Palestinian politician, historical leader of the struggle of his people against the israeli occupation, born in Jerusalem (by then, under British control) on August 24, 1929, with the name of Mohammed Abed Ar'ouf Arafat died in Paris on November 11, 2004. In 1969 he became head of the Organization for the liberation of Palestine (OLP); political training that leads the representation of the claims of the Palestinian people, and from 1994 until his death he held the Presidency of the Palestinian National Authority (PNA); governing body of the autonomous territories.
Raised in a wealthy family of Palestinian merchants and landowners, some biographers placed in Gaza or Cairo the place where was born the sixth of seven children of the Arafat and even the person concerned encouraged the riddle of the origin of your crib offering different versions throughout his life. In any case, the young Mohammed Abed Ar'ouf spent the first years of existence between Cairo, Gaza, and Jerusalem, where completed the first stages of its formation and took contact with Pioneer movements of Palestinian resistance against the occupation forces Hebrew.
He took part in the first Arab-Israeli war and the Palestinian defeat, his family took refuge in Lebanon and he was established in the Egyptian capital to complete his university studies in Civil Engineering. From Cairo he organized and led some student organizations serving you coverage for political and paramilitary activities involving guerrillas (Fedayeen) the creation of cells to plan attacks against Israel. He adopted the name of Yasser (lucky) for those years, and strengthened its position among the leaders of the Palestinian resistance.
When the second Arab-Israeli war broke out in 1956, Arafat fought as a volunteer in the ranks of the Egyptian army, where he served as an expert in demolitions and explosives and graduated with the rank of Lieutenant. Ended the conflict moved to Kuwait, the Emirate which secured a loose economic position working as engineer and Builder and where, along with some partners, launched the bases of the liberation movement Fatah (conquest). Among his fellow named Abu Ammar, became leader and spokesman for the new organization of the Palestinian struggle in the Constituent Congress held in October 1959.
Termed subversive in the majority of Arab countries, in 1963 Fatah achieved the recognition of the Algerian Government and set up an office in the capital of the country. From there, Arafat was able to contact the leaders of the Syrian Baath party which had just taken power in a military coup and offered coverage Palestinian leader to launch their raids guerrilla against Israel. A few months later, between May and June 1964, and under the auspices of Egypt, met in Jerusalem the first national Palestinian Council (CNP) in which it was constituted the Organization for the liberation of Palestine (OLP) as upper body and legitimate representative of the Palestinian people. Four years later, at the meeting of the fourth NPC, convened in Cairo, approved the entry of Al - Fatah in the PLO.
At that time, defeat of the Arabs against Israel in "The six day war" was still recent and Arafat came the PLO with a more belligerent speech and unshakeable disposition of radicalizing the movements of fight against the occupation. Become the standard bearer of the national liberation movement, Fatah leader was elected President of the Executive Committee of the PLO in February 1969, during the fifth NPC met again in Cairo. Meanwhile, the Fedayeen of Arafat and the radical Popular Front for the liberation of Palestine (PFLP) threw its military operations against Israel from Jordan and the Hashemite Kingdom forced to withstand the retaliation by the israeli army. The determination of the King Hussein do away with this awkward situation, Palestinians and Jordanians engulfed in an open conflict which, despite the mediation of Nasser to end the war between Arabs, not completed until in the summer of 1971, the Jordanian army defeated completely the militias of Arafat and his allies.
With very reduced military capability, Arafat moved his troops to Lebanon and opened a two-front of action, military and diplomatic, which managed to internationalize the dimension of the cause of the Palestinian people. Thus, the Fedayeen maintained operations guerrilla in Israel while their leader moderated political discourse to achieve membership and recognition of the legitimacy of the PLO as the representative of the Palestinian people on the outside. However, the moderation of the rais was interpreted as treason by the PFLP and other radical organizations, who had opted to publicize to the world the Palestinian claim by terrorist actions such as the one perpetrated in 1972 during the Munich Olympics. In 1974, extremist movements rejected the authority of Arafat and the PLO left. That same year, and since most of the Arab States to do so, the United Nations General Assembly approved the recognition of the PLO - which acquired the status of permanent observer - as legitimate representative of the Palestinian people, as well as the rights of this people to self-determination, national sovereignty and the return of refugees. During the rest of the 1970s, Arafat is lavished on travel and international visits to formalize its leadership at the head of the Palestinian cause who, on the other hand, gained adherents at the time that Israel was continuing its policy of settlements and territorial occupation.
