For nearly three years the Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat lived as a prisoner in the former British military compound in Ramallah known as the Muqata. His home was what was left of its main buildings after the Israeli army repeatedly destroyed sections of the compound during invasions of Ramallah. His health rapidly failing in November 2004, Arafat received permission from Israel to fly to a military hospital in Paris where he died a few days later. The cause of death is still a mystery, though there are indications that he was poisoned, probably by Israel…
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On 11 November 2004, Arafat’s funeral procession took place in Egypt, attended by world dignitaries, though only low-ranking politicians from several Western countries, and then his body was loaded on to a helicopter and flown for burial at the Muqata in Ramallah. The chaotic scenes that greeted his coffin as Palestinians poured into the battered Muqata and occupied every surface they could find reminded the world, if only briefly, that, whatever Israel and America believed, Arafat had not been made irrelevant to many ordinary Palestinians.
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