by Yoseph Engel
A Graphological Analysis of Yasser Arafat
Our Rabbis teach us that a prerequisite in making peace is to
"give [something] up." Marriage counselors know that when the
desire to sacrifice is present, peace is truly desired. Let
us delve into Yasser Arafat's personality through
graphological analysis. His desire for peace -- or lack
thereof -- will become apparent.
Mr. Arafat has captivated world leaders, kings and presidents
alike. His own people adore him. How can a terrorist charm
** Figure 1: Signature of Yasser Arafat: oengelA.jpg **
When we see an i dot joined to another letter or, for that
matter, any letter that requires a dot or bar with its dot or
bar joined to the main letter, as in Figure 1, it shows a
clever combination of thoughts -- doing two things in one
shot, so to speak. These are the personalities of chess
players, and people who can solve abstract and intricate
Notice Arafat's capital "A" bar that links into the next
letter, "r." His underlined signature discloses pride and
Going a step further, notice the ascending baseline of the
writing. This reflects aspiration, an "up" personality, and
one with an ardent desire for advancement, a pushing and
buoyant spirit, ambition, restlessness and optimism.
In handwriting analysis, the baseline--how straight the
subject writes--reflects mood and how straightforward the
writer is. In order to ensure that the base line is
accurately read by the graphologist it is best that the paper
be unlined, for lined paper has a way of guiding the writer
in a course which may not be his real self.
** Figure 2: oengel2.jpg **
The writing in Figure 2 is more or less straight. You can see
this by taking a ruler and placing it under the middle-zone
letters (a, c, e, etc.). They are all basically equidistant
from the ruler. Generally speaking, when the baseline is
straight (and certain other factors are not present), we find
an individual who doesn't go to pieces if something
unexpected occurs. He is composed, not easily upset, straight
thinking, straightforward, upright, frank and honest.
** Figure 3: oengel3.jpg **
The writing in Figure 3 has what is called an ascending base
line, climbing toward the sky. This is the writing of an
optimist. People who write like this are not easily
discouraged and are a delight to have around, since they
usually look on the bright side of life. There is a problem
with them, however: often they do not look at facts too
closely, because of their optimistic personalities, and this
obviously impairs their judgment.
As the base line begins ascending, we see the degree of
optimism: the higher the ascent the higher the degree of
optimism--along with a higher degree of impracticality. The
straightforwardness has succumbed due to the force of the
positive, unrealistic optimism.
Yasser Arafat's pushing, buoyant, optimistic, uplifting and
stimulating character--in the face of all--clearly has a most
Both Mr. Arafat's signature and his underline ascend
approximately to the same degree. The numbers in the date
climb comparably. The first and second "9" ascend
proportionately. The only reason the last number, "93," does
not rise to the same degree is because -- consciously or
otherwise -- the writer detects an oncoming obstruction (the
printed text above) and must make the necessary adjustment.
The fact that the date was not written somewhat lower from
the onset and that an adjustment becomes necessary, reflects
Notice the disproportionately large "f" in the lower zone,
reflecting materialism. The authoritative Swiss graphologist
Max Pulver described these highly inflated lower loops as
"money bags," originating in a "money complex." The crass
disproportion between this hand's upper (intellectual) zone
and the inflated lower zone loop seems to confirm Pulver's
view. The need (the greed) for land, etc. would then be an
application of such a disparity.
** Figure 4: oengel4.jpg **
In Figure 4 the pointed (or angular) shape is at the bottom
of a letter that should ordinarily be round. This shows
resentment. In addition, here is a piercing, sharp
personality, bent on getting his way. The angular shape
reveals hardness and rigidity, especially when it dips into
the lower (physical) zone for some strength. The bottom part
of Mr. Arafat's "f" should be completely round; in fact it is
When any form of writing is added to a script, especially
when unnecessary, it is highly informative. A pointed form
that looks more like a sword (underneath the capital "A" in
Arafat's name) pierces downward, which enhances the
Compare the pressure in all the downstrokes, such as the "Y"
and "f," with that of the cross strokes: the underline and
the bar of the "t."
The muscles that are employed to write the downstrokes are
the flexors. The extensor muscles are used more in the cross
strokes. Flexor muscles are stronger than extensors and
therefore ordinarily produce stronger pressure. Downstrokes
are habitually written with heavier pressure than cross
strokes for this reason. You will notice that Mr. Arafat's
cross strokes are written with heavier pressure than his
When the cross strokes are comparatively heavier than the
downstrokes, mother appears to be the actively domineering or
aggressive head of the family; the father remains relatively
weak and ineffectual, though perhaps he is a man of
intellectual stature; or he may be hated, or dead, or
The child feels neglected or overpowered by the mother,
depending on whether her love is lacking or overwhelming. The
child never really feels secure, is always either slighted or
fondled, emotionally starved or smothered; in one word,
It is typical of writers with most of their pressure in the
cross strokes that they can neither conceive of their own --
nor, for that matter, of any -- limitations, nor can they
stop "making the best of themselves" (overcompensation).
** Figure 5: oengel5.jpg **
Notice that in figure 5 the unizonal letters (a, e, etc.)
vary in size. When one varies his unizonal letters it
indicates someone who is constantly altering his position.
A signature is the image that one portrays to the outside
world. In Arafat's autograph, where he is certainly
exceedingly vigilant as to how he will appear, the two small
a's vary in size -- and in so short a name. Thus changing his
declaration is to be expected. This, combined with the fact
that both these oval letters are sealed at the top discloses
that the writer is enigmatic.
Yet, perhaps what is most astonishing is that this is a
signature on a document of peace, intended for his "friend"
the late Prime Minister, Yitzhak Rabin. In general, a man
starts off trying to give the best possible impression of
himself and this shows in the beginning stroke.
After a while, he lets his guard down. At the end of the
signature he is not so conscious as he was of giving that
good first impression. He has asserted himself; he no longer
needs to be so conscious of his appearance. Therefore we see
his true character emerge.
It is always interesting to compare the beginning strokes
with the end ones, a comparison that yields a wealth of
With the end stroke, the writer here has a problem similar to
that of his beginning stroke: where to end. It is a social
decision, since the end of the word represents his
relationship to his fellowman. If his end stroke turns back
toward the left, this shows his thinking is directed toward
the past, his home, mother and childhood, repression. If it
is drawn out to the right, it shows him oriented toward other
people, the future, goals. If his end strokes go upward, we
will see that his thoughts are spiritual ones, religious,
even mystical. If they go downward, his thoughts are
materialistic, implying that he lives a life of pleasure. If
he avoids a commitment and simply fades out, without an end
stroke at all, it indicates meanness toward his fellowman.
In his first letter, the capital "A," the A bar is written
very low between the legs of the letter. This is a clear
gesture of submission--the first impression.
What is Mr. Arafat's final writing--the real Yasser
Notice the underline closely, which is the end of the
document. It ends with an inflexible hook. This end hook
One easily receives from the whole signature a first
impression that he will yield, and then his true character
emerges. Mr. Arafat allows his personality to get in his way.
He will not tolerate any concession whatsoever. That
necessary ingredient for peace, to give up, has been
Rabbi Yoseph Engel has been a maggid shiur,
marriage counselor and graphologist for the past thirty
years. He lives in Yerushalayim and recently published
Advice for Living with the haskomoh of
rabbonim. He can be reached at 972-64 248-154 (064-
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