Mohammed Yasser Abdel Rahman Abdel Raouf Arafat al-Qudwa al-Husseini:
24 August1929 ± 11 November 2004), popularly known as
or by his kunya
,was a Palestinian leader and a Laureate of the Nobel Prize. He was Chairman of the PalestineLiberation Organization (PLO), President of the Palestinian National Authority (PNA),
andleader of the Fatah political party, which he founded in 1959.
Arafat spent much of his lifefighting against Israel in the name of Palestinian self-determination. Originally opposed toIsrael's existence, he modified his position in 1988 when he accepted UN Security CouncilResolution 242.Arafat and his movement operated from several Arab countries. In the late 1960s and early1970s, Fatah faced off with Jordan in a brief civil war. Forced out of Jordan and into Lebanon,Arafat and Fatah were major targets of Israel's 1978 and 1982 invasions of that country. He was"revered by many Arabs," and the majority of the Palestinian people, regardless of politicalideology or faction, viewed him as a freedom fighter who symbolized their national aspirations.However, he was "reviled by many Israelis" and described "in much of the West as the world'snumber one terrorist" for the attacks his faction led against civilians.
Later in his career, Arafat engaged in a series of negotiations with the government of Israel toend the decades-long conflict between that country and the PLO. These included the MadridConference of 1991, the 1993 Oslo Accords and the 2000 Camp David Summit. His politicalrivals, including Islamists and several PLO leftists, often denounced him for being corrupt or toosubmissive in his concessions to the Israeli government. In 1994, Arafat received the NobelPeace Prize, together with Yitzhak Rabin and Shimon Peres, for the negotiations at Oslo. Duringthis time, Hamas and other militant organizations rose to power and shook the foundations of theauthority that Fatah under Arafat had established in the Palestinian territories.In late 2004, after effectively being confined within his Ramallah compound for over two years by the Israeli army, Arafat became ill, fell into a coma and died on 11 November 2004 at the age