Arafat Dead

Palestinian Authority President Yasser Arafat, 75, the leader who passionately sought a homeland for his people but was seen by many Israelis as a ruthless terrorist and a roadblock to peace, died early Thursday, November 11 2004 in Paris. A hospital spokesman said he died at 3:30 a.m. (02:30 GMT)

It remains to be seen what will now happen in the Middle East, where Arafat was at the center of the difficulties extending over decades. From any perspective, it seems likely that this is a momentous change, because he created a unique personal texture in official negotiations and also (some would say) the intifada that has been a prominent aspect of the Palestinian presence in the region.

Even before Arafat's death, there were symbolic signs of change, like Arafat's empty chair at the executive meeting of the PLO. The two men who are now running the government - former Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas and the current Prime Minster Ahmed Qorei, have reputations as moderates. Activists outside the Palestinian leadership were looking at Arafat's death as an opportunity to push for reforms -- open and accountable government, elections, and reforming of the Palestinian security services - that Arafat fought against for years

The formal event is defined as the 12 hours following Arafat's death, which was at 02:30 GMT. This period covers the time when any strong reactions might be expected (ultimately there were none). The news spread around the world, and early demonstrations of respect took place. Chisquare is 43682.5 on 43200 df, with p = 0.051, Z = 1.638.

Arafat Dead

Bryan Williams has produced a conceptual replication analysis, using 15-minute blocking instead of the raw seconds resolution. The following figure gives the result. The data started off as a random walk for the first several hours, then at around 06:30 UTC, went into a fairly steady positive trend that culminated around 12:30 UTC. The overall result was significant in block form, with Chi-Square = 3100.97, 2946 df, p = .023, associated z = 1.99.

BWilliams Arafat Dead

Adrial Patrut suggested that the during the entire "Yasser Arafat episode", the most emotional moment was the actual burial at Muqata, Ramallah, on Friday 12.11.2004, in the presence of an enthusiastic crowd of 250,000 mourners. He provided the exact times when the helicopter carying Arafat's corpse landed in Ramallah, in the midst of a huge and chaotic croud that the Palestinian Police utterly failed to control, and when the coffin of Arafat was lowered into the concrete crypt and covered with holy earth from Jerusalem. The following figure shows this time period, with the special moments marked. This is an informal analysis, which cannot be statistically evaluated, but it is an interesting graph visually.

Arafat Dead

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