The Death of Arafat.
by Barry Shaw
They decided to dig up Yasser Arafat’s decaying body in Ramallah. Rotten in life, now
rotten in death.
Arafat was often heard proclaiming “I want to be a shahid!” Now, belatedly, they want to ‘prove’ that he died as a holy martyr. Why not? According to their crazy narrative the Jews killed Jesus. They also believe that the Jews poisoned Mohammed. So why not Arafat.
Earlier in the year Yasser Arafat’s widow, Suha Arafat, asked for her husband’s body to be exhumed after a laboratory said it had found traces of polonium in his clothing. Mrs. Arafat claims her husband was poisoned.
Arafat’s relatives believe that Israel poisoned Arafat. His nephew opposed having Arafat’s tomb “opened up and desecrated” because “he already knows the real truth.” That is, he says, that Israel killed Arafat.
Surely that evidence would have been recorded in the medical report from the French hospital that treated Arafat up to his death. Arafat died on November 11, 2004, in a French military hospital, where the doctors never gave a concrete explanation for his death.
Prime Minister Ariel Sharon considered Arafat a terrorist and an obstacle to peace. In 2002, Sharon told the Israeli newspaper Maariv that he regretted not "eliminating" Arafat in 1982, during the Lebanese war. Arafat's death would have “saved many lives,” Sharon said, "but we had a commitment" not to harm him, "and commitments must be honored." He went on to say that "we have no intention of harming Arafat personally."
Despite this, in September 2003, Ehud Olmert, then Sharon's vice prime minister, said of Arafat that "killing him is definitely one of the options. We are trying to eliminate all the heads of terror and Arafat is one of the heads of terror."
Under American pressure, Sharon agreed to isolate Arafat in his Ramallah headquarters after the Israeli military operation to retake control of the West Bank in the spring of 2002.
Sharon’s biographer, Uri Dan, recounted Sharon informing President George W.Bush, on April 14, 2004, that he no longer felt bound by his promise not to harm Arafat.
"President Bush replied that it would perhaps be best to leave Arafat's fate in the hands of the Almighty,” Dan added, “Sharon said that one should sometimes help Him."
Raanan Gissin, a spokesman for Prime Minister Sharon, denies the rumor by pointing out that Sharon offered Arafat any help necessary including allowing doctors to visit him and letting him seek medical care abroad.
During the three years leading up to his death, Arafat’s Jordanian doctor, Dr. Tirawi, met Arafat on an almost daily basis.
"I saw very clearly how things got increasingly worse with him," he says. "At first, he had spots on his face. Then, he was constantly throwing up, he lost weight, and the skin on his feet dissolved so that he could only wear sandals."
Then he gave a non-professional, unproven, medical diagnosis, "We were always certain that the Israelis had poisoned Arafat."
Since his death, top Palestinian Authority officials never made any real effort to solve the cause of his death. Their first investigative commission was dissolved six months after Arafat's death and was only reappointed in 2010. In fact, they were complicit in not undergoing essential tests at the time of his death. Suha Arafat refused to allow a liver biopsy to be taken. She also prevented an autopsy at the time of his death.
What was in the detailed medical report that the doctors at the French hospital gave to Arafat’s nephew, Nasser al-Kidwa, and why did he oppose the exhumation of Arafat’s body? Maybe he knows something? He took until late 2011 before saying, “We shall not tire of demanding to receive an answer concerning the martyrdom-death of our commander, who was poisoned by Israel. We are convinced of this, but we want proof, and we want to submit the murderers and criminals to justice." Yet, he is holding the secret French medical report.
The French clinic released a 558 page report. Neither Suha Arafat nor al-Kidwa published the contents of this report.
Arafat spent the last days of his miserable life holed up in deteriorating conditions in his bombed-out headquarters in Ramallah, isolated and made impotent by Israel’s political and military leadership backed by America. He was no longer the lethal threat to Israel.
The Times of Israel reported a radioactivity specialist, who worked at the Paris hospital in which Arafat died, saying that it was impossible for Arafat to have been poisoned. The specialist, Dr. Roland Masse, said that if Arafat had been the victim of polonium poisoning, as some have suggested, the symptoms would have been “impossible to miss.” He said that levels of polonium high enough to be lethal could “not go unnoticed.”
As for the actual cause of death, initial reports said that Arafat had died of a stroke. However, many questioned the report and rumors abounded. Many Palestinians said Israel was behind the death, while others suggested that Arafat had HIV. Indeed, according to Haaretz, Arafat’s Jordanian doctor Dr. Ashraf Kurdi told Al Jazeera that doctors had discovered “HIV anti-bodies in Arafat’s blood.”
Ahmad Jibril, head of the PFLP-GC (Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine - General Command) told Al-Manar TV (Hezbollah) that at a meeting with PA Chairman Abbas, he was told by one of the delegation that the French medical report concluded that Arafat died of AIDS:
"When Mahmoud Abbas came to Damascus, I asked: ‘What was found in the inquiry of the death of brother Arafat?’ One of the delegation said: ‘Frankly, the French gave us the medical report, and the cause of Arafat's death was AIDS.’"
Perhaps Mahmoud Abbas should be interrogated over the death of Arafat, if the Palestinians really want to get at the truth.
