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On this day

With guns and an olive branch

“Today I come bearing an olive branch in one hand, and the freedom fighter’s gun in the other. Do not let the olive branch fall from my hand,” Yasser Arafat, leader of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) dramatically ended his speech at the UN General Assembly in 1974. It was the first time that a legal representative of the Palestinian people had a chance to deliver a speech to the UN. Taking the unique opportunity, Arafat warned the world: whether the PLO would resort to violence or peaceful means did not only depend on him. On February 4, 1969, Arafat, one of the most controversial figures of the 20th century, became the elected chairman of the PLO.

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