83 Facts About Yasser Arafat


Mohammed Abdel Rahman Abdel Raouf Arafat al-Qudwa al-Husseini, popularly known as Yasser Arafat or by his kunya Abu Ammar, was a Palestinian political leader.


Yasser Arafat was Chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization from 1969 to 2004 and President of the Palestinian National Authority from 1994 to 2004.


From 1983 to 1993, Yasser Arafat based himself in Tunisia, and began to shift his approach from open conflict with the Israelis to negotiation.


Yasser Arafat engaged in a series of negotiations with the Israeli government to end the conflict between it and the PLO.


The success of the negotiations in Oslo led to Yasser Arafat being awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, alongside Israeli Prime Ministers Yitzhak Rabin and Shimon Peres, in 1994.


In late 2004, after effectively being confined within his Ramallah compound for over two years by the Israeli army, Yasser Arafat fell into a coma and died.


Yasser Arafat's father, Abdel Raouf al-Qudwa al-Husseini, was a Palestinian from Gaza City, whose mother, Yasser's paternal grandmother, was Egyptian.


Yasser Arafat's father battled in the Egyptian courts for 25 years to claim family land in Egypt as part of his inheritance but was unsuccessful.


Yasser Arafat worked as a textile merchant in Cairo's religiously mixed Sakakini District.


Yasser Arafat was the second-youngest of seven children and was, along with his younger brother Fathi, the only offspring born in Cairo.


Jerusalem was the family home of his mother, Zahwa Abul Saud, who died from a kidney ailment in 1933, when Yasser Arafat was four years of age.


Yasser Arafat had a deteriorating relationship with his father; when he died in 1952, Yasser Arafat did not attend the funeral, nor did he visit his father's grave upon his return to Gaza.


In 1944, Yasser Arafat enrolled in the University of King Fuad I and graduated in 1950.


However, instead of joining the ranks of the Palestinian fedayeen, Yasser Arafat fought alongside the Muslim Brotherhood, although he did not join the organization.


Yasser Arafat took part in combat in the Gaza area.


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


In 1990, Yasser Arafat married Suha Tawil, a Palestinian Christian, when he was 61 and Suha, 27.


Yasser Arafat's mother introduced her to him in France, after which she worked as his secretary in Tunis.


Since Yasser 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 and Hosni Mubarak did so.


However, Yasser Arafat dropped Abdel Rahman and Abdel Raouf from his name as well.


Yasser Arafat originally attempted to obtain a visa to Canada and later Saudi Arabia, but was unsuccessful in both attempts.


Yasser Arafat had met Abu Iyad while attending Cairo University and Abu Jihad in Gaza.


Yasser Arafat did not want to alienate them, and sought their undivided support by avoiding ideological alliances.


Yasser Arafat continued this process in other Arab countries, such as Libya and Syria.


Fatah's manpower was incremented further after Yasser Arafat decided to offer new recruits much higher salaries than members of the Palestine Liberation Army, the regular military force of the Palestine Liberation Organization, which was created by the Arab League in 1964.


Yasser Arafat was detained in Syria's Mezzeh Prison when a Palestinian Syrian Army officer, Yusef Urabi, was killed.


Barely a week after the defeat, Yasser Arafat crossed the Jordan River in disguise and entered the West Bank, where he set up recruitment centers in Hebron, the Jerusalem area and Nablus, and began attracting both fighters and financiers for his cause.


Yahya Hammuda took his place and invited Yasser Arafat to join the organization.


Some have alleged that Yasser Arafat himself was on the battlefield, but the details of his involvement are unclear.


The battle was covered in detail by Time, and Yasser Arafat's face appeared on the cover of the 13 December 1968 issue, bringing his image to the world for the first time.


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


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 Yasser Arafat to become Deputy Prime Minister of Jordan.


Yasser Arafat refused, citing his belief in the need for a Palestinian state with Palestinian leadership.


Yasser Arafat, bowing to pressure from Arab governments, publicly condemned the hijackings and suspended the PFLP from any guerrilla actions for a few weeks.


Yasser Arafat had taken the same action after the PFLP attacked Athens Airport.


Israel and the US have alleged that Yasser Arafat was involved in the 1973 Khartoum diplomatic assassinations, in which five diplomats and five others were killed.


Israel claimed that Yasser Arafat was in ultimate control over these organizations and therefore had not abandoned terrorism.


An example of that, we find in March 1973 that Yasser Arafat tried to arrange for a meeting between the President of Iraq and the Emir of Kuwait in order to resolve their disputes.


Yasser Arafat became the first representative of a non-governmental organization to address a plenary session of the UN General Assembly.


Yasser Arafat's speech increased international sympathy for the Palestinian cause.


Yasser Arafat was Amin's best man at his wedding in Uganda in 1975.


Yasser Arafat was reluctant to respond with force, but many other Fatah and PLO members felt otherwise.


The IDF achieved this goal, and Yasser Arafat withdrew PLO forces north into Beirut.


Yasser Arafat returned to Lebanon a year after his eviction from Beirut, this time establishing himself in the northern Lebanese city of Tripoli.


Yasser Arafat did not return to Lebanon after his second expulsion, though many Fatah fighters did.


