Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Why won't the Palestinians come clean over Arafat's death? Must they create a myth for every fact they don't like? Doesn't the truth mean anything to the Palestinians?

Experts: Yasser Arafat died of AIDS or poisoning

By Amos Harel
September 8, 2005

An analysis of the confidential medical report on Yasser Arafat's death reveals three main possibilities as to the cause: poisoning, AIDS or an infection.

Israel and foreign doctors who have seen the report say the details do not lead to a conclusive determination on what caused the death.

After Arafat died on November 11 at a military hospital in Paris, copies of the pathology report compiled by the hospital staff - and kept under wraps until now - were handed over to Arafat's widow, Suha, and senior PA officials. The report's findings are now being published for the first time in the revised edition of "The Seventh War" by journalists Amos Harel and Avi Isacharoff, to be released next week by Yedioth Ahronoth in Hebrew.

The chapter of the book dealing with Arafat's death appears on Friday in the Haaretz magazine: http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/622612.html

The report does not lift the veil of mystery surrounding Arafat's death entirely: it lists the immediate cause of death as a massive brain hemorrhage, but adds that "a discussion among a large number of medical experts... shows that it is impossible to pinpoint a cause that will explain the combination of symptoms that led to the death of the patient."

Dr. Ashraf al-Kurdi, Arafat's personal physician who played no part in the late PA chairman's medical care during the final weeks of his life, said that he knows that the French doctors found the AIDS virus in Arafat's blood. Al-Kurdi refuses to divulge the source of this information, but claims that the virus was put into Arafat's blood in an effort to blur the traces of poisoning, which was the cause of death.

Most senior officials, including Mohammed Dahlan and Jibril Rajoub, have said in interviews with the book's authors that they are convinced Arafat was poisoned by Israel. The Palestinians mention Israel's assassination attempt by means of poison on Hamas leader Khaled Meshal in Amman in 1997. According to the officials, Arafat was not sufficiently cautious and could easily have been poisoned, because he would receive candies and medicines from visitors and consume them without medical supervision.

A statement from Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's office defined the poison claims as "nonsense," adding that such claims were investigated in the past and found to be false.

Prof. Gil Lugassi, president of the Israel Hematologists Association who read the French report, said that the symptoms described could be typical of AIDS.

The French medical report stipulates that no traces of poison were found in Arafat's body, but the tests were not comprehensive and did not include checks for all types of known poisons.

* The report does not clear up the ambiguities surrounding Yasser Arafat's death. It also leaves a third option: Arafat died of an infection.

* Senior Palestinian Authority officials, including Jibril Rajoub: The Rais was poisoned.

* Arafat's personal doctor: The HIV virus was detected in his blood shortly before his death.

* Prime Minister's Office: Arafat was not poisoned. "Absolute nonsense."


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