How did Yasser Arafat become involved with the PLO?
? Time Inc.
Mohammed Abdel-Raouf Arafat As Qudwa al-Hussaeini was born on August 24, 1929 in Cairo, his father a textile merchant who was a Palestinian with some Egyptian ancestry, his mother from an old Palestinian family in Jerusalem. His full name is also written as Abd al-Rahman abd al-Bauf Arafat al-Qud al-Husseini. Arafat shortened his name to obscure his kinship with the notorious ex-Mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Muhammed Amin al-Husseini 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”.]
In late 1952, Palestinian students from Gaza, studying primarily at Cairo University, set up the Union of Palestinian Students in Egypt. It was there that Yasser Arafat, a Civil Engineering student, and his coterie, including Salah Khalaf (Abu Iyad), later to become Arafat?s second in command, began their terrorist careers.
The Palestinian students, under Arafat?s leadership, were affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, then in its prime, and by far the most active organization on the Cairo campus. The liquidation of the Muslim Brotherhood by the Egyptian regime explains Arafat?s subsequent hostility toward Egyptian premier Jamal Abdul Nasser.
On October 10, 1959, a group of about 20 Palestinians met in Kuwait and secretly formed Fatah. Fatah (or al-Fatah) is an acronym standing for Harakat Al-Tahrir Al-Watani Al-Filastini?the Movement for the National Liberation of Palestine. In Arabic, HTF means death; when reversed to FTH it means victory. Arafat, who had been working as a construction engineer in Kuwait, soon emerged as the leader of Fatah.
With Fatah, Arafat recurited terrorists and led fedayeen raids into Israeli territory. Among the offshoots of Fatah was the infamous “Black September” who murdered 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 was PLO’s leader and he has been chairman of the PLO since then.