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Profile in Terror: Yasser Arafat

"Within five years we will have 6 to 7 million Arabs living on the West Bank and in Jerusalem....If the Jews can import all kinds of Ethiopians, Russians, Uzbekians, and Ukrainians as Jews, we can import all kinds of Arabs...We plan to eliminate the state of Israel and establish a Palestinian state. We will make life unbearable for Jews by psychological warfare and population explosion. Jews will not want to live among Arabs. I have no use for Jews....We Palestinians will take over everything, including all of Jerusalem."

-Yasser Arafat, Stockholm, 30 January, 1996; further cited in the Washington Times, 3 March 1996, Cal Thomas.

Profile: Yasser Arafat

Birth Name: Mohammed Abdel-Raouf Arafat As Qudwa al-Hussaeini
variation: Abd al-Rahman abd al-Bauf Arafat al-Qud al-Husseini

Arafat shortened his name to hide his relationship with Haj Muhammed Amin al-Husseini, a man who collaborated with the Nazis during World War II. Arafat has also been known by the nom de guerre Abu Amar (or Abu Ammar). ["Yasser" is also sometimes spelled "Yasir" or "Yassir".] The name Yasser reportedly honors an Arab victim of the British mandate in Palestine.

Date of Birth:August 24, 1929

Place of Birth: Cairo (this point was disputed for many years; some biographies claim that Arafat was born in Jerusalem, others name Gaza as his birthplace). Interestingly, some reports suggest that the Russian KGB “planted” the story that Arafat was born in Jerusalem. A birth certificate was recently found that “verifies” his place of birth as Cairo.

Parents: His father was a Palestinian textile merchant of Egyptian ancestry and his mother descended from an old Palestinian family in Jerusalem. His mother, an Abul-Saoud, is said to have been a collateral relative of family of the grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin El Husseini. Arafat's mother died when he was five years old. Arafat was one of seven children.

Childhood: Arafat lived most of his childhood in Cairo, except for four years (following the death of his mother, between the ages of five and nine) when he lived with his uncle in Jerusalem.

Education: Arafat attended King Fuad University in Cairo, Egypt where he received a Bachelor Degree in Architecture Engineering in 1956. He was founder and president of the General Union of Palestinian Students (GUPS) in Cairo/Egypt from 1952-1957, and founder and chairman of the Union of Palestinian Graduates in 1956.

Family: Arafat is married to Suha At-Taweel, a Christian Palestinian and a French citizen; they have a daughter, Zahwa.

As a teenager in the 1940s, Arafat became involved in the Palestinian cause. Arafat was a leader in the Palestinian effort to smuggle arms into the territory.

1948: After the establishment of the state of Israel, Arafat became committed to the idea of armed struggle to reverse the “Nabka”, or "the catastrophe." He joined the war between Israel and its Arab neighbors.

1952: Palestinian students from Gaza, established the Union of Palestinian Students in Egypt. It was at that time that Arafat, a Civil Engineering student at the University of Cairo, began his terrorist career with Salah Khalaf (Abu Iyad), who was later to become his second-in-command.

Under Arafat’s leadership, The Palestinian students became affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, the most active anti-Israeli organization on the Cairo campus.

1956: served in the Egyptian army as a second-lieutenant during the Suez Canal crisis.

1957-58: Left Egypt and moved to Kuwait, where he worked as an engineer, established his own contracting firm and met Abu Jihad. He later co-founded the first Fatah cell in Kuwait with Abu-Jihad. (al Fatah, an underground terrorist organization was not officially founded until January 1, 1965). Fatah (a/k/a al-Fatah) is an acronym for Harakat Al-Tahrir Al-Watani Al-Filastini, the Movement for the National Liberation of Palestine.

1964: PLO Formed by the Arab League to create an independent Palestinian nation state at the expense of the nation of Israel.

1 January 1965: Official beginning of the Fatah Movement. Arafat stayed in Jerusalem until 1967 before moving to Jordan.

3 February 1969: Arafat takes the nom de guerre of Abu Ammar and was elected chairman of the executive committee of the Palestine Liberation organization (PLO), replacing Ahmed Shukairy, who was originally appointed by the Arab League.

