Yasser Arafat was born in 1929.  During the Arab-Israeli War of 1948, Arafat escaped to Egypt. He then earned an engineering degree at Cairo University. In the early 1960's, he helped found the Palestinian guerrilla group opposed to Israel known as Fatah. He then took Fatah into the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO). In 1969, Arafat became chairman of the PLO's Executive Committee. The PLO made many raids on Israel and in 1970, King Hussain, the leader of Jordan opposed the PLO's attacks on Israel and forced the PLO to flee from Jordan. Arafat then based his PLO in Beirut, Lebanon where he continued to attack Israel and care for the Palestine refugees. In 1982, Arafat again had to flee when Israelis invaded Lebanon to stop the PLO's attacks. In 1988, Arafat decided to recognize Israel as a legitimate state. But when the Persian Gulf War occurred, he publicly sided with Iraq losing much of his credibility. Arafat then started working towards peace with Israel. In 1993, Arafat and Yitzak Rabin signed a peace treaty which helped earn Arafat a Nobel Prize in 1994. Arafat's push for peace makes him a very important figure in the growing stability of the Middle East.

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