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Yasser Arafat Fast Facts

By CNN Library
updated 8:59 PM EST, Thu November 7, 2013
For five decades, Yasser Arafat was the most prominent face of the Palestinian national movement. He died in 2004. Look back at the legacy of the controversial leader. For five decades, Yasser Arafat was the most prominent face of the Palestinian national movement. He died in 2004. Look back at the legacy of the controversial leader.
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Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat
Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat
Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat
Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat
Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat
Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat
Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat
Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat
Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat
Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat
Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat
Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat
Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat
Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat
Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat
Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat
Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat
Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat
Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat
Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat
Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat
Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat
Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat
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(CNN) -- Here's a look at the life of Yasser Arafat, former President of the Palestinian Authority.

Personal:
Birth date: August 24, 1929 (some sources say August 4th)

Death date: November 11, 2004

Birth place: Cairo, Egypt (maintained he was born in Jerusalem)

Birth name: Mohammed Abdel Raouf Arafat al Qudwa al Husseini

Father: Abd al Raouf al Qudwa al Husseini, a merchant

Mother: Zahwa Abu Saud

Marriage: Suha Tawil (November 1991-November 11, 2004, his death)

Children: Zahwa Arafat (July 1995)

Education: King Fahd I University (now Cairo University), civil engineering, 1956

Religion: Sunni Muslim

Other Facts:
The nickname Yasir or Yasser means "easy-going" in Arabic. Arafat acquired it as a teenager.

Arafat's alias, Abu Ammar, was adopted in the mid 1960's.

Timeline:
1933 - Sent to live in Jerusalem with his uncle, after his mother, Zahwa Abu Saud, dies of kidney failure.

1946 - Arafat is involved in smuggling weapons from Egypt into Palestine.

1948-1949 - Applies for a visa to immigrate to the United States but decides to remain in Egypt.

1956 - After receiving an engineering degree works in Kuwait and Egypt.

1958 - Founds the group Al-Fatah with friends from the university.

1959 - Al-Fatah publishes Filistinuna (Our Palestine), which advocates armed struggle against Israel.

May 28-29, 1964 - In Cairo, the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) is formed, under the authority of the Arab League.

1965 (approx.) - Al-Fatah begins minor raids against Israeli targets.

1967 - Arafat operates from a base in the West Bank, but is forced to flee to Jordan. Allegedly, he crosses the river Jordan disguised as a woman with a baby.

1968 - Al-Fatah joins the PLO.

February 1969 - Elected chairman of the executive committee of the PLO.

September, 1970 - Known as "Black September." King Hussein of Jordan forcibly expels the PLO from the country. The organization resettles in Lebanon. Allegedly, Hussein orchestrates an assassination attempt on Arafat.

September 5, 1972 - The Palestinian terrorist organization known as Black September is involved in the kidnapping and murder of Israeli athletes at the Olympics in Munich, Germany.

October 28, 1974 - The PLO is recognized as the "sole legitimate representative" of the Palestinian people by an assembled group of leaders at the Arab summit in Rabat, Morocco.

November 13, 1974 - Addresses the General Assembly of the United Nations. Quoted as saying, "I have come bearing an olive branch and a freedom fighter's gun. Do not let the olive branch fall from my hand."

August 30, 1982 - Forced to flee Lebanon with the PLO, resettles in Tunis, Tunisia.

December 13, 1988 - Renounces terrorism and recognizes Israel's right to exist and declares a Palestinian State, in a speech before the United Nations.

1990-1991 - Supports Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein during the Gulf War.

April 8, 1992 - Survives a plane crash in Libya that kills the pilot and two others.

September 13, 1993 - Israel and the PLO sign Oslo peace accords in Washington, D.C. Arafat shakes hand with Yitzhak Rabin after the signing.

May 4, 1994 - Signs an accord giving the Palestinians limited self-rule in the West Bank and Gaza.

July 1, 1994 - Returns to Gaza for the first time in 27 years.

July 5, 1994 - Takes the oath of office as head of the Palestinian National Authority, at Jericho in the West Bank.

October 14, 1994 - Wins Nobel Peace Prize along with Yitzhak Rabin and Shimon Peres.

January 20, 1996 - Elected President of the Palestinian National Authority.

October 17, 2001 - Agrees to a cease-fire that would end several weeks of fighting between the Palestinian and Israeli armies.

December 13, 2001 - Israel breaks off all contact, blaming him for Hamas attacks in Israel.

December 23, 2001 - Barred from attending Christmas Observance in Bethlehem.

March 29, 2002 - Israeli forces storm Arafat's compound in Ramallah, in retaliation for wave of recent suicide bombings.

May 1, 2002 - Israeli forces withdraw from Arafat's compound after a month-long siege. The withdrawal hinged on six Palestinian prisoners, wanted by Israel, who had been in the compound. They were transferred to a Palestinian jail in Jericho and will be under U.S. and British supervision.

May 2, 2002 - Arafat leaves his compound to tour the damage in Ramallah.

June 5, 2002 - The IDF (Israeli Defense Forces) raids Arafat's compound again, this time in retaliation for another suicide bombing in Megiddo Junction that killed 17 Israelis, 13 of them soldiers.

June 2002 - President George W. Bush calls for Arafat's ouster.

September 20, 2002 - Third raid on Arafat's compound. Israelis destroy a bridge connecting two buildings of Arafat's compound. Then, bulldozers raze the area between and around the buildings. Government officials report that there are no plans to harm Arafat himself. The siege lasts for ten days.

