1896, the will of Swedish industrialist Alfred Nobel established the Nobel Prizes. Annual prizes were to be awarded for service to humanity in the fields of physics, chemistry, physiology or medicine, literature, and peace. Similarly, the Bank of Sweden Prize in Economic...

  • Person of the Year
    Person of the Year
    Person of the Year is an annual issue of the United States newsmagazine Time that features and profiles a person, couple, group, idea, place, or machine that "for better or for worse, ...has done the most to influence the events of the year."- History :The tradition of selecting a Man of the Year...

  • Yasser Arafat International Airport
    Yasser Arafat International Airport
    Yasser Arafat International Airport , formerly Gaza International Airport and Dahaniya International Airport, is located in the Gaza Strip, in Rafah close to the Egyptian border....


Further reading

  • Sela, Avraham
    Avraham Sela
    Avraham Sela is a scholar on the Middle East and international relations, currently the A. Ephraim and Shirley Diamond Professor of International Relations and a senior research fellow at the Harry S...

    . "Arafat, Yasser." The Continuum Political Encyclopedia of the Middle East. Ed. Sela. New York: Continuum
    Continuum International Publishing Group
    The Continuum International Publishing Group is a publisher of books, with its editorial offices in London and New York City. It had been owned by Nova Capital Management since 2005...

    , 2002. pp. 166–171.

External links