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Yasir Arafat

palestine palestinian plo agreement

Arafat, Yasir (1929– ), Palestinian political figure. After organizing the anti-Israel Al Fatah guerrillas in the 1950s, Arafat became chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) in 1969. In 1974 Arafat opened a debate on Palestine at the UN, where he led the first nongovernmental delegation to take part in a General Assembly plenary session. It is generally believed that Arafat authorized terrorist actions to accomplish the goals of the PLO. In 1991, the PLO sided with Iraq in the Persian Gulf War which led to a weakening of its position. Arafat regained esteem when he signed an agreement with Israel regarding limited Palestinian autonomy in the Gaza Strip and Jericho (1993). This resulted in him getting the Nobel Peace prize, together with Yitzhak Rabin and Shimon Peres (1994). In September 1995, Arafat and Rabin signed an agreement regarding the withdrawal in stages of the Israeli troops from six important cities on the West Bank. The agreement also provided for elections for a Palestinian council and a president. In 1996 Arafat was elected president of the council.

See also: Palestine Liberation Organization.

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