On October 29,
2004 the 75-year old leader of the Palestinian
Authority and Palestine Liberation Organization
(PLO) was airlifted from his West Bank home of
Ramallah to a hospital in Paris.
When Arafat left Ramallah, he was suffering from an
intestinal flu and a low level of platelets, which
help blood clot, indicating a possible problem with
his bone marrow. He was disoriented, weak
and unable to recognize colleagues. At one point,
the president lost consciousness.
Doctors ruled out leukemia after a bone marrow
biopsy and had been trying to determine whether the
ailment was caused by stomach cancer or a viral
infection. By Nov. 5, 2004, the PLO leader had
fallen into a coma and died on November 10.
Next in Line:
death, Palestinian leaders quickly appointed a
temporary government to rule until elections are
held in January, 2005.
Mahmoud Abbas (better known as
Abu Mazen) – Arafat’s No. 2 on the PLO
executive committee, took over running the PLO while
Arafat was being treated. Abbas, a political
moderate with a small support base, was elected to
head the Palestinian Authority.
(a relative unknown) was sworn in as temporary
president of the Palestinian Authority. He will
serve as caretaker president until elections are
Korei (known as Abu Alaa) –
Took over the day-to-day management of the
Palestinian Authority (the internationally
recognized governing agency for the Palestinian
The most popular politician after Arafat, has been serving
multiple life sentences in an Israel prison. Sources
have said that he plans to run for president as the
candidate representing his Fatah movement in the
groomed a successor nor allowed democratic
institutions to mature. His passing was expected to
cause chaos within the Palestinian polity.
Israel has had a
military contingency plan, code-named "New Leaf," in
place in the event of an end to Arafat's leadership.
illness Arafat had requested that his body be buried
at the site of the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. The
Israelis denied this request for fear
that Arafat's burial at the site (holy to both Jews
and Muslims) would strengthen Palestinian claims to
the Noble Sanctuary/Haram al-Sharif.
was buried at his home in Hamallah, where he had
been kept under virtual house arrest for the few
years of his life.
For the last few
years, the United States and Israel have refused to
have any dealings with Arafat and hope that a change
in leadership would reopen dialogue between the
fear that political chaos following the death of the
leader (since Arafat never designated a successor)
would leave the Palestinians weak and vulnerable.