CAIRO -- The name is Arafat and the round, brown eyes, thick mustache, large nose and chubby cheeks all add up to a very familiar face. But there are no bodyguards, no private jet and no gun. His bald pate is very much in view and his dress leans to the casual-frumpled. He's been known to hand-wash his shirts to avoid a hotel laundry bill, and he drives his own car around Cairo.

Fathi Arafat is a 57-year-old physician who works out of a small office in the northeast part of this city, not far from where he grew up with his older brother, Palestine Liberation Organization Chairman Yasser Arafat. A contrast in lifestyles surely, and in many interests perhaps, but the brothers have their eyes on the same prize.

Fathi Arafat gladly leaves politics with a capital P to his brother. Less interested in the intricacies of negotiations or the nuances of a press release, he instead has concentrated on what he calls "the other side of the Palestinians' struggle." As a founder of the Palestine Red Crescent Society in 1968 and its president now for 13 years, Arafat has been responsible for setting up a medical and health care system that includes some 70 hospitals and 200 clinics for Palestinians living in diaspora in the Middle East.

"I am part of his big goal," Fathi said of his brother. "To be fair, he is concerned about humanitarian issues as part of his responsibilities. {But} my strategy is decrease suffering as much as I can. Pain and suffering make people lose their logicalness, it increases the deviation to irrationality. The {peace} process is taking time, so I want people to wait for it. So the strategy is decrease suffering, decrease pain so they can be able to wait for some time."

The brothers' different interests were already evident when they were students at Cairo University in the 1950s. Fathi, who is three years younger, "believes in the cause, but he wasn't as political as Yasser, {who} was very consumed with the whole idea," said Ahmed Mobarak, a medical school classmate of Fathi Arafat who now practices psychiatry in New York.

"When Yasser was talking about his dreams for the Palestinians we, as Egyptians, didn't understand it then. But Fathi always talked about his brother with admiration and respect, saying he's doing the right thing and sacrificing his life for that cause when everyone else felt so discouraged," said Mobarak.

Fathi Arafat says he dislikes what he calls "officiality" and says he harbors no dreams of being a cabinet minister in a Palestinian state. "Perhaps it's my constitution. I don't like power. I like the freedom of non-officiality and for this I am not official. Till now. I am the president of a humanitarian society, so it is beautiful. I like to go to gardens, seashore, forests. I don't like to go to theaters or the cinema {because} I don't like chairs. I like to walk. I like to move."

Inevitably, during his travels to promote his work there are plenty of double takes and then the whispers, 'Yes, it's him!' as people mistake him for his brother. Once, at the United Nations, reporters and television crews jumped to the same conclusion and converged, firing questions and filming his every move. In Manila, he emerged from his hotel room to find security guards posted outside his door.

He used to ask friendly governments for passports with false names to "facilitate" staying at hotels. But this was a problem because he tended to forget his alias and blithely ignored urgent pagings on the intercom. In Yugoslavia, a thorough customs official found four passports with four different names and, quite naturally, had a few questions. "So I told him my name is Arafat," Fathi said, chuckling, "and he said, 'Okay. Okay. I understand.' "

Arafat's demurrals notwithstanding, his job with the Palestine Red Crescent Society is, because of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, political as well as humanitarian. He also is a member of the PLO's parliament in exile and was named acting health minister of the independent Palestinian state declared by the PLO in November 1988. As such, he has helped lead the PLO's fight to acquire full membership in the World Health Organization, a move opposed by the United States and Israel.

He also has a politician's instinct for milking at least a moral victory from a political defeat. Before the WHO voted to reject the PLO's bid to join it in 1988, the organization spent three days discussing the merits of the case -- long enough to give Arafat an opening. By his account, the Israeli delegate afterward expressed his satisfaction with the WHO's stand. Then Arafat spoke, and the gist of what he said was: "I want to thank you for giving our people your valuable time. If you didn't respect our people you wouldn't give us all this time. And really, as I see it, there's no big difference of opinion here. Some of you want to give us our full rights now, and others want to wait a bit for more studies and then give us our rights."

Par Stenback, secretary general of the Geneva-based League of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, describes Arafat as "a smooth operator. He has very good contacts in many camps and he takes good care of them, always calling them. He is always trying to make these contacts flourish."

"Personal relationships are the most important part" of making an enterprise work, said Arafat. "It's not the laws and punishments and prizes. I can have more with a personal relationship."

Some young Palestinans, especially ones who idolize the PLO leader, find Fathi Arafat's preference for a low-profile role disappointing. "Because he looks so much like his brother, people expect the same level of commitment from him to the Palestinian people," said one. "But he has other things in his life."

The Palestine Hospital There are no PLO emblems in Fathi Arafat's office at Cairo's Palestine Hospital. A biography of his brother sits in a bookcase. On the wall there is a map of the world and behind his desk, a blowup of a bill printed by the Palestine Currency Board in the days before Palestine became Israel. A small clock, embedded in the bill, ticks away. There is also a 100-year-old book of line sketches titled "Picturesque Palestine."

The sketches limn an idealized land of shepherds, exotic souks and quaint homes that are now long gone. But they stirred Arafat's nostalgia for a land he last saw as a child. He took a visitor to the carpentry shop in the hospital's basement, where he was having the workers build a wall-size reproduction of a Jerusalem street scene based on the sketches. "I'm using it to let them feel the atmosphere of Palestine," he said. He knows that the place no longer looks anything like that. "But still there is the smell of old things," he said.

The attachment to his Palestinian heritage also inspired Arafat's decision to transform the top floor of the hospital into a cultural center, including a museum, library, classrooms, theater and assembly hall. The entrance to the center is hung with huge raised letters, lit by a green floodlight, that say "Al Quds." Jerusalem. Pictures of Yasser Arafat and Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak grace the wall.

Fathi Arafat is director of the board of Palestine Hospital, which is located in the Cairo suburb of Heliopolis. It started in 1970 with 40 beds housed in a former villa. It now has 150 beds and will expand to 350 when enough staff members have been trained. "We want to train the people" before expanding, Arafat said. "I don't want to bring people from outside for everything. At the moment, the staff is two-thirds Palestinian, with most of the rest Egyptians. Like all the Palestine Red Crescent Society's facilities, Arafat said, it treats anyone who turns up, whatever the nationality.

The society also has set up a nursing school and a rehabilitation center for children and soon will open the first psychiatric unit in a Middle East community hospital.

Support for the Struggle Fathi Arafat was born Jan. 1, 1933, in Jerusalem, the youngest of seven children. His mother, Zahwa, who came from an aristocratic Palestinian family, died when he was 3 months old. His father, Abdel Raouf, was a businessman whose trade took him to Gaza and Cairo, where he also set up a household to which the family shuttled between stays in Jerusalem. They moved there permanently in 1948 with the outbreak of Arab-Israeli fighting over Israel's independence.

Even when Arafat was young, his father was "teaching us to be reliable," he recalled. "I remember, when I was a child, he was treating me like a man." He also recalls falling in love, at 14, with an American pen pal. They never met, but he still remembers her name: Rebecca.

After medical school, Arafat moved to Kuwait, where he worked as a pediatrician for the government from 1962 to 1967. In 1965, he married his Egyptian-born wife, Nadia, a dental surgeon, whom he met at medical school. They have two children: Amany, a 23-year-old dentist, and Tarek, a 22-year-old medical engineering student.

It was also in Kuwait that Arafat became more involved in the nascent Palestinian nationalist movement. He says that he did not know, initially, that his brother was a leader in the movement. "He did not tell me anything about it."

When the 1967 Arab-Israeli war broke out, Arafat quit and went to work as a volunteer doctor in Damascus, Syria. After that, he began working in the medical services of the PLO faction al-Fatah, then headed by his brother. One of his jobs was treating and caring for Fatah fighters. "For some little time I carried a pistol," Arafat said. "I did not use it. I never use guns."

Still, those were the days when intense terrorism, some of it directed against civilians, was PLO practice. How did he square this with his medical profession and humanitarian work? "I believe our people have the right to have their liberty in any way, trying always to use our forces against the military forces who are occupying us. The Israelis try to say that is terrorism.

"No, what we were using was the same that all nations who were looking for freedom used. Against the Nazi occupation, the French used guns, and everywhere they used guns for their liberty, and that is the right of our people. Any event against civilian people is terrorism. I'm against it. But armed struggle is the right of any people under occupation. It is not terrorism... . 100 percent in my physical being, I am against terrorism. But as a Palestinian losing all my rights, I am with the struggle of our people to have their liberation."

Arafat said he and his brother were "very close and very dear" when they were growing up in Cairo, but he declined to go much further than that on their relationship. "I feel something, really. This is a kind of honor inside myself. I feel he is responsible to speak about himself... . I will not speak about him."

He did recount getting a phone call in 1969, a year after the society was formed, from Yasser. " 'We want immediately to open a clinic in a {Palestinian refugee} camp in Lebanon,' " he said. "I tried to be very clever and I said, 'Okay, this will happen in one week.'

"And he said, 'What? One week? One week? Your people are waiting for you to send doctors and nurses for medical service. One week?' He was shouting. I felt like a criminal, really." He was joking, wasn't he? "No! He was not joking at all," Arafat said vehemently.

He and his medical team left Cairo for Lebanon two days later.

During the next 13 years, the society expanded in Lebanon, opening clinics and hospitals in Palestinian refugee communities and the poorer neighborhoods of Beirut. With the June 1982 Israeli invasion of Lebanon and siege of Beirut, those facilities were strained to the limit. Arafat said that in the first three months of the fighting, with the aid of expatriate volunteers who flew in and newly trained staff fresh off the street, the society opened 25 sites to treat the wounded.

The experience prompted Arafat's first and only book, which he wrote on airplanes "because it's the only place without telephones and interruptions." The book, "War, Health and Perseverance," tells about "how we could continue three months in Beirut under siege, with big bombardments, with this big army all around us. ... In some places it was only two kilometers. It was not 88 days. It was thousands of years. Thousands of years."

In September 1982, Arafat left Beirut aboard a hospital ship carrying 200 casualties to Athens. It became clear to him that with the Israeli intervention and the subsequent forced evacuation of the PLO's main fighting force and its administrative offices, he also would have to relocate.

"That was a night I don't forget," he said. "To build all that, and you find you are losing it all, losing all that at once after a big struggle." Arafat said he "went to the top of the ship and looked to the sea and began to think. Where am I going? I stayed till the morning, but I think that within this night I put {together} the plan for the coming days." As soon as he arrived in Athens, he opened a branch of the society.

"I felt that we were like seeds and you took us from Lebanon and you threw us to all the lands of the world," he said. "This also means that we will not stop. On both levels, the struggle for our cause, to have our rights, and the struggle for our needs."

Interest in Israelis Arafat, unlike his brother, has no problem getting a visa to the United States, which he first visited in 1986. "I went to every place of information, because I wanted the American people to catch me... . I wanted them to see us not as terrorists." He says he has noticed a change. "There is more understanding of our problems and our cause. You can feel it in the way people are speaking to you. It's not what they have said, it's feelings," he said.

His travels, especially those to international conferences on health, permit him opportunities to meet Jews, including Israelis, which he does with enthusiasm, according to Ellen Siegel of Washington, who has known Arafat since 1983 and is a volunteer here with the society.

"One of his priorities is Israelis -- he wants to meet them," Siegel said. "Many Palestinians in high places withdraw, they are not eager, they are hostile" about meeting Israelis and other Jews, she said. "But Fathi jumps right into it. He's very excited about meeting them. He doesn't hate them."

Asked if he has had offers of help from Israeli volunteers, Arafat replied: "Do you think I will tell you?" (Any Israeli who has contacts with Arafat could be prosecuted under Israeli law because of his membership in the PLO's parliament in exile. Despite this, several Israelis have recently sought out Arafat here for private discussions, sources said.) "I really had many offers for humanitarian support from Israelis, some doctors," Arafat finally said. "It was just offers, and always I say, 'I hope once, we will meet to build peace together.' "

Arafat said that even before the PLO formally declared its support for a "two-state" solution and openly accepted Israel's existence in November 1988, he believed in this approach. "You can't be a leader and you don't think of solutions, and solutions must be based on facts," said Arafat. "And the fact is, there are Israelis and there are Palestinians.

"A peace process and negotiations must come on the level of all Israelis with Palestinians. Doctors with doctors. Engineers with engineers. To make a real peace process, it must be built on community. So I hope it will be like that."

How, he is asked, does he think the current barriers can be breached? "Who's making {the barriers}?" he replied. "Israeli leaders. I think the Israeli people will interfere with this barrier. Because I believe in human beings... . Peace is in need of sacrifice the same as war, perhaps more. It's in need of real people, not tactical people."