|Yasir Arafat was born Mohammed Abed Ar'ouf Arafat, in Cairo. He was educated at Cairo University, where he was a leader of the Student Organization. Arafat was one of the first Palestinians to advocate the use of terror activities against Israel. In 1968, he became the leader of the PLO (Palestinian Liberation Organization). His appearance at the United Nations while packing a pistol on his hip startled the international community, but did not hurt his group as they achieved official recognition at the world body.
After a long career as the principal architect of terror against Israel and its holdings around the world, Arafat joined in peace talks, ultimately signing a peace agreement with Israel. He won a Noble Prize for Peace. Despite his participation in and public avowal of support for the peace process, Arafat has not always been successful in controlling more radical Palestinian elements. In September of 2000 Arafat participated in a summit called by President Clinton with Israel's Prime Minster Barack to work out a final peace agreement. In what many think was his biggest mistake, Arafat refused Israel's offer of almost 95% of the West Bank, he was unwilling to give up the Palestinian right of return. Arafat then launched a second intifadah against Israel, one that quickly became violent. When suicide bombers repeatedly attacked Israel, it reoccupied Palestinian cities and confined Arafat to a compound in Ramallah. There he spent the last four years of his life.
Aburish, Said K.
Arafat From Defender to Dictator. 1998. Bloomsbury, New York
Stefoff, Rebecca. Yasir Arafat (World Leaders-Past and Present). 1993. Chelsea House Pub Paperbacks.