1969: The Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine, a Marxist-Leninist organization was founded when it split from the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP). It is a member of Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) which asserts that Palestinian goals can be achieved only through revolution of the masses.

1970: Arafat is expelled from Jordan by King Hussein's troops in 1970; moved to Lebanon.

September 1970: Appointed Commander-in-Chief of the all-Palestinian/Arab guerilla forces

5 September 1972: Palestinian terrorists kidnapped 11 Israeli athletes, initially killing 2 Israeli athletes and took 9 others hostage. After a failed rescue attempt, all hostages and all but three of terrorists were killed. The attack was attributed to the terrorist group Black September, a Palestinian paramilitary organization founded in 1970. It had links to various groups within the PLO, most notably Fatah and the PFLP.

15 May 1974: On the 26th anniversary of Israeli independence, Palestinian terrorists broke into the high school in Maalot, a community in northern Israel. They immediately killed a security guard and some of the children, the remaining children and teachers were held as hostages. Identified as terrorists from the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP) who had infiltrated into Israel from Lebanon, they demanded the release Arab terrorists from Israeli prisons or they would kill the children hostages; they established a 6:00 p.m. deadline.

The Knesset (Israeli Parliament) met in an emergency session; by 3:00 p.m. a decision was reached to negotiate, but the terrorists refused a request for more time. Accordingly, at 5:45 p.m., a unit of the elite Golani Brigade stormed the building. All of the terrorists were killed in the assault, but not before they used firearms and explosives to kill 21 children that afternoon. A total of 26 people were killed and 66 wounded (not including the terrorists), including several people murdered by the terrorists on their way to the school the night before. This event is known as the Maalot massacre.

13 November 1974: Arafat addressed the UN General Assembly in New York for the first time, wearing a barely disguised pistol and carrying an olive branch and dressed in a military uniform.

1982: Following the Israeli invasion of Lebanon in 1982 Arafat and the PLO were forced to leave Beirut by Israeli forces led by Ariel Sharon. He settled in Tunis.

November 15, 1988: Arafat proclaimed the independent Palestinian State, though the PLO did not control any Palestinian territory.

April 2, 1989: Arafat was elected by the Central Council of the Palestine National Council (the governing body of the PLO) to be the president of this hypothetical Palestinian state.

1990: Arafat and the PLO backs Saddam Hussein in the Kuwait crisis January 1993:

1993: Met with Israeli Prime Minister Yitzak Rabin for secret peace talks in Norway, leading to the Oslo Peace Accords. The Oslo Accords called for the implementation of Palestinian self rule in the West Bank and Gaza Strip over a five year period.

13 September 1993: Arafat and Israel's Prime Minister, Yitzhak Rabin, appeared on the White House lawn. Under the agreement, Arafat was allowed to enter Palestinian ruled territory on July 1, 1994. The agreement also led to Palestinian autonomy in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank town of Jericho.

1994: Arafat returned to the Palestinian territory and was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize along with Israeli premier Yitzhak Rabin and foreign minister Shimon Peres.

20 January 1996: Arafat was elected the first president of the Palestinian Council governing the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

July 2000: US president Bill Clinton brought Arafat and then Israeli prime minister Ehud Barak to his Camp David presidential retreat in July; the talks, aimed at a final peace settlement, collapsed and paved the way for the eruption of the second Palestinian uprising in September.

December 2001: The Israeli army encircled Arafat in his West Bank headquarters in Ramallah, known as the Muqataa, and troops destroyed his fleet of helicopters in Gaza.

April 2003: reluctantly agreed to appoint his first prime minister, Mahmud Abbas. Abbas lasted less than four months in the job after failing to persuade Arafat to loosen control over the security services. Ahmed Qurie was appointed to replace Abbas.

Arafat Terrorist Ties


With Fatah, Arafat recruited terrorists and led fedayeen raids into Israeli territory. Fedayeen fighters are called "Men of Sacrifice" or "Suicide Fighters" who engage in homicide-style bombings. Offshoots of al-Fatah include the infamous "Black September" terrorist group who were responsible for murdering the Israeli athletes at the 1972 Munich Olympics. When the PLO was founded in 1964, as an umbrella organization for various Arab terrorist factions, Fatah was the largest group. It was, and still is, the military arm of the PLO. By 1968 Arafat assumed control of the PLO.