Meanwhile, Lebanon supported a situation of civil war between the Muslim faction, supported by the PLO, and Christian minorities that had the backing of the army and the Lebanese nationalist party. After several years of fierce fighting and constant threat to the order of the region, in June 1982, Israel launched the peace for Galilee plan and invaded Lebanon with the aim of ending Palestinian military camps. The Hebrew intervention resulted in more than 30,000 victims, which included 5,000 guerrillas of the PLO, and Arafat managed to save the israeli siege thanks to a complex orchestrated multinational operation to evacuate Palestinian leader in Beirut. Accompanied by his militia returned to Lebanon a year later and taken refuge this time in Tripoli, was permanently expelled from the country through the joint action of Syria and one increasingly larger number of Palestinian dissidents. Hidden in Greek-flagged freighter, the flight of Arafat and his 4,000 men on December 20, 1983 was again organized with support of the international community.
Moved his headquarters general in order to rebuild the weakened structure of the PLO and Tunisia, he sought support in the leaders of Egypt and Jordan, once considered enemies of the Palestinian cause - the first after signing agreements of Camp David with Israel (1978) and the second after the bloody defeat of the Fedayeen by the Hashemite (1970) army - and managed to relaunch their political figure after the PNC rejected his resignation as President in 1984 of the Executive Committee of the PLO. But the tense calm in the Middle East jumped back into the air when in October 1985 the israeli aviation bombed the office of the PLO in Tunisia, with seventy people dead, and the radical Palestinian dissent organizations responded with a string of attacks and kidnappings ("Aquilla Lauro"). Arafat again lost the warm support of Arab States for its also warm rejection of terrorism as an instrument of political action.
Domestically it did have to rebuild their relations with the majority of dissident factions during the XVIII CNP, called "Council of unit" and meeting in Algiers in April 1987. And reunification came only a few months before broke out in the occupied territories of Gaza and the West Bank "the fight of stones against rifles"; the Palestinian popular uprising known as the Intifada, which represented a radical change in the internal and external design of the struggle for the liberation of the Palestinian people. In the new scenario drawn by the social rebellion, the CNP XIX, met in Algiers on November 15, 1988, he proclaimed the State of Palestine and accepted the resolutions of the United Nations, involving the recognition of the State of Israel. On 1 April 1989, Arafat was proclaimed in Tunisia President of the "Arab State of Palestine", while again three different factions, Fatah (through the national unified command), the Islamic resistance (Hamas) movement and the fundamentalist group Islamic Jihad, disputed control of the Intifada.
The successful negotiator journey Arafat again undertaken by various countries to promote the holding of a peace conference in the Middle East, under the auspices of the United Nations, suffered a resounding setback when the Palestinian leader expressed his support for Saddam Hussein in the Gulf crisis. To regain the trust of the international community had to accept, as asked Israel, Palestinian negotiators standing within the Jordanian delegation, and not as a separate delegation to the peace summit convened in two phases - Madrid and Washington - in 1991.
Stalled Arab-Israeli peace process during the next two years, at the end of 1993 Arafat and Yitzhak Rabin relocks negotiating with us mediation. Both leaders signed a document of mutual recognition in Oslo and on 13 September met in Washington to sign the peace accords which, among other things, included the institution of an organ of self-government in the Palestinian autonomous territories: the ANP. Putting an end to a long exile, Arafat returned triumphant to Gaza on July 1, 1994, and four days later was sworn in as President of the Executive Council of the new ANP. That same year, Arafat, Isaac Rabin and Simon Peres received the Nobel Peace Prize in recognition of his negotiating work. Palestinian and israeli leaders were also awarded the Prince of Asturias Award for international cooperation.
During the last years of the century, the timing of the process of pacification in the area remained immersed in a spiral of progress and setbacks that identical path, quote upward or downward political figure of Yasir Arafat. Diplomatic efforts continued with the signing of new agreements that determined the first transfers of competences to the ANP (Cairo agreement of 1994) and the territorial limits of their application (Taba Agreement - Oslo II - 1995). But also continued terrorist actions claimed by the Palestinian fundamentalist groups Hamas and Islamic Jihad, which opposed the armed struggle and attacks suicidal policy of reconciliation of the PLO.
