Arafat, en coma

Como era previsible, todas las declaraciones sobre el excelente estado de salud de Arafat sólo pretendían ocultar su agravamiento. Varios medios de comunicaciones franceses informan hoy que el presidente palestino se encuentra en estado de coma. Ya hay un desmentido, dicen que sólo ha estado inconsciente, pero no parece muy creíble.

Los que saben lo que se juegan en esta situación no corren riesgos. Los dirigentes palestinos que estaban fuera de Cisjordania están regresando con rapidez para celebrar una reunión extraordinaria del Comité Ejecutivo de la OLP.

Para los interesados en datos concretos, fechas y acontecimientos, aquí va una breve cronología de la vida de Arafat, recopilada por la agencia Reuters:

1929 - Mohammed Abdel-Raouf Arafat al-Qudwa al-Husseini born
to modest trading family. Biographies say he was born in Cairo.
He says he was born in Jerusalem on Aug 24.

1948 - Arafat takes part in Arab-Jewish fighting as Britain
withdraws from Palestine Mandate. War divides country and
hundreds of thousands of Palestinians flee.

1952 - As engineering student at Cairo University, Arafat
takes over Palestinian Students League after Egyptian colonel
Gamal Abdel Nasser seizes power in a bloodless military coup.

1958 - Employed as engineer in Kuwait, Arafat and small
group of Palestinian exiles form first cell of Fatah movement
advocating armed struggle to liberate Palestinian lands.

1964 - Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) is
established under Egyptian auspices.

1965 - With paltry weapons and the name al-Asifa -- "The
Storm" -- Fatah begins guerrilla raids against Israel.

1967 - Israel captures West Bank, East Jerusalem, Gaza
Strip, Sinai and Golan Heights in Middle East war, radicalising
Palestinian resistance groups.

1968 - Palestinian forces fight first major battle with
Israeli army at Karameh. Buoyed by triumph after Israeli
withdrawal, Arafat affiliates Fatah with the PLO.

1969 - Arafat is elected chairman of the PLO.

1970 - "Black September": Jordanian army attacks Palestinian
forces in Jordan after guerrillas hijack four passenger planes
to desert airstrip in kingdom. PLO expelled from Jordan.

1974 - Arafat appears at United Nations "bearing an olive
branch and a freedom fighter's gun". He says: "Do not let the
olive branch fall from my hand".

1982 - Israel invades Lebanon with declared aim of driving
away Palestinian guerrillas. Israeli troops push on to Beirut
and PLO is forced to evacuate its fighters.

1983 - Senior Fatah officer heads revolt against Arafat.
Syrian troops and PLO rebels besiege his remaining forces in
north Lebanon. Arafat leaves for Tunis.

1987 - Palestinians in West Bank and Gaza launch uprising.
Arafat associates himself with the "Intifada".

1988 - Arafat reads declaration of independence for state.
He later publicly rejects "all forms of terrorism", meeting U.S.
conditions for dialogue, and says Israel has right to exist.

1990 - Arafat supports Iraq's Saddam Hussein over his
invasion of Kuwait, costing ties with wealthy Gulf oil states.

1991 - Under U.S. and Soviet auspices, Middle East peace
conference convenes in Madrid.

1992 - Arafat survives plane crash in sandstorm in Libyan
desert. Three crew members are killed in crash.

1993 - At White House, Arafat and Israeli Prime Minister
Yitzhak Rabin make historic handshake, sealing outline for
limited Palestinian self-rule in West Bank and Gaza under
interim peace accord secretly negotiated in Oslo, Norway.

1994 - Arafat returns in triumph to Gaza and takes over as
head of Palestinian Authority.

1995 - In Washington, Arafat and Rabin sign interim
agreement setting stage for Israeli redeployment in West Bank.
Arafat's peace partner Rabin assassinated by ultra-nationalist
Jewish gunman.

1996 - Arafat elected Palestinian Authority President in
West Bank and Gaza elections. He launches crackdown on Hamas
Islamic militants after wave of suicide attacks.

1997 - Palestinians sign deal with government of right-wing
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for long delayed handover of
most of Hebron. After that, peacemaking grinds to a halt.
1998 - Arafat and Netanyahu sign Wye River deal for phased
Israeli withdrawals from West Bank. Netanyahu freezes it after
two months, saying Arafat has not met security conditions.

1999 - Arafat signs deal with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud
Barak setting September 2000, deadline for final peace treaty.

2000 - Peace talks collapse. Palestinians start second
Intifada after then-opposition leader Ariel Sharon visits
disputed Jerusalem holy site. Israel says the violence was
planned beforehand.

2001 - Arafat's old foe Sharon elected Israeli prime

2002 - Arafat pinned down under siege at Ramallah
headquarters by Israeli troops amid an offensive launched after
huge suicide bombing by Palestinian militants.

2003 - Arafat appoints moderate Mahmoud Abbas prime minister
under international pressure to cede some of his powers, but
refuses to cede control of security forces, and Abbas resigns.
Palestinians endorse U.S.-backed "road map" peace plan.

2004 - Arafat faces unprecedented internal unrest and
demands for anti-corruption reforms, and falls ill with stomach
ailment. Officials say on Oct. 28 he is "very, very sick" and he
is airlifted the next day to France for treatment.