INDEPTH: MIDDLE EAST|
CBC News Online | Updated Nov. 11, 2004
Aug. 4, 1929: Born Mohammed Abdel Rahman Abdel Raouf Arafat Al Qudua Al Husseini in Cairo, Egypt (some sources say he was born in the Gaza Strip near the end of the month).
Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat salutes while attending the Palestinian Islamic Christians Conference at his compound in the West Bank town of Ramallah, Aug. 10, 2004. (AP Photo/Muhammed Muheisen)
Photo gallery: Yasser Arafat
1933: Arafat's mother dies. He is sent to relatives in Jerusalem.
1939-47: Jewish refugees from Second World War pour into Palestine.
1947: The UN divides Palestine into Arab and Jewish states, with
Jerusalem designated as an international enclave.
1948: Arafat runs arms to Palestine, studies guerrilla tactics. His
May 14, 1948: State of Israel proclaimed. Thousands of Palestinians
flee the country or are evicted. Arab countries attack Israel.
1949: Armistice declared. Israel now holds three-quarters of the former
Palestine. Jordan has West Bank. Egypt holds Gaza Strip. Palestinians
hold no land.
1952: Arafat joins Muslim brotherhood.
1956: Arafat graduates with an engineering degree from University of Faud I in Cairo, and starts
his own contracting company in Kuwait. Forms a movement to reclaim
Palestine for Palestinians.
1956: Egypt nationalizes Suez Canal, leading to Israel's invasion of Sinai Peninsula.
1958-59: Arafat founds al-Fatah with Abu Jihad (Khalis al-Wazir).
1964: Arafat leaves Kuwait for Jordan. Arab League sponsors the
founding of Palestine Liberation Organization. The PLO is created as an
umbrella for a number of Palestinian factions engaging in guerrilla
warfare against Israel.
June 1967: Six-Day War. Israel gains more land from Arab states.
Jerusalem in Israeli hands. Arafat's Fatah movement emerges as
powerful member of PLO.
1969: Arafat becomes chairman of Palestine Liberation Organization,
based in Jordan.
1971: PLO expelled from Jordan, moves to Lebanon.
1972: Militant PLO faction kills 11 Israeli athletes at the Olympic
Games in Munich, Germany.
1974: UN grants observer status to PLO.
1982: PLO expelled from Lebanon, after attacks by Israel in response to
PLO missile attacks. Intense leadership struggle within PLO factions.
1983: Arafat moves headquarters to Tunis, Tunisia.
1987: Palestinians in Gaza, West Bank and Jerusalem begin intefadeh, or uprising. Demonstrations continue for years. Arafat proclaims the PLO as "government in exile" of the State of Palestine.
1988: Arafat speaks to UN, formally recognizes Israel's right to
exist, and declares that the PLO renounces terrorism.
1990: Arafat marries 26-year-old Palestinian Suha Tawil. Marriage is
kept secret for over a year. Daughter Zahwa born in 1996.
1991: Arafat and PLO support Iraq in Gulf War, causing political
1993: Oslo accord: secret negotiations in Norway between Israel and PLO
result in treaty that includes limited self-rule for Palestinians in
Jericho and Gaza, with promises to talk about status of Gaza and West
Bank. Arafat and Israeli Primer Minister Yitzhak Rabin shake hands.
1994: Arafat wins Nobel Peace Prize, in conjunction with Rabin and
Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres.
May 1994: Israel withdraws from Jericho and Gaza.
July 1994: Arafat swears in members of the Palestinian Authority, which
will control education and culture, health, taxation, tourism and social
1996: Arafat elected president of Palestinian Authority.
Arafat and newly-elected Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
pledge to work toward a peace treaty. Israel decides to freeze construction in occupied territories.
1997: West Bank town of Hebron returned to Palestinian control.
Netanyahu approves Jewish housing project in East Jerusalem. Suicide
1998: Wye River Accords: Netanyahu and Arafat sign land-for-peace deal.
Deal includes a transfer of some of the West Bank to the Palestinians,
safe passage corridors for Palestinians between Gaza and the West Bank,
and a crackdown on terrorism.
September 2000: Impasse in talks between Arafat and Israeli PM Ehud Barak. Intefadeh begins anew. Violence continues on both sides.
2001: Ariel Sharon elected Israeli prime minister.
2002: Violence continues, including suicide bombings and Israeli
military actions. Suicide bombings are carried out by Hamas, Islamic
Jihad and the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, a military offshoot of
March 29, 2002: Sharon declares Arafat an enemy of Israel, and stations
tanks and soldiers outside Arafat's Ramallah compound. Tanks have
since withdrawn, but Arafat has yet to leave compound. Israel says he
can leave, but may not be allowed back.
May 2, 2002: Israeli troops withdraw from their positions around Arafat's headquarters and he emerges to crowds of cheering supporters. The standoff ended after Israel and the Palestinians accepted a U.S. proposal to turn over several Palestinians suspected of killing Israeli Tourism Minister Rehavam Ze'evi.
2003: The U.S., Russia, the European Union and the United Nations work out a "road map for peace." The plan includes Palestinian statehood, and a renunciation of violence and terrorism for Israel and the PLO.
September 2003: Israel's security cabinet says it has decided to send Arafat into exile, calling him part of the root problem blocking the peace process. The U.S., Russia, Canada, the European Union and UN all condemn Israel's decision. Newly appointed Palestinian Prime Minister Ahmed Qureia says the Middle East would "blow up" if Arafat were exiled.
April 2004: Sharon declares Arafat to be a legitimate target for assassination despite a promise to the U.S. not to harm him. Sharon says circumstances have changed since he promised U.S. President George W. Bush not to harm Arafat. Sharon's statements come two weeks after an Israeli army helicopter fired rockets at a car carrying Hamas founder Sheik Ahmed Yassin, killing him.
June 2004: Arafat agrees to Egyptian demands to give executive powers to Palestinian Prime Minister Qureia.
July 2004: Arafat reorganizes his security forces, giving the job of security chief to his cousin Moussa Arafat. The move sparks cries of corruption and cronyism. Prime Minister Qureia offers his resignation, which Arafat refuses. After a week of dissent capped by the burning of the Palestinian Authority offices in the Gaza Strip, Arafat asks Brig.-Gen. Abdel Razek Majaide to return to the top security post, leaving his cousin a senior security job in Gaza. Qureia later retracts his resignation.
Aug. 4, 2004: Arafat celebrates his 75th birthday. His supporters rally in the streets of Ramallah.
Aug. 18, 2004: Arafat admits that the Palestinian leadership has made mistakes and used "unacceptable practices." He promises to correct the mistakes and calls for a "comprehensive workshop of reforms."
Oct. 25, 2004: Arafat undergoes surgery for stomach pains and vomiting at a clinic in his compound. Doctors diagnose him with a large gallstone. His doctors would later recommend that he be moved to a hospital in Paris for treatment. Israeli officials say Arafat would be allowed to return to his compound when he recovers.
Oct. 29, 2004: A French military jet takes Arafat to an army hospital in Paris. He later undergoes tests for a viral infection, and his aides say doctors have ruled out any life-threatening illness.
Nov. 4, 2004: Israeli television reports that Arafat is clinically dead, but a hospital spokesman denies that, saying Arafat is alive, but in a coma.
Nov. 11, 2004: Yasser Arafat dies at a French military hospital at the age of 75. Hospital officials say Arafat died in the intensive care unit at 3:30 a.m. local time.