In January 1996, Palestinians in the autonomous territories held the first parliamentary elections in which Fatah managed to 67 of the 88 seats in the Legislative Council and Arafat was elected President of the Executive Council of the ANP with the backing of 88% of the votes. On 12 February of that same year, the rais vowed the charge and may 10, presented in Parliament his new Government. Confirmation of Yasir Arafat's leadership at the head of the Palestinian positions on the complex path to peace coincided in time with the forced change of its israeli partner. Isaac Rabin was murdered at the hands of an ultra-Orthodox Jew in November 1995 and the assassination precipitated the fall of the labour Executive and the change in orientation of the Hebrew Government in the guidelines for the negotiation process. On 18 June 1996, the leader of the Likud, Benjamin Netanyahu, was sworn in as new Prime Minister with a political program that included the construction of new Jewish settlements in Gaza and the West Bank; a provocation that immediately managed to destroy the weak foundations of the peace process.
The negotiator, resumed chapter in Washington in October of that same year, concluded with a resounding failure and in March 1997 a new Palestinian popular uprising, dubbed "Second Intifada", left in abeyance the agreed timetable to conclude the total transfer of powers to the Palestinian national authority. The peace process stalled and negotiations were suspended for a long period of nineteen months. Meanwhile, Arafat lived one of the most delicate moments of its political leadership, faced constant accusations of corruption and nepotism that ultimately led to the fall of its government cabinet. Criticisms of Palestinian dissent did not cease while the leader of the ANP remodeled its Executive in the summer of 1998.
With the mediation of U.S. President Bill Clinton, Netanyahu and Arafat resumed dialogue in the fall of 1998 and, finally, on October 23 of that year, signed agreements of Wye which forced the Government of Tel Aviv to withdraw his army of around 13 percent of the West Bank territory and the PNA to arrest extremists suspected of planning attacks against Israel. However, reality showed a few days after the firm that once more the points of the bargaining agreement would fall on deaf ears. The election of the labour Ehud Barak in Israeli elections in May 1999 created new hopes, after the new Hebrew President proclaim his intention to resume the peace process and initiate contacts with the PNA. The electoral promises of Barak is concreted on September 4, 1999 with the signing in Sharm El Sheikh (Egypt) a pact that reviewed the timetable for implementation of the Wye accords and with the celebration of a new Summit in Camp David in July 2000 that, despite U.S. mediation, concluded without the parties close positions on the controversial issue of the Palestinian claim East Jerusalem as the capital of their future State.
Frustration with the new stalemate in the peace process radicalized the positions between the groups more extremists from both sides of the conflict, convinced that the path of negotiation had concluded without results. Barak was in a parliamentary minority since the summer of 2000 and, as of September, had to face a new resurgence of the Intifada that claimed hundreds of victims and caused a severe political crisis that ultimately meant the end of his mandate. Attacks from Palestinian extremists and israeli army reprisal operations followed one another relentlessly in the months that followed and thwarted new diplomatic efforts that the international community sought to intensify at the end of the year.
Arab-Israeli delegations resumed negotiations in Taba (Egypt) in January 2001 and, although they expressed their willingness to approach positions, decided to freeze the dialogue until the end of the electoral process in Israel, opened following the resignation of Barak. The polls gave victory to the leader of the Likud, Ariel Sharon, the man who, precisely, had unleashed the latest Palestinian uprising with his provocative visit to the Esplanade of the mosques. New Prime Minister dissociated himself is immediately from the agreements signed by his predecessor in the Executive and reiterated their political will to toughen the crackdown on Palestinian violence, reinforce the blockade imposed on Gaza and the West Bank cities and keep the stalled negotiations while they continue the activities of the Intifada.
The Middle East conflict starred in some of the most dramatic pages of international news during the year 2001. The streets of major cities in Israel became the venue chosen by the fanaticism of suicide of Palestinian extremists to execute brutal attacks, while the occupied territories endured the repression, always blunt and often disproportionate israeli military that, under a policy of summary executions against the alleged ringleaders of the Palestinian terrorism, increased by dozens more and more victims among the civilian population of Gaza and the West Bank. Installed in clear militaristic positions, Sharon and Arafat closed any glimmer of hope to rebuild the battered peace process, definitely buried by the intensification of episodes of violence and the political inability of both leaders to stop the erratic dynamics of the conflict.