Established by the Arab League in 1964 with its primary objective to “drive the Jews into the sea” and to create an independent Palestinian nation state at the expense of the nation of Israel, the PALESTINE LIBERATION ORGANIZATION is an umbrella organization of terrorist groups associated with many Palestinian political groups and terrorist organizations. From approximately 1964 to 1967, the PLO was under the control of the founding Arab states, although the Arab states controlling the PLO lost much of their legitimacy after the war. Yasser Arafat, head of the terrorist organization al-Fatah was elected chairman of the PLO in 1969. In addition to al-Fatah, the PLO umbrella contains several significant terrorist organizations, such as al-Fatah, Palestine Liberation Front (PLF), Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PLFP), Hawari Group, and Force 17.

The Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine

The DFLP is a Marxist-Leninist organization that was founded in 1969 when it split from the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP). It is a member of Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) which asserts that Palestinian goals can be achieved only through revolution by the people.

Black September

Black September is a Palestinian paramilitary organization that was founded in 1970. It had links to various groups within the PLO, most notably Fatah and the PFLP. numerous sources claim that the organization was controlled by Yasser Arafat, the leader of PLO.

The name "Black September" originates from the fighting between Palestinians and Jordanian officials in September 1970. This month was called "Black September" because the Arabs fought among themselves rather than against the Israelis. The first action of this group was to assassinate Jordanian Prime Minister Wasfi Tel on 28 November 28 1971. Wasfi Tel was instrumental in expelling the Palestinan fighters from Jordan in 1970-71. Its most well-known act was the "Munich massacre", the kidnapping and killing of Israeli athletes during the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich.

Are Islamic Inheritance Laws behind the Arafat soap opera?

by Laura Mansfield

As the soap opera continues to play out on what is presumed to be the deathbed of Yassir Arafat, analysts have speculated that there may be financial motives behind the behavior of Arafat’s wife, Suha. It has been speculated that Madame Suha may be trying to broker some sort of deal over the control of Arafat’s fortune, conservatively estimated to be between one and five billion US dollars.

Suha was a 27-year-old Christian at the time she married 61-year-old Yassir Arafat in 1990. Although she ostensibly converted to Islam in 1990, that conversion appears to be somewhat in doubt.

According to a 2001 article by Danny Rubenstein in the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, “Suha was quoted in several interviews as saying that she had only accepted Islam for ‘diplomatic purposes.’ In recent years, she has been seen attending the Christmas mass in Bethlehem, and according to Palestinian gossip, she was extremely angered at the reception in Bethlehem for Pope John Paul II, where the pontiff's address was interrupted by the sound of the muezzin summoning the Muslim worshipers to prayer.”

The validity of Suha’s conversion to Islam, and Islamic law regarding inheritance may in fact be at the foundation of the melodrama being acted out in Paris.

Reports that Suha attempted to convince Yassir Arafat to sign a will before he lapsed into a coma further lend credence to this theory.

Islamic inheritance law is somewhat complex but basically inheritance is governed according to the following guidelines.

When a Muslim dies, the following sequence of events is mandated by Islamic sharia:

1. payment of funeral expenses

2. payment of his/her debts

3. execution his/her will

4. distribution of remaining estate amongst the heirs according to Sharia

Islamic law mandates distribution of the estate as follows.

There are many restrictions as to who can and who cannot inherit. First, illegitimate and adopted children have no rights of inheritance whatsoever, and most Islamic scholars agree that Christians do not have the right to inherit from a Muslim

According to the Qu’ran, the following heirs have the right to inherit from a Muslim:

  • Mother
  • Father
  • Surviving spouse(s) (only those currently married to at the time of death; includes plural wives)
  • Son
  • Daughter
  • Brother
  • Sister

    (Three other categories who can inherit have been designated by Islamic jurists, but these do not apply in the case of Arafat because his grandparents are no longer living, and he has no grandchildren.)

    Female heirs inherit one-half of the share to which male heirs are entitled.