In 1985 Yasser Arafat narrowly survived an Israeli assassination attempt when Israeli Air Force F-15s bombed his Tunis headquarters as part of Operation Wooden Leg, leaving 73 people dead; Yasser Arafat had gone out jogging that morning.


Yasser Arafat had considered Abu Jihad as a PLO counterweight to local Palestinian leadership in the territories, and led a funeral procession for him in Damascus.


Yasser Arafat accepted UN Security Council Resolution 242 and Israel's right "to exist in peace and security" and 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.


On 2 April 1989, Yasser 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.


Yasser Arafat made this decision without the consent of other leading members of Fatah and the PLO.


Yasser Arafat's decision severed relations with Egypt and many of the oil-producing Arab states that supported the US-led coalition.


Yasser 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 during a sandstorm.


Two pilots and an engineer were killed; Yasser Arafat was bruised and shaken.


Yasser Arafat 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.


Yasser Arafat became the President and Prime Minister of the PNA, the Commander of the PLA and the Speaker of the PLC.


Yasser Arafat established an executive committee or cabinet composed of twenty members.


Yasser Arafat began subordinating non-governmental organizations that worked in education, health, and social affairs under his authority by replacing their elected leaders and directors with PNA officials loyal to him.


Yasser Arafat then appointed himself chairman of the Palestinian financial organization that was created by the World Bank to control most aid money towards helping the new Palestinian entity.


Yasser Arafat established a Palestinian police force, named the Preventive Security Service, that became active on 13 May 1994.


Yasser Arafat assigned Mohammed Dahlan and Jibril Rajoub to head the PSS.


On 20 January 1996, Yasser Arafat was elected president of the PNA, with an overwhelming 88.2 percent majority.


Yasser Arafat continued negotiations with Netanyahu's successor, Ehud Barak, at the Camp David 2000 Summit in July 2000.


Yasser Arafat rejected Barak's offer and refused to make an immediate counter-offer.


Mahmoud al-Zahar, a Hamas leader in Gaza, stated in September 2010 that Yasser Arafat had instructed Hamas to launch what he termed "military operations" against Israel in 2000 when Yasser Arafat felt that negotiations with Israel would not succeed.


Yasser Arafat was enjoying the support of groups that, given his own history, would normally have been quite wary of dealing with or supporting him.


Yasser Arafat was finally allowed to leave his compound on 2 May 2002 after intense negotiations led to a settlement: six PFLP militants, including the organization's secretary-general Ahmad Sa'adat, wanted by Israel, who had been holed up with Yasser Arafat in his compound, would be transferred to international custody in Jericho.


Yasser Arafat issued such a call on 8 May On 19 September 2002, the IDF largely demolished the compound with armored bulldozers in order to isolate Arafat.


In March 2003, Yasser Arafat ceded his post as Prime Minister to Mahmoud Abbas amid pressures by the US.


Yasser Arafat had a mixed relationship with the leaders of other Arab nations.


In 2003 the International Monetary Fund conducted an audit of the PNA and stated that Yasser Arafat had diverted $900 million in public funds to a special bank account controlled by himself and the PNA Chief Economic Financial adviser.


Fuad Shubaki, former financial aide to Yasser Arafat, told the Israeli security service Shin Bet that Yasser Arafat used several million dollars of aid money to buy weapons and support militant groups.


The documents showed that, in 2001, Yasser Arafat personally approved payments to Tanzim militants.


The Israeli government tried for decades to assassinate Yasser Arafat, including attempting to intercept and shoot down private aircraft and commercial airliners on which he was believed to be traveling.


The first reports of Yasser Arafat's failing health by his doctors for what his spokesman said was influenza came on 25 October 2004, after he vomited during a staff meeting.


Yasser Arafat was admitted to the Percy military hospital in Clamart, a suburb of Paris.


French doctors said that Yasser Arafat suffered from a blood condition known as disseminated intravascular coagulation, although it is inconclusive what brought about the condition.


When Yasser Arafat's death was announced, the Palestinian people went into a state of mourning, with Qur'anic mourning prayers emitted from mosque loudspeakers throughout the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, and tires burned in the streets.


The next day, Yasser Arafat's body was flown from Paris aboard a French Air Force transport plane to Cairo, Egypt, for a brief military funeral there, attended by several heads of states, prime ministers and foreign ministers.


Yasser Arafat was buried in a stone, rather than wooden, coffin, and Palestinian spokesman Saeb Erekat said that Yasser Arafat would be reburied in East Jerusalem following the establishment of a Palestinian state.


In September 2005, an Israeli AIDS expert claimed that Yasser Arafat bore all the symptoms of AIDS based on obtained medical records.


On 4 July 2012, Al Jazeera published the results of a nine-month investigation, which revealed that none of the causes of Yasser Arafat's death suggested in several rumors could be true.


Vladimir Uiba, the head of the Federal Medical and Biological Agency, said that Yasser Arafat died of natural causes and the agency had no plans to conduct further tests.


In March 2015, a French prosecutor closed a 2012 French inquiry, stating that French experts had determined Yasser Arafat's death was of natural causes, and that the polonium and lead traces found were environmental.