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Thursday, 11 November, 2004, 19:10 GMT
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Timeline: Yasser Arafat
Yasser Arafat born in Cairo Egypt
Yasser Arafat the fifth child of a Palestinian merchant is born Muhammad Abdul Rahman Abdul Raouf Arafat alQudwa alHussei. Arafat will later claim he was born in Jerusalem.
He is sent to Jerusalem when his mother dies
Yasser Arafat's mother dies and the young boy is sent with his infant brother Fathi to live with an uncle in Jerusalem the capital of Palestine which is then under British rule.
Fights in the first ArabIsraeli war
Following World War II the State of Israel is proclaimed and the first ArabIsraeli war erupts. Arafat is already believed to have been smuggling arms into Palestine to fight the British and the Jews. In 1948 Arafat left his studies in Egypt to fight in Gaza. Arafat's father is killed in the first ArabIsraeli war.
Arafat returns to Cairo
Arafat moves back to Egypt where he is drawn to the Muslim Brotherhood. In 1952 he studies engineering at Cairo University where he organises and leads the Palestinian Students League. He reportedly serves in the Egyptian army during the 1956 Suez crisis and the ArabIsraeli war which follows. Arafat gets his degree in 1956 and soon after moves to Kuwait where he runs his own contracting business.
Arafat helps found the Fatah movement
Around this time Arafat and his friends form Fatah an underground network which seeks a free Palestine for the Palestinians. In 1959 the group begins publishing a magazine advocating armed struggle against Israel.
Palestine Liberation Organisation is founded
The Palestine Liberation Organisation is founded under the sponsorship of the Arab League. It brings together a number of groups seeking Palestinian liberation. At the end of the year Arafat moves to Jordan.
Fatah creates a military wing
Fatah's military wing alAsifa the Storm begins operations launching guerrilla raids against Israel mainly from Jordan Lebanon and Gaza which is then under Egyptian control.
Israel defeats Arab states in SixDay War
Fatah emerges as the most powerful and organised group within the Palestinian movement after the defeat of the Arab states in the SixDay War in which Israel captured the West Bank East Jerusalem the Gaza Strip Sinai and the Golan Heights.
12 March, 1968
Arafats base in Jordan attacked by Israeli army
The Israeli army attacks a PLO base in the Jordanian town of Karameh. Despite the heavy losses suffered by the Palestinians it is seen as a victory for Arafat and his men inspiring thousands to join the PLO.
4 February, 1969
Arafat becomes PLO leader
Arafat is elected chairman of the PLO. He transforms the organisation into a force that makes the Palestinian cause known worldwide.
PLO is expelled from Jordan
Concerned about the PLOs tactics and growing power the Jordanian king orders his army to attack Palestinian forces based in the country. In what is referred to as Black September the PLO is expelled from Jordan and relocates to Lebanon.
5 September, 1972
Palestinian gunmen kill Israeli athletes
In the early 1970s the PLO is widely condemned for a series of hijackings bombings and killings most notably the kidnapping and killing of 11 Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympics. Arafats involvement in these events is unclear he refused to discuss such attacks though he denounced terrorism as a tactic.
Arafat addresses UN General Assembly
In a speech to the UN General Assembly Arafat says he is "bearing an olive branch and a freedom fighter's gun. He warns the assembly to not let the olive branch fall from my hand". That same month the General Assembly recognises the right of the Palestinian people to sovereignty and national independence. The PLO is given observer status at the UN.
Israel invades Lebanon
Israeli Defence Minister Ariel Sharon launches an invasion of Lebanon his troops push all the way to the capital Beirut. Arafats forces are driven out of Lebanon where they had established a state within a state from which they launched attacks against Israel. Arafat moves to Tunisia where he sets up new headquarters.
First intifada is launched
Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza launch an uprising against Israeli occupation. Arafat associates himself with the intifada it lasts six years.
12 December, 1988
Arafat renounces terrorism
In a speech before the UN General Assembly Arafat renounces terrorism and acknowledges Israels right to exist calling for negotiations. The following day US President Ronald Reagan ends a 13year ban on talks with the PLO.
Arafat backs Saddam after Kuwait invasion
Yasser Arafat supports the Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein when he invades Kuwait. This leads Gulf States to cut off funds for the PLO undermining the international acceptance the Palestinian cause built up over so many years.
Arafat secretly marries Suha Tawil
Arafat takes everybody by surprise when marries his 28yearold secretary in Tunis. Suha Tawil who is from a prominent Christian Palestinian family converts to Islam.
13 September, 1993
Israel and PLO sign peace accord
After months of secret talks in Oslo Israel and the PLO agree on an interim peace deal which establishes a framework for Palestinian selfrule in the West Bank and Gaza. Yasser Arafat and Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin shake hands on the lawn of the White House.
1 July, 1994
Arafat returns to Gaza
Arafat returns in triumph to Gaza for the first time in 25 years. The Palestinian Authority is established.
10 December, 1994
Arafat awarded Nobel Peace Prize
The Palestinian leader is awarded the Nobel Peace Prize together with Yitzhak Rabin and the Israeli Foreign Affairs Minister Shimon Peres. A year later Rabin is assassinated by an ultranationalist Jewish gunman.
1 July, 1995
His daughter is born in Paris
Suha Arafat gives birth in Paris to the Palestinian leaders first and only child. She is named after his mother Zahwa.
20 January, 1996
Arafat elected Palestinian Authority leader
In the first Palestinian general elections Arafat is overwhelmingly elected president of the Palestinian Authority. Later that year sections of the PLO charter calling for the destruction of Israel are removed.
23 October, 1998
Landforpeace deal signed
Arafat and Israeli Prime Minster Binyamin Netanyahu agree an interim landforpeace deal. The Wye River Accords are never implemented Israel freezes the agreed withdrawal accusing the Palestinians of failing to crack down on violence.
11 July, 2000
US pushes for final accord
US President Bill Clinton convenes the Israeli and Palestinian leaders to Camp David to reach a final peace deal. After nine days of talks Yasser Arafat and Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak fail to reach agreement.
28 September, 2000
Second intifada erupts
Palestinians riot after Israeli opposition leader Ariel Sharon visits the Temple Mount or Haram alSharif in the old city of Jerusalem. The clashes escalate into a second Palestinian uprising. A few months later Ariel Sharon wins the Israeli elections.
3 December, 2001
Arafat confined to Ramallah
Following a wave on suicide bombings targeting Israelis Israel destroys Arafats three helicopters in Gaza effectively confining him to his West Bank headquarters in Ramallah. Israel accuses Arafat of instigating terror.
Palestinians urged to replace Arafat
US President George Bush calls on Palestinians to replace Yasser Arafat as their leader.
Palestinian PM appointed
Reacting to pressure from Washington the Palestinian Authority appoints a prime minister. Mahmoud Abbas better known as Abu Mazen takes up the powersharing role in April 2003 but resigns later in the year due to differences with Arafat. He is succeeded by Ahmed Qurei also known as Abu Ala. Arafat remains the key decision maker.
Arafat falls ill
Yasser Arafat collapses and loses consciousness for a brief period a few days after being diagnosed with gallstones. Doctors say he has a blood disorder but cannot make a diagnosis. On 29 October he is airlifted to a military hospital in France for treatment. A few days later he slips into a coma.
11 November, 2004
Arafat dies in hospital
Two days after suffering a brain haemorrhage and following many contradictory reports about his condition Yasser Arafat dies of multiple organ failure at 0230 GMT.
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