Yasser Arafat

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Yasser Arafat (1929-2004) was the first President of the Palestinian Authority (PA) from 1996 to his death, Chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization (1969-2004) and founded Fatah in 1956. While a Muslim, he was generally considered motivated more by nationalism than Islamism.

After founding Fatah, he worked in various places, but was expelled from Jordan in 1970, and moved the PLO headquarters to Lebanon between 1971 and 1982. The PLO used terrorism in a number of operations.

During this time, he appeared before the United Nations in 1974. After the 1982 Israeli-Lebanon Conflict, he moved to Tunisia.

He moved from Tunisia to Gaza in 1994, and was a co-recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize for the Camp David Accords.

In 2004 he officially died from a stroke in a Paris hospital. A controversial Swiss forensic report released in November 2013 indicated a preliminary finding of unexpected high levels of polonium-210, but because of the time elapsed between his death and exhumation analysis, a stronger conclusion could not be reached.[1] A further report by a French team of scientists has since ruled out polonium-210 as the cause of death, and concluded he died from a generalised infection.[2]


  1. Staff writer. Yasser Arafat 'may have been poisoned with polonium', BBC News, British Broadcasting Corporation, 6 November 2013. Retrieved on 6 November 2013.
  2. Staff writer. Yasser Arafat 'was not poisoned' - leaked French report, BBC News, British Broadcasting Corporation, 3 December 2013. Retrieved on 4 December 2013.