    In the case of Arafat, both of his parents are dead; he has no son. Arafat’s living heirs are his wife Suha, his daughter, and his brother Dr. Fathi Arafat. (Fathi Arafat is currently being treated in a Cairo hospital for terminal cancer; if Fathi Arafat dies first, then his heirs will not stand to inherit from Yassir Arafat. Only if Yassir Arafat predeceases Fathi Arafat will Fathi’s family stand to inherit part of their uncle’s estate through their father.) Of the original 7 Arafat children, only Fathi and Yassir are still alive; their sister Yusra died last year; another syster, Inam is buried in Khan Younis refugee camp. Another brother is buried in Gaza.

    Arafat and the PLO Power Vacuum

    Conflicting Medical Reports

    As Palestinian terrorist leader Yasser Arafat lies in a French hospital, sympathizers have turned the Clamart location into a shrine and an impromptu Mosque. Reports from the hospital suggest that Arafat is suffering from a “mystery illness” and described his condition in varying degrees from grave to stable. Arafat’s wife, French citizen and Paris resident Suha At-Taweel has clamped down on the release of any reports on Arafat’s current condition, although reports leaked from the Paris hospital suggest that his condition is declining.

    For some time, there has been quiet discussion in intelligence circles about Arafat’s physical condition. Many have suspected that Arafat suffers from AIDS, a “theory” recently made public by well-known researcher and author David Horowitz. On Friday, November 5th, 2004, Horowitz publicly claimed in an exclusive interview with Orlando talk show-host Pat Campbell of AM 540 WFLA, Arafat was suffering from AIDS due to his sexual proclivities. To be certain, others have suggested the same thing, and have cited sources close to Arafat. more recently, there has been talk in intelligence circles that Arafat has been poisoned by al Qaeda operatives who have infiltrated his inner circle, ultimately and very publicly placing the blame on Israeli Mossad agents. If the latter is indeed true, than this could be “the” assassination of a high-level leader referenced by Islamic clerics in their diatribes over the last 12 months.

    Controversy, Violence Even in Death

    News of the anticipated death of Yasser Arafat brings with it a potential cascade of events that could rock the foundations of the Middle East to the core. Despite conflicting reports of his medical condition, it is unlikely that Arafat is going to be returning to his Ramallah compound, potentially resulting in a power vacuum not seen in the last four decades.

    As reports indicate, Yasser Arafat expressed a desire to be buried at the complex in Jerusalem that Jews and Christians refer to as the Temple Mount, where the ruins of the Jewish temples are, including the Western Wall of the Temple, and that Muslims call the Haram Al Sharif (containing the Al Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock).

    Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has publicly stated that while he is Prime Minister, he will not allow Arafat to be buried in Jerusalem, and has instead selected a different location for Arafat’s final resting place on the outskirts of the city. Israeli Justice Minister Yosef Lapid also nixed the idea of Arafat’s Jerusalem burial, stating: "Jerusalem is the city where Jewish kings are buried, and not Arab terrorists."

    Even in death, Arafat will likely succeed in increasing the violence between the Palestinians and the Israelis. It is important to remember that Arafat, as head of the PLO aligned himself and the Palestinians with Saddam Hussein during Iraq’s 1990 invasion of Kuwait and was deeply involved in terrorist activities since the 1940’s.

    Combined with the current military campaign in Iraq, growing allegations that Arafat has been suffering from AIDS and might have been poisoned, and the inciting words of Arafat’s wife Suha, who issued "an appeal to the Palestinian people," accusing Arafat’s top aides of conspiring to usurp her husband's 40-year role as Palestinian leader, and most significantly, Arafat’s desire to be buried in Jerusalem, the situation in the Middle East has all of the elements for a significant increase in violence in the Middle East of biblical proportions.

    Based on these events, the announcement of Arafat’s death would almost certainly cause the Palestinian Imams to whip the Muslim masses into a frenzy, who are already on edge by Sharon’s public political stance and the religious motivation of Ramadan. Should demands of a burial at the Temple Mount be continued, it is possible to see an attack on the Temple itself, which is already structurally unsound. Absent of all other possible factors, such an event could exacerbate the Israel-Palestinian situation beyond repair.

    Douglas J. Hagmann Laura Mansfield

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