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Text Box: Yesser Arafat (1929-2004)
Yasser Arafat (Arabic: ياسر عرفات‎) August 24 or August 4, 1929 – November 11, 2004), born in Cairo, Egypt, Mohammed Abdel-Raouf Arafat al-Qudwa al-Husseini (محمد عبد الرؤوف القدوة الحسيني) and also known by the kunya Abu `Ammar (أبو عمّار), was Chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) (1969–2004); President1 of the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) (1993–2004); and a co-recipient of the 1994 Nobel Peace Prize alongside Shimon Peres and Yitzhak Rabin, for the successful negotiations of the 1993 Oslo Accords. Arafat, however, was a controversial and polarizing figure throughout his lengthy career. While his supporters viewed him as a heroic freedom fighter who symbolized the national aspirations	 of the Palestinian people, his opponents often described him as an unrepentant terrorist with a long legacy of promoting violence. Still others, on the Palestinian side, accused him of being a deeply corrupt politician or a weak leader who made too many concessions to the Israeli government during the 1993 Oslo Accords. However, Arafat has been widely recognized for leading the Fatah, which he founded in 1957, to the 1993 recognition of Israel and the signature of the Oslo Accords.
Early life
Mohammed Abdel-Raouf Arafat As Qudwa al-Hussaeini was born on 24 August 1929 in Cairo**[his death certificate stated Jerusalem], his father a textile merchant who was a Palestinian with some Egyptian ancestry, his mother from an old Palestinian family in Jerusalem. She died when Yasir, as he was called, was five years old, and he was sent to live with his maternal uncle in Jerusalem, the capital of the British Mandate of Palestine. He has revealed little about his childhood, but one of his earliest memories is of British soldiers breaking into his uncle's house after midnight, beating members of the family and smashing furniture.[1]. In Jerusalem, they lived in a house near the Western Wall and the Al-Aqsa Mosque or Temple Mount, a site considered holy by Jews, Christians and Muslims. When he turned eight, his father married a second time and the family relocated back to Cairo. The marriage did not last, and when his father married a third time, Arafat's sister Inam was left in charge of raising her siblings.
Arafat attended the University of King Fuad II (later renamed Cairo University). He later claimed to have sought a better understanding of Judaism and Zionism by engaging in discussions with Jews and reading publications by Theodor Herzl and other Zionists. But by 1946 he had become an Arab nationalist and was procuring weapons in Egypt to be smuggled into Palestine for the Arab cause.[2] During the 1948 Arab-Israeli war, Arafat left the University and, along with other Arabs, sought to enter Palestine to attack Israeli troops in the name of Palestinian independence. He was later disarmed and turned back by Egyptian military forces, who refused to allow them to enter the war zone. Arafat felt that he had been "betrayed by these [Arab] regimes". After returning to University, Arafat joined the Muslim Brotherhood and served as president of the Union of Palestinian Students from 1952 to 1956. By 1956, Arafat graduated with a bachelor's degree in civil engineering and later served as a second lieutenant in the Egyptian Army during the Suez Crisis.[3] Later, in 1956, at a conference in Prague, he donned the keffiyeh, the traditional chequered head-dress which was to become his emblem.
Arafat's younger brother Dr. Fathi Arafat is rumored to have founded the Arab Red Crescent and was involved in the humanitarian aspect of the conflict. In Kuwait in 1959, with the help of friends Yahia Ghavani and Khalil al-Wazir (Abu Jihad) [4], together with a group of refugees from Gaza, Arafat founded one of the groups that became al-Fatah. FaTaH means conquest or victory, meaning the Palestine Liberation Movement.2 Fatah dedicated itself to the establishment of an independent Palestinian state.
Arafat worked hard in Kuwait to establish the groundwork for Fatah's future financial support by enlisting contributions from the many Palestinians working there, who gave generously from their high salaries in the oil industry (ibid., p.91). Fatah's first operation was an unsuccessful attempt to blow up an Israeli water pump station in 1965. After the Six-Day War, Arafat is said to have escaped Israel by crossing the Jordan River dressed as a woman carrying a baby.