Thus the things, the attacks of September 11 in New York and Washington placed the crisis in the Middle East in a new geopolitical dimension within the international order, and pressured by the United States and the European Union, the contenders rushed to enact high fire and announce the return to the negotiating table. But timid diplomatic approach that Arafat and israeli Foreign Minister Simon Peres ventured showed irrelevant just a few weeks later when October 17 the Popular Front for the liberation of Palestine (PFLP) claimed responsibility for the murder in a hotel in Jerusalem of the israeli Tourism Minister. At this point, the israeli action plan focused on the destructuring of the ANP and the political annihilation of its President who for the umpteenth time in his long career, crossed another moment more critics of his leadership, unauthorized as political interlocutor the Government widely answered from the ranks of Palestinian extremism and israeli.
The israeli army intensified movements of temporary occupancy in the autonomous territories and redoubled attacks against political and administrative offices of the ANP. Arafat's own remained fenced in Ramallah the last days of the year, surrounded by Israeli tanks deployed a few meters from their offices. Destroyed most of its infrastructure and strangled its economic resources to the maximum, the PNA concluded the year more fateful since its formation and away from the immediate reality the transformation of the autonomous body in a viable Palestinian State.
2002 started with new diplomatic efforts, arrived this time from Saudi Arabia, with a proposal for a peace based on the recognition of the State of Israel by all Arab countries in Exchange for the withdrawal of Israeli troops to the borders of 1967. But the initiative, greeted with anticipation outside the area of conflict, ran again with a permanent backdrop of violence which, from the spring, returned to intensify it. Responses to attacks israeli combat forces suicide Palestinians focused once again on the environment of the PNA President, isolated since March 29 in the only building of its offices in Ramallah that remained standing after the bombing ordered by Ariel Sharon. After 34 days of siege, the israeli Premier ordered to lift the siege on Arafat, ready to rebuild the operability of the ailing ANP and its own political figure, met urgently to the Palestinian Legislative Council. 15 may, and before the full Parliament, Arafat announced the call for elections and the implementation of a series of political reforms in all sectors of the Administration and the Government of the ANP. And to inaugurate the road towards reformism announced, on 29 May was promulgated the Basic Law of the Palestinian Authority; constitutional text that remained blocked from its parliamentary approval in 1997.
The flight forward of the Palestinian leader was received with scepticism, mainly by large sectors of internal dissent that interpreted the initiatives of the President as a simple political make-up operation directed to satisfy the demands of the international community which claimed, each time with more urgency, transparency and feedback democratic in the ranks of the autonomous Executive. On June 13, 2002 the new Palestinian Government, fourth since the establishment of the PNA Cabinet, held its first meeting in Ramallah. However, completed the summer after suffering for three days of parliamentary debate that lacked sufficient legislative Council supports to get out the vote on the investiture of the new Executive, September 11 Arafat agreed with his ministers the resignation of the Government in full and managed to avoid the censure motion in the Parliament. That same day he put date to promise to hold legislative and presidential elections and announced elections for January 20, 2003.
After a month and a half of political crisis, on October 29, 2002 Arafat finally Parliament introduced a new cabinet that was supported by 56 of the 88 members of the House. During the inauguration, the Palestinian leader launched a new peace offer to Israel, based on the Madrid and Oslo agreements, and made an appeal to Hamas and Jihad to leave weapons. A week later, the Executive of the PNA expressed its acceptance of the peace plan promoted by the so-called "Quartet" diplomatic (United States, Russia, the European Union and United Nations) and baptized with the name of "Road map", which called for the establishment of a provisional State, without defined borders, to end of 2003 and the establishment of the final independent Palestinian Statetwo years later.
During the first days of November, Arafat sent a high order fire activists of the Fatah movement and Palestinian militias began a round of talks in Cairo in which is was the possibility of decreeing a cessation of hostilities. However, the initiative was immediately thwarted after the achievement of new attacks suicide perpetrated by Jihad and Hamas. The subsequent reprisal operations carried out by the israeli army resulted in effective reoccupation of much of the autonomous territories, a circumstance that became impossible the implementation of the Palestinian elections scheduled for January 20, 2003. So, a week before the end of the year, the Palestinian leader announced the indefinite postponement of the elections.