John Loftus, author and intelligence expert, said on a WABC radio show on October 26, 2007, before Arafat's death, that it was widely known in CIA circles that Arafat was dying from AIDS and this was the reason that the US prevented Israel from killing Arafat so as to allow him to be discredited by his ailment.
Hospital documents detailing Arafat’s treatment that appear to reject the theory he was poisoned by polonium. The report revealed Arafat first fell ill on October 12, 2004 suffering from “nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain”. He was admitted to hospital 17 days later before falling into a coma on November 3. He was pronounced dead eight days later.
A specialist in medical toxicology who wished to remain anonymous told FRANCE 24 that the findings in the hospital report were not consistent with polonium poisoning. “Most poisonings would have had a faster effect on the target and the deterioration would not have stretched out over several weeks,” he said.
Dr Philippe Hantson, a toxicologist at the Université Catholique de Louvain in Belgium, declared “If you want to stick to the theory he was poisoned then you should be looking at metal poisoning, possibly by arsenic or lead, which take effect over a longer period,” He told FRANCE 24 that traces of poisonous metals should have been easily detectable in any blood tests carried out on the patient.
Findings argue strongly against poisoning. The French doctors sent specimens to three laboratories for standard toxicology tests to detect metals and drugs like barbiturates, opiates and amphetamines. None was detected.
The records make no mention of an AIDS test. Many experts find this negligent, granted the suspicions surrounding Arafat. An Israeli infectious disease specialist said he would have performed the test, which is now standard, if only to be thorough and to refute the rumors that surrounded the case.
Arafat's final illness began suddenly when he vomited and had abdominal pain and watery diarrhea hours after his supper in his compound in Ramallah, where the Israelis had kept him isolated for three years. These symptoms, including a constant urge to defecate, but without fever, continued for two weeks. He became dizzy and lost three kilos in weight.
He was treated for thrombocytopenia, an abnormally low platelet count, with transfusions of platelets and injections of gamma globulin. The Ramallah doctors apparently did not realize that he was experiencing the bleeding disorder DIC which was not treated and may have led to his death. According to the French records, the doctors at the hospital did detect this bleeding disorder.
The experts said that Arafat did not suffer the extensive kidney and liver damage they would expect from a poison, although he did have jaundice.
He did improve for a time in the French hospital, talking and walking with members of his entourage. Then he slipped into a coma on Nov. 3, when he was transferred to intensive care from the hematology service. This behavior seems to contradict the idea of poisoning.
Arafat had an infection that seemed to start a prolonged, irreversible, bleeding disorder. The consultants, like the French doctors, could not determine where in the bowel the infection was located and what microbes caused it.
During his medical care in Ramallah before he went to France, four Egyptian doctors came to treat him, as did five doctors from Tunis. They failed to recognize that he had DIC and did not start prescribing antibiotics quickly enough.
The Ramallah doctors initially thought he had flu. His own physician, Dr. Ashraf al-Kurdi, Arafat's private physician for 18 years until his death, did not visit Ramallah until Oct. 28, the day before Arafat was evacuated to Paris. The consultant also said that prescribing heparin for Arafat's disseminated intravascular coagulation probably hastened a death that it was inevitable by this stage.
Without the benefit of an autopsy, Kurdi refused the invitation of the Palestinian Authority to be part of a committee to investigate Arafat’s death.
Suha Arafat claims Polonium poisoning. A Swiss laboratory verified that the items provided by her belonged to Arafat but its spokesman, Darcy Christen, significantly concluded that, "We have never said there was Polonium poisoning. Yes, we found Polonium 210 in more elevated levels than what one might have expected, but the clinical description of Chairman Arafat's symptoms prior to his death is not compatible with Polonium poisoning."
Ely Karmon, of IDC Herzlia, suggested that someone planted the polonium that has led to the current investigation.
“The half-life of the substance would make it impossible for polonium to have been discovered at such high levels if it had been used to kill Arafat eight years ago. If it had been used for poisoning, minimal levels should be seen now. Yet much higher levels were found. Someone planted the polonium much later.”
A Jordanian media outlet quoted Dr. al-Kurdi as saying that the HIV virus had been injected into Arafat's bloodstream close to his death. Now Suha Arafat claims he was poisoned by Polonium.
If he was poisoned at all it leads us to ask who had close personal access to an isolated but protected Arafat in bombed-out Mukata in Ramallah? Israel? The Palestinian leadership? Suha Arafat?
Common sense points to the latter two options, if indeed he was poisoned.
Palestinian leaders were unable to grab power as long as an ailing Arafat clung to life. Mrs. Arafat couldn’t get her hands on her husband’s stash until he shuffled off his mortal coil.
It’s as easy as playing Cluedo, really. First go for the obvious candidates with easy, even intimate, access to the victim. It’s much more palatable than the concocted theories of secret Israelis somehow making their way past a phalanx of security, bodyguards, and personal attendants to get at the ineffective Arafat.
Another factor is the total lack of whisper, innuendo, or gossip that always leak from Israeli security and intelligence sources after decades of silence. If Israel had been involved there would have been a whiff of something by now.
Yigal Palmor, spokesman of Israel's foreign ministry said, "The truth is that Arafat did not die due to Polonium. He died from an overdose of Palestinium."
I think it will all end on a mundane note. Evidence will probably show that Arafat’s death can be put down to medical incompetence rather than to Israeli meddling or intrigue.