In 1968, Fatah was the target of an Israeli Defense Force operation in the Jordanian village of Al-Karameh in which 150 Palestinians and 29 Israeli soldiers were killed. Despite the high Arab death toll, Fatah considered themselves victorious because of the Israeli army's eventual withdrawal. The battle was covered in detail by Time magazine, and Arafat's face appeared on the cover, bringing the wider world their first image of the man. Amid the post-war environment, the profiles of Arafat and Fatah were raised by this important turning point, as he came to be regarded as a national hero who dared confront Israel. Many young Palestinian Arabs joined as the ranks of Fatah swelled and equipment improved. By the late 1960s, Fatah had come to dominate the PLO, and at the Palestinian National Congress in Cairo on February 3, 1969 Arafat was appointed Palestinian Liberation Organization leader, replacing Ahmad Shukeiri. Arafat became commander-in-chief of the Palestinian Revolutionary Forces two years later and, in 1973, the head of the PLO's political department. [edit]
Further information: Black September in Jordan 
In the 1960s tensions between Arabs from Paelstine and the Jordanian government had greatly increased; heavily armed Arab resistance elements (fedayeen) had created a virtual "state within a state" in Jordan, eventually controlling several strategic positions in Jordan, including the oil refinery near Az Zarq. Jordan considered this a growing threat to its sovereignty and security and attempted to disarm the militias. Open fighting erupted in June of 1970. Arafat was a threat to Jordan's ambitions in Palestine.
Other Arab governments attempted to negotiate a peaceful resolution, but continuing fedayeen actions in Jordan (such as the destruction by the PFLP, on September 12, of three international airliners hijacked and held in Dawson's Field in Zarqa) was used by the Jordanian government as a pretext to take action to regain control over its territory.
On September 16, King Hussein declared martial law. On that same day, Arafat became supreme commander of the Palestine Liberation Army (PLA), the regular military force of the PLO. In the ensuing civil war, the PLO had the active support of Syria, which sent a force of around 200 tanks into Jordan to aid them. The fighting was mainly between the Jordanian army and the PLA; the U.S. Navy dispatched the Sixth Fleet to the eastern Mediterranean and Israel deployed troops to aid Hussein, if necessary. By September 24, the Jordanian army achieved dominance and the PLA agreed to a series of ceasefires [5].[edit]
Following Black September and the expulsion from Jordan, Arafat relocated the PLO to Lebanon. Because of Lebanon's weak central government, the PLO was able to operate virtually as an independent state. The PLO mounted intermittent cross-border attacks against Israeli targets, including civilians, from there. In September 1972, the Black September group killed 11 Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympic Games. A number of sources, including Mohammed Daoud and Benny Morris, have stated that Black September was an arm of Fatah used for terrorist operations. The killings were internationally condemned and Arafat publicly disassociated himself and the PLO from such attacks, while Israeli prime minister Golda Meir organized Operation Wrath of God, which was to track down and assassinate all the members of the Black September group.
In 1973-4, Arafat closed Black September down, ordering the PLO to withdraw from acts of violence outside Israel, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, because overseas attacks attracted too much bad publicity. The Fatah movement continued to launch attacks against Israeli civilians and the security forces within the West Bank and Gaza Strip; moreover, in the late 1970s numerous leftist Palestinian organizations appeared which carried out attacks against civilian targets both within Israel and outside of it. Israel claimed that Arafat was in ultimate control over these organizations and hence had not abandoned terrorism. Arafat denied responsibility for terrorist acts committed by these groups. In the same year, Arafat became the first representative of a nongovernmental organization to address a plenary session of the UN General Assembly, and Arab heads of state recognized the PLO as "the sole legitimate spokesman of the Palestinian people." In his UN address, Arafat condemned Zionism, but said, "Today I have come bearing an olive branch and a freedom fighter's gun. Do not let the olive branch fall from my hand." His speech increased international support of the Palestinian cause. The PLO was admitted to full membership in the Arab League in 1976.