December 16, 2002 - Denounces Osama bin Laden and says that al Qaeda has no connection to the PLO or the Palestinian cause.

March 19, 2003 - Accepts Mahmoud Abbas in the new position of Prime Minister, under pressure from his cabinet and the United States.

April 2003 - Attempts to shape a road map for peace with the backing of the United States, Britain, Russia and the European Union to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and establish an independent Palestinian state by 2005. The deal is contingent on the establishment of a 24-member Palestinian cabinet.

September 8, 2003 - Nominates Ahmed Qorei as Prime Minister after Abbas resigns.

September 11, 2003 - Israel's security Cabinet says it will work to "remove" President Arafat from power, a decision that could mean the Palestinian leader's expulsion from his Ramallah compound. Asked if he is concerned for his life, Arafat says defiantly that the Israelis "can kill me by their bombs" but that he will "definitely not" leave.

September 16, 2003 - The United States vetoes a U.N. Security Council resolution demanding that Israel rescind its threat to "remove" Palestinian Authority President Yasser Arafat. U.S. Ambassador John Negroponte says after the council vote that the resolution was lacking balance. "We will not support any resolution that evades the explicit threat to Middle East peace process posed by Hamas and other such terrorist groups," Negroponte says.

October 5, 2003 - Declares a state of emergency in the Palestinian territories. Allowing installation of a new Palestinian government by decree. Appoints Ahmed Qorei as Prime Minister and names eight other people to an emergency cabinet.

October 8, 2003 - Aides report that he is suffering from a case of stomach flu, and had not suffered a mild heart attack, as a London newspaper had reported. During press appearances, Arafat looked weak and tired, and at times appeared in a daze.

November 4, 2003 - Extends the term of his emergency cabinet.

July 17, 2004 - Announces a series of security reforms after a group of militants kidnapped police chief Ghazi al-Jabali, demanding he be fired and investigated for corruption. al-Jabali was replaced with Saeb el-Ajez, a police commander in northern Gaza. Also replaced al-Majeida as head of national security with Mussa Arafat, his nephew and the head of military intelligence. Announced consolidation the 12 security organizations in Gaza into three units -- national security, armed forces, and police.

July 2004 - The announcements lead to demonstrations in southern Gaza. Palestinian Prime Minister Ahmed Qorei submitted his resignation over the crisis, but Arafat refused to accept it.

July 27, 2004 - Agrees to "a Palestinian version of reform" that will unify security forces under his prime minister and instruct his attorney general to prosecute corrupt Palestinian officials, according to Palestinian lawmakers. Palestinian Prime Minister Ahmed Qorei, who had said Gaza was in "chaos" over corruption and who had refused to withdraw his resignation in a dispute over reform, came out of a meeting with a committee of Palestinian lawmakers saying he would stay on the job.

October 25, 2004 - Suffers from flu and a stomach virus. Israeli Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz agrees to a Palestinian request that Arafat be allowed to leave his compound to visit a Ramallah hospital for medical treatment but other Palestinians deny the request was made.

October 27, 2004 - Reported to be unconscious and in a serious condition. Suha Tawil, his wife, is expected to be traveling from her home in Tunis to be at his side.

October 28, 2004 - A photo of a conscious, smiling Arafat, surrounded by his aides, is released. Also, Arafat changes his mind, and agrees to leave his compound to seek medical treatment in Paris.

October 29, 2004 - A French aircraft takes him to Paris where his health will be evaluated and he will receive medical treatment for a blood disorder. Is suffering from a blood platelet deficiency and will undergo additional tests in the French capital to determine its cause. His physician has denied that Arafat has leukemia.

November 4, 2004 - Senior Palestinian officials in the French capital say that Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat is in critical condition at a Paris military hospital after drifting in and out of consciousness throughout the night.

November 8, 2004 - Palestinian Prime Minister Ahmed Qorei; former Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas, who is now the acting head of the Palestine Liberation Organization; Foreign Minister Nabil Sha'ath; and Speaker of the Parliament Rawhi Fattuh are traveling to Paris to visit Arafat. Arafat's wife, Suha Arafat, criticized the visit, saying "they want to bury him alive." As Arafat's wife, Suha controls her husband's treatment and access to him.

November 9, 2004 - Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat has suffered a brain hemorrhage, Al-Tayyeb Abdel Raheem, a top aide to Arafat says.

November 10, 2004 - Top Palestinian Islamic cleric Taissir Dayut Tamimi arrives at Percy Military Hospital near Paris to visit Arafat. Palestinian sources in Ramallah have said Tamimi's presence is required for an Islamic declaration of death.

November 11, 2004 - Arafat dies at age 75 in a Paris hospital.

November 12, 2004 - Arafat is buried in Ramallah at the Muqata, the compound where he was confined by Israel for the last several years. The plans for his interment, which followed a military funeral in Cairo, had to be changed due to the massive crowds.

July 4, 2012 - Suha Arafat, the widow of Yasser Arafat, says she wants his body exhumed to find out whether he was poisoned after tests showed high levels of a radioactive substance on some of his personal belongings. Francois Bochud, director of the Institut de Radiophysique in Lausanne, Switzerland, says they found high levels of toxic polonium-210 on Arafat's toothbrush, clothing and keffiyeh, the trademark black-and-white headscarf he often wore.

November 27, 2012 - Arafat's body is exhumed to test if polonium poisoning led to his death.

November 6, 2013 - Swiss scientists say levels of polonium-210 measured in the personal effects and body tissues of Arafat "moderately" support a proposition that he died of polonium poisoning.

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