This Happened—January 19: Yassar Arafat Returns
Yasser Arafat returns to Hebron on this date in 1997.
Who was Yasser Arafat?
Arafat was a Palestinian political leader. In the latter part of the 1950s, Arafat co-founded Fatah, a paramilitary organization seeking the removal of Israel and its replacement with a Palestinian state. He later recognized Israel’s right to exist and advocated for a two-state solution.
He remained a controversial figure through his life. Palestinians regard him as a freedom fighter, but Israelis saw him as a terrorist. He was co-award the Nobel Peace Prize in1994.
Why is Hebron so important?
Hebron is holy for Jews, Muslims and Christians. After more than 30 years of Israeli military rule, it was the last West Bank territory to be handed back to Palestine. Arafat received a hero’s welcome on his return.