Palestinian Leader Yasser Arafat
The Middle East, once an area of severe fighting and active terrorism,
is now free of violence due to the actions of one man, Yasser Arafat.
Yasser Arafat has helped create a place where the Palestine and Israeli
people can live together. This peaceful environment did not come easily
though. It took years of work and controversy for Yasser to make the two
Arab nations live peacefully together. Through Yasser Arafat's successful
leadership qualities, the once warring nations of Palestine and Israel now
accept each other and subside peacefully together.
Yasser Arafat was born in the city of Jerusalem on February 17,
1929. He fled Jerusalem after the establishment of the Israel nation in 1948.
He attended Cairo University in Egypt, where he became president of the
Union of Palestinian students and studied engineering. While in Cairo, he
trained as a fedayeen, the Egyptian word for commando and worked with a
He also studied guerrilla tactic and joined the Egyptian
army. Yasser then moved to Kuwait and founded his first rebel group of
fedayeen soldiers on raids deep into Israeli territory. His bold actions gained
him respect among his Arab piers.
In 1959, Arafat established another anti-Israeli guerrilla group called
al-Fatah. This was the largest of the Palestinian guerrilla units dedicated to
undermining and overtaking Israel. There were many of these guerrilla
groups in the Middle East so they decided to form into one unified
organization. This created the Palestinian Liberation Organization,
commonly called the PLO. Formed in 1964, Arafat was elected chairman in
1969. The PLO acted as a government to the Palestinian people but with
one exception, it had no territory to govern. Arafat's establishment and
leadership of these essential beginning organizations began his success as a