Barack Obama Dreams From My Father
An American Journey
Home Media Yasser Arafat
Yasser Arafat
Monday, 15 November 2004
By Oona King

The first time I met Yasser Arafat was in 1998.  I had been an MP for just over a year, and I was keen to meet the man who told the United Nations “I carry an olive branch in one hand and a freedom fighter’s gun in the other”.  His Ramallah headquarters were spartan yet neat.  There was no sign of the rubble and bombs that would engulf the compound when I returned five years later. 

I was with six other MPs and we were concerned by his appearance: his hands and face were white, drained of colour.  His lips were blue.  His eyes were cloudy and his mind seemed to lose the threads of our conversation.  An aide often answered our questions on his behalf.  I left the meeting deeply worried about the prospects for his health, fear