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Yasser Arafat and Palestinian Liberation

Yasser Arafat was the leader of the Palestinian Liberation Organization, arguably the face of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Mohammed Yasser Ararat Rahman Abdel, popularly known as Yasser Arafat, was the chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO). He started chairing the organisation from 1969 until the year, 2004. This was a boisterous period in which clashes with neighboring Israel were widespread.

Arafat he was also the president of the Palestine National Authority (PNA). He was president of this organisation from 1994 to 2004. Ideologically, Yasser was an Arab nationalist. He was married to Suha Arafat. Their union birthed Zahwa Arafat, who was born in 1995.




Yasser was born in Cairo, Egypt. He was birthed into a family in which his father; Abdel Raouf al-Qudwa al-Hussein, was a Palestinian from Gaza city; and his mother, Zahwa Abul Saud was from a Jerusalem-based family. His mother had died when he was four years of age.


Ararat’s first visit to Jerusalem was when his father sent him off there. Ararat’s father was not able to raise the seven children he had brought up. He sent Ararat and his brother to their late mother’s family in the Moroccan Quarter of the Old City. In the city, they lived with their uncle for four years.


In the year; 1944, Yasser had enrolled in the University of King Fuad I. During his stay in the university, he frequently engaged Jews in discussions and read publications. He graduated from the university in 1950.


By 1946, Arafat started his journey as an Arab nationalist. He began procuring weapons to be smuggled into the former British Mandate of Palestine. During the 1948 Arab-Israeli war, he left the university to enter Palestine to join Arab forces. He entered Palestine along with other Arabs. Instead of joining the ranks of the Palestinian Fedayeen, Arafat fought alongside the Muslim Brotherhood.


After returning to the university, Arafat studied civil engineering. He served as president of the General Union of Palestinian Students (GUPS) from the year, 1952 to 1956. After Arafat had graduated with a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering, he was given a call of duty to fight with Egyptian forces during the Suez crisis. Nevertheless, he never actually fought.




In 1958, Arafat and some other associates had founded Al-Fatah. It was an underground network that supported armed resistance against Israel. By mid-1960s, the ground had congealed enough that Arafat left Kuwait. The group later became a full-time revolutionary and began invading into Israel.


Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO)


The year 1964 was ground-breaking for Arafat. It marked the founding of Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO). The group brought together a number of groups which aimed at a free Palestinian state. Three years later, the six-day war exploded. Israel had pitted against the Arab states, once again. This time, Israel triumphed. Aftermath, Arafat regained control of the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO). He became the chairman of the PLO executive committee in 1969.


After moving operations to Jordan, Yasser continually developed the PLO. Eventually, Arafat was expelled by King Hussein. This forced him to move the PLO to Lebanon. The PLO-driven bombings, shootings and assassinations against Israel became commonplace events. The notable one was the 1972 murder of Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympic games.


Later on, the PLO was driven out of Lebanon. This occurred in the early 1980s. Soon after, Arafat launched the intifada (which means “tremor”) which moved a protest against Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Continual violence in the streets was Israeli’s mark of retaliation.


The year, 1988, was a year of tremendous change for Arafat and the PLO. Arafat read a speech at the United Nations declaring that all involved parties could live together in peace. This resulted in Oslo Accords of 1993, which allowed for Palestine self-rule and elections in the Palestine territory. Around this time, he had married a 27-year old Palestinian Christian. He remained married until his dying day.




After issuing a second intifada in 2000, and the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, Arafat was confined by Israel to his headquarters in Ramallah.


Arafat fell ill with flu-like symptoms in October 2004. His situation worsened. Thereafter, he was transported to Paris, France, for medical treatment. The following month, on November 11, he died. He died at the age of 75.






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