Yasser Arafat

Yasser Arafat speaking at the World Economic Forum in 2001

Yasser Arafat[note 1] (24 August 1929 – 11 November 2004) is best known as the first leader of the Palestinian people. He was Chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) from 1969 to 2004. In 1993 he also became president of the Palestinian National Authority (PNA).

Arafat was born in Jerusalem, Gaza or Cairo.[1] He studied civil engineering at Cairo University. He worked as an engineer in Kuwait.

In 1994, Yasser Arafat was one of the three recipients of the Nobel Peace Prize. The others were Yitzhak Rabin and Shimon Peres. They got the prize for their peace efforts in the Middle East.[2]

The views of him are somewhat divided. Some people see him as a hero, who fought for the cause of the Palestinian people. Others see him as a terrorist, who promoted the use of violence to reach his goals. Still others think he was a charismatic leader, but he made too many concessions to the Israeli government.

Yasser died in Paris. The next day he was buried at his compound in due to a hasty funeral in Ramallah on November 12, he was reburied on November 13, around 3:30 am. He was buried in a special casket, with the hope of being reburied in Jerusalem one day when an independent State of Palestine with East Jerusalem as its capital will be established.

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  1. Also spelled Yassir Arafat (Lua error in package.lua at line 80: module 'Module:Language/data/iana scripts' not found.). He was born Mohammed Abdel-Raouf Arafat al-Qudwa al-Husseini (Lua error in package.lua at line 80: module 'Module:Language/data/iana scripts' not found.). He is also known by the kunya Abu `Ammar (Lua error in package.lua at line 80: module 'Module:Language/data/iana scripts' not found.).


  1. Most sources including Tony Walker, Andrew Gowers, Alan Hart and Said K. Aburish indicate Cairo as Arafat's place of birth, but others list his birthplace as Jerusalem as well as Gaza. See here and here for more information.
  2. NobelPrize.org, "Yasser Arafat"; retrieved 2012-9-19.

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