The PLO played an important part in the Lebanese Civil War. After having taken control over West Beirut, and under siege by the Israeli army, Arafat declared Beirut to be the "second Stalingrad." Beirut ended up in much ruin as a result of subsequent Israeli artillery and aerial bombardment with close to 17,000 civilians dead.During the Civil War, Arafat allied the PLO with Lebanese Muslim groups, however, fearing a loss of power Syria's President Assad switched sides, and sent in his army to help the radical right-wing Christian Phalangists. The Civil War's first phase ended for Arafat with the siege and fall of the refugee camp of Tal al-Zaatar. Arafat himself narrowly escaped with assistance from the Saudis and Kuwaitis. During the Israeli siege of Beirut (1982), the United States and European powers brokered a deal guaranteeing safe passage for Arafat and the PLO to exile in Tunis. Arafat actually returned to Lebanon a year after he was evicted from Beirut, this time establishing himself in Tripoli. Instead of being expelled by Israel, this time Arafat was expelled by a fellow Palestinian working for Hafez al-Assad. Arafat did not return to Lebanon personally after this second expulsion, though many Fatah fighters did. [edit]
In September 1982, during the Israeli offensive into Lebanon, the Americans and Europeans brokered a cease-fire deal in which Arafat and the PLO were allowed to leave Lebanon under the protection of a multi-national force including 800 US Marine troops supported by US NAVY Landing Craft ; Arafat and his leadership eventually arrived in Tunisia, which remained his center of operations up until 1993. Arafat again narrowly survived an Israeli attack in 1985. In Operation Wooden Leg, IAF F-15s bombed his headquarters in Tunis leaving 73 people dead; Arafat had gone out jogging that morning. During the 1980s, Arafat received assistance from Iraq and Saudi Arabia, which allowed him to reconstruct the badly-battered PLO. This was particularly useful during the First Intifada in December, 1987. Although the Intifada was a spontaneous uprising against Israeli occupation, within weeks Arafat was attempting to direct the revolt, and Israelis believe that it was mainly because of Fatah forces in the West Bank that the civil unrest was able to continue for the duration.
On November 15, 1988, the PLO proclaimed the independent State of Palestine, a government-in-exile for the Palestinians which laid claim to the whole of Palestine as defined by the British Mandate of Palestine, rejecting the idea of partition. In a December 13, 1988 address, Arafat accepted UN Security Council Resolution 242, promised future recognition of Israel, and renounced "terrorism in all its forms, including state terrorism" [6]. Arafat's December 13 statement was encouraged by the U.S. administration, which insisted on the recognition of Israel as a necessary starting point in the Camp David peace negotiations. Arafat's statement indicated a shift from one of the PLO's primary aims — the destruction of Israel (as in the Palestinian National Covenant) — towards the establishment of two separate entities, an Israeli state within the 1949 armistice lines and an Arab state in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. However, on April 2, 1989, Arafat was elected by the Central Council of the Palestine National Council (the governing body of the PLO) to be the president of the proclaimed State of Palestine; Israel would only be recognized in 1993.
In 1990 Arafat married Suha Tawil, a Palestinian Orthodox Christian working for the PLO in Tunis, who converted to Islam before marrying him. [7] During the 1991 Madrid Conference, Israel conducted open negotiations with the PLO for the first time. Prior to the Gulf War of 1991, Arafat opposed the U.N. attack on Iraq, alienating many of the Arab states, and leading to the U.S. disregarding his claims of being a partner for peace. Arafat narrowly escaped death again on April 7, 1992, when his aircraft crash-landed in the Libyan desert during a sandstorm. The pilot and several passengers were killed, and Arafat suffered several broken bones and other injuries.  [edit]
Palestinian Authority and peace negotiations
 In the early 1990s Arafat engaged the Israelis in a series of secret talks and negotiations that led to the 1993 Oslo Accords calling for the implementation of Palestinian self rule in the West Bank and Gaza Strip over a five year period. Prior to signing the accords, Arafat as Chairman of the PLO and as its official representative signed two letters renouncing violence and officially recