Palestinian Leader Yasser Arafat

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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 fedayeen, the Egyptian word for commando and worked with a construction firm. 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 leader of his people. As leader of the PLO, Arafat devoted his life to gaining a permanent homeland for his people. Throughout the 1970's, the PLO was associated with terrorism. Yasser and the PLO's many affiliates used terrorism to persuade Israeli leader Yitzhak Rabin to grant land to the Palestinians. One of the affiliated groups, Black September as they were called, were responsible for the killing of Israeli athletes at the Munich summer Olympics in 1972. Arafat's dedication to do whatever he can do to better his peoples lives is another reason of how he is a great leader. Arab nations such as Jordan and Lebanon were used as bases for the PLO to launch attacks from against Israel. They were driven out of Jordan in 1970 and out of Lebanon in 1982. Arafat then set up headquarters in Tunisia. Arafat did not abandon his leadership position even after being faced with relocating many times. He wisely chose his headquarters positions. These wise decisions aided to the success of his leadership. After finding the violence and terrorism would not make the Israelis listen to their plea of getting their homeland back, Arafat had to use a new tool of persuasion. This time he chose compromise. He and the PLO declared Israel an independent state, renounced all of it's terrorism, accepted United Nations Resolution 242 and acknowledged Israelis right to exist. This opened the door for further negations in the future. Arafat'

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