Meanwhile, Ariel Sharon had achieved a landslide victory in the primaries of their party, the Likud, and its more than likely triumph in the legislative of Israel, ventured scheduled for January 28, 2003. Forecasts were met and the Conservative Prime Minister revalidated the charge and formed a new Government with the announcement of renegotiating the peace process with the Palestinians provided that the PNA would renew its address.
Strong external pressures convinced the need for Arafat to appoint a Prime Minister, non-existent office until then in the ANP to ensure progress in the transparency and democratization process initiated in the heart of the Palestinian Government with this appointment. Pools then bet on technocrat Salam Fayyad, Finance Minister and former official of the IMF which had explicit support from us.UU. and Israel; However, the Palestinian leader and Fatah party Government proposed the candidacy of Abu Mazen, Secretary general of the Executive Committee of the PLO and Arafat confidant. It was Mazen, the official candidate for the leadership of Palestinian Executive, responsible for advertisements, on 21 February 2003 and during a trip to Moscow, the adoption by the Government of the ANP of a unilateral cease-fire in the Intifada for a period of one year.
The steps to create the new figure of Prime Minister and provide it with Executive power were launched on March 8 at a meeting of the Central Council of the PLO (legislative body of the Organization) in which it was approved the Constitution of the charge and the candidacy of Abu Mazen. Two days later, the Palestinian Legislative Council (interim Parliament of the PNA), met simultaneously in Ramallah and Gaza, ratified the reform of the Palestinian basic law to allow the creation of the figure of Prime Minister of the PNA and the attribution to the post of full powers in domestic politics and power to appoint his own cabinet. The new hierarchical organization forced Arafat to transfer some of their powers to the new Chief Executive although the historic leader of the Palestinians retained absolute control over the armed forces and the Palestinian foreign policy direction, including the negotiating process with Israel. Palestinian legislators frustrated the Hebrew Government desire to turn the Presidency into a purely decorative figure and, on the contrary, chose a formula of coexistence inspired by the French model with a Presidency that is strong in matters of security and Foreign Affairs and an Executive leader with absolute power in domestic policy.
However, the attitude of Arafat's own, fearful of losing total control of the ANP, blocked for weeks the path towards the democratization of the regime opened in Parliament. The rais sparked a legislative battle unprecedented with the presentation in the House of up to seven challenges to the bill approved by the members, which demanded, among other duties, the right to appoint and suspend the Prime Minister, appoint Deputy Prime Ministers, veto members of the Cabinet or establishing the agenda of the Council of Ministers; measures which, in practice, limited, scandalously, the real power of the new Chief Executive. Arafat's proposals were rejected by the majority of members of Parliament.
Meanwhile, United States had conditioned the dissemination of the peace plan, known as the "Roadmap", the exact moment in which the new Palestinian Premier announced the composition of his Government and had effective powers to undertake the negotiating process. In this direction increased pressures to put an end to infighting in the dome of the ANP and the 23 of April 2003 both leaders sealed an agreement for the formation of the new Government, even though in principle Arafat had used its right of veto to reject the reformist Cabinet proposed by Prime Minister - by discrepancies in the control of the Interior portfolio - elected Abu Mazen. Finally on April 29, the Palestinian Legislative Council approved the appointment of Mazen and endorsed the composition of his Cabinet. The new Prime Minister also took ownership of the Ministry of the Interior.
Two years after the blocking of the negotiations at the highest level, Sharon and Mazen, Prime Ministers of Israel and Palestine, resumed dialogue. They kept some previous encounters and may 29 gathered in Jerusalem to advance up the initial positions of their respective Governments on the implementation of the "roadmap". After the meeting, Israel announced the phased withdrawal of its army from the occupied areas in Exchange for a commitment to clear the PNA against terrorist activities.
Despite the optimism that woke up the bilateral summits, the immediate events aborted once again the road to peace. Mazen just managed a commitment to truce of several weeks of Palestinian radical organizations and not managed to put an end to the conflict that, since his appointment, held with President Arafat over control of security forces. Despite international pressure to close the crisis, the clash proved unsustainable and on 6 September, just four months after his inauguration, Abu Mazen presented his resignation.
