Arafat in his own words


(11 November 2004) -- YASSER Arafat, who died early today at the age of 75, came to symbolise the struggle for a Palestinian state over the course of the last four decades. Here are some of his most famous quotes.


"I am a refugee for I have nothing, for I was banished and dispossessed of my homeland." - 1969 interview with Beirut's Al-Sayyad paper after becoming head of the Palestine Liberation Organisation.

Palestinian strategy

"Today I have come bearing an olive branch and a freedom fighter's gun. Do not let the olive branch fall from my hand" - November 1974 speech at the United Nations General Assembly.

View of United States

"What I ask you plainly is the crime of the people of Palestine against the American people? Why do you fight us so?" - UN speech.

Palestinian aspirations

"We are not asking for the moon" - February 1982 newspaper interview.
Siege of Beirut
"We were defending an Arab capital, defending Arab honour, standing up before the world for the whole Arab nation" - August 1982 comments on departure from Beirut after Israeli siege of Lebanese capital.

Renounces use of violence against Israel

Arafat acknowledged "the right of all parties concerned in the Middle East conflict to live in peace and security, including the state of Palestine, Israel and other neighbours" - December 1988 special session of UN in Geneva.

First war in Iraq

"Iraq and Palestine represent a common will. We will be together side by side and after the great battle, God willing, we will pray together in Jerusalem" - January 1990 address to a rally in Baghdad in build-up to war.

Life and Death

"I knew I will survive this crash. I will live to redeem the sacrifices of all our martyrs" - April 1992 comments after surviving plane crash in Libya which killed three other passengers.

Oslo Peace Accords
Arafat V sign

"My people are hoping that this agreement which we are signing today will usher in an age of peace, co-existence and equal rights" - September 1993 White House speech after signing accords with Israeli premier Yitzak Rabin.

Return to Gaza

"I'm returning to the first free part of Palestine. You have to imagine how this is moving my head and my heart" - July 1994 comments to reporters on his entry to the territory.

Second intifada

"It was a dangerous step which caused harm to the Islamic holy places. The Arab and Islamic world must mobilize against such actions" - September 2000 interview, commenting on the then Israeli opposition Ariel Sharon's visit to Jerusalem's mosque compound which triggered uprising.

September 11 attacks in New York and Washington

"What has happened is not only a crime against the American people or government but against humanity. It is a monstrous crime" - September 2001 comments to reporters.

US-led war on Iraq

"It (the war) wouldn't just be against Iraq but would constitute a coup against the Middle East" - March 2003 television interview.

Defiant to the end

"No-one can kick me out. They can kill me kill me with bombs but I will not leave" - September 2003 comments to reporters after Israeli security cabinet votes to "remove" him from West Bank headquarters.

The Australian

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