- NAME: Yasser Arafat
- OCCUPATION: Political Leader
- BIRTH DATE: August 24, 1929
- DEATH DATE: November 11, 2004
- EDUCATION: University of Faud I (Cairo University)
- PLACE OF BIRTH: Cairo, Egypt
- PLACE OF DEATH: Paris, France
- Full Name: Muammad 'Abd al-Ra'f al-Qudwah al-usayn
- AKA: Yasser Arafat
- Full Name: Mohammed Yasser Abdel Rahman Abdel Raouf Arafat al-Qudwa al-Husseini
- AKA: Abu Ammar
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Yasser Arafat was chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization from 1969 until his death in 2004, a tumultuous period in which clashes with neighboring Israel were prevalent.
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The year 1988 marked a change for Arafat and the PLO, when Arafat gave a speech at the United Nations declaring that all involved parties could live together in peace. The resulting peace process led to the Oslo Accords of 1993, which allowed for Palestinian self-rule and elections in the Palestinian territory (in which Arafat was elected president). (Around this time, in 1990, Arafat, at 61 years of age, married a 27-year-old Palestinian Christian, remaining married until his dying day.)
Arafat and Israel’s Shimon Peres and Yitzhak Rabin all received the Nobel Prize for Peace, and the following year they signed a new agreement, Oslo II, which laid the foundation for a string of peace treaties between the PLO and Israeli, including the Hebron Protocol (1997), the Wye River Memorandum (1998), the Camp David Accords (2000) and the "roadmap for peace" (2002).
Regardless of treaties and the best-laid plans between the two parties, peace was always elusive, and, 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.
In October 2004, Arafat fell ill with flulike symptoms and, his situation worsening, was transported to Paris, France, for medical treatment. He died there the following month, on November 11.
In the years since his death, conspiracy theories regarding the true cause of Arafat's demise have abounded, many holding Israel responsible. In November 2013, researchers in Switzerland released a report revealing that tests conducted on Arafat's remains and some of his belongings support the widely held thoery that the late Egyptian leader was poisoned, with evidence from the report suggesting that radioactive polonium—a highly toxic substance—had been used. In an interview with the Reuters news agency published on November 6, 2013, Suha Arafat, Yasser Arafat's widow, spoke about the recent findings: "This has confirmed all our doubts," she stated. "It is scientifically proved that he didn't die a natural death, and we have scientific proof that this man was killed."
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