Sharon lost his interlocutor and with it the possibility of advancing in the negotiations without having the figure of the Palestinian President. Be made public then israeli Prime Minister plans to deport Arafat, which were immediately rejected by the entire international community. Even the General Assembly of the United Nations mainly condemned the threat of exile that Israel turned on the rais, placed, for the umpteenth time in his life, in a complicated political position and staff.
Saved in extremis of the expulsion, the Palestinian leader returned to take the Executive reins of power to reorganize the structure of the ANP. He met members of the Central Council of Fatah and proposed to the President of the Parliament, Ahmed Qurei (Abu Ala), as a successor of the resigned Mazen. On 5 October 2003, Arafat declared a State of emergency in the Palestinian territories and announced the formation of an emergency Government, headed by the new Prime Minister, to deal with the new situation of crisis in the autonomous territories. Two days later, the Cabinet members swore their positions before the President.
The refusal of Arafat to cede control of Palestinian security forces, to Qurei, who had already led to the resignation of Mazen, again threatened to become the trigger for an irreversible institutional crisis. Finally, both politicians reached a minimum agreement to form a Government while Arafat managed to impose the nomination of its candidate Hakam Balawi as Interior Minister and, consequently, head of the autonomous police. The emergency Executive served its until 12 November it acquired condition of Permanent Government after Qurei and his Cabinet of 24 Ministers swore their positions before the Palestinian Legislative Council. During the inauguration, the President called for the disarmament of Palestinian radical militias and launched a new dialog message to the Government of Israel.
Despite the reorganisation of the distribution of power in the ANP and the claim of direct Palestinian internal politics towards commitments made in the "roadmap", the first months of 2004 placed Arafat a scenario socio-political dying, strangled by the terrorism of Palestinian radical factions, the virulence of israeli repression, the economic crisis and the emergence of paramilitary groupscorruption and a sort of secret war between clans police.
The summer brought about a worsening of the problems in Gaza, where Palestinian security forces and radical militias fought a war for control of the Palestinian territories. Prime Minister Qurei resigned in protest over the police chaos although Arafat, who did not accept the cessation of the Chief Executive, announced the reorganization of the security services to stem the crisis. Did with an appointment; that of his cousin Musa Arafat as new responsible for police in Gaza, which sparked the indignation of rebel militias. The rais had to rectify at the time that the Palestinian Parliament approved a resolution to demand the dismissal of the Government and the appointment of a new Executive with ability to fulfill their responsibilities. The tension rose tone when some members of the brigades of the martyrs of Al Aqsa, radical militia linked to the governmental organization Fatah, took to assault the parliamentary headquarters in Gaza to demand reforms and denouncing corruption in the bosom of the ANP. Settled once again on the verge of a political precipice, President Arafat announced the partial transfer of its powers over the control of security forces to the Prime Minister and managed to Qurei to withdraw his resignation.
There was time for more. The delicate health of the rais worsened alarmingly in the first weeks of autumn and medical services advised his transfer to receive proper treatment. On 29 October, hailed by thousands of supporters and protected by strong security measures, Arafat left his headquarters general the Mukata, where it remained confined since December 2001, with destination to the Percy hospital on the outskirts of Paris. The Israeli authorities committed themselves to allow the transfer of the Palestinian leader from Ramallah to the French capital as well as returning, once recovered, back to the West Bank. This last circumstance, however, never occurred. Yasir Arafat died at three o'clock in the morning of November 11 in the Parisian hospital. Via Cairo, Egyptian capital where the funerals were officiated the corpse was transferred to Ramallah where the historical leader of the Palestinian cause received burial.
As planned in the Palestinian basic law the relief of powers it was launched immediately and factions began to take positions to take on the succession. Ruhi Fatuh, President of the Parliament (Legislative Council) became the new President of the PNA for a period of 60 days; time needed to call elections. Next to him, Prime Minister Ahmed Qurei; Abu Mazen, as the new head of the PLO, and Salim Zaanún, as Chairman of the Palestinian National Council (PNC), assumed the shared responsibility to lead the peaceful transition in the power dome.
In November 2012, the remains of the historic Palestinian leader were exhumed for study by a team of specialists for the purpose of determining the causes of his death, especially if it was or not poisoned.