The End of an Era: Yasir Arafat

Courtesy Reuters
Yasir Arafat 
Photo: AP Photos

Yasir Arafat's long career as a crucial player in the modern history of the Middle East has finally come to a close. For decades Arafat has been synonymous with the Palestinian struggle, leading his community in war, peace, and the nebulous realm in between. For perspective on how much has changed over the years — and how much has not — Foreign Affairs offers this selection of pieces on Arafat and the Palestinians from its archives.



The Palestinian Quest
by Eric Rouleau

Following Arafat's historic appearance in front of the UN General Assembly, Palestinian nationalism stakes a claim for worldwide legitimacy.

After Rabat: Middle East Risks and American Roles
by Richard H. Ullman

Arafat and the PLO assert their newfound status as a central, powerful force in the Middle East.

Thinking the Unthinkable: A Sovereign Palestinian State
by Walid Khalidi

An argument that the only solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict is the establishment of a Palestinian state.

The Future of the PLO
by Eric Rouleau

Israel expels the PLO from Lebanon, but Arafat and his organization show a remarkable resiliency.

Toward Peace in the Holy Land
by Walid Khalidi

In the early days of the first intifada, Palestinians demand an end to occupation and a two-state solution.

The Urge for Democracy
by William B. Quandt

An optimist sees the signing of the Oslo Accords as opening the way for a democratic Palestinian state.

Arafat's Police State
by Amos Perlmutter

A pessimist sees only a Palestinian future of autocracy, militancy, and rising Islamic fundamentalism.

Peace Now or Hamas Later
by Khalil Shikaki

Corruption and a faltering peace process during the late 1990s allow Hamas militants to gain ground in the Palestinian community.

The New Palestinian Revolt
by Chris Hedges

A report from the frontlines of the al Aqsa intifada.

Palestinians Divided
by Khalil Shikaki

Behind the violence of the second intifada lies a Palestinian young guard angry at both Israel and the corruption of Palestinian Authority.

Being Yasir Arafat: A Portrait of Palestine's President

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