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  Who was Yasser Arafat?
Updated 11 November 2004, 07.27
Yasser Arafat is the Palestinian leader
Who was he?

Yasser Arafat had been the leader of the Palestinian people since the 1960s.

What did he do?

Arafat headed the Palestinian Authority.

Why was he important?

His supporters said he was the only person who made the world aware of the Palestinian struggle. They think he did more than anyone else to highlight the problems their people face.

What is the Palestinian's struggle about?

Palestinians do not have a country to call their own. Most of the land they come from, which they call Palestine, was given to Israel in 1948.

The rest of the land, known as the West Bank and Gaza Strip, was captured by Israel in a war in 1967.

Where did Arafat live?

For the last three years, he had been kept in his headquarters in the West Bank by the Israeli military.

What was his relationship like with Israel and the US?

Israel didn't think he was doing enough to stop Palestinian suicide bombers attacking Israeli targets.

The Israeli government, and the US, refused to work with Arafat and called for a new Palestinian leader to take over.

When did he get sick?

In recent weeks Arafat got really ill so Israel allowed him to leave and travel to Paris, France, for medical treatment.

Israel

What happens next?

Arafat's death leaves a problem back in the Palestinian territories, as there isn't really anyone ready to take over from him.

A number of different Palestinian groups could try to claim control of the territories.

There may even be violence as the groups fight it out for which of them is the most important.

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Past StoriesBORDER=0
Yasser Arafat's health 'worsens'
Arafat arrives at French hospital
Palestinian leader Arafat unwell
Israel votes to pull out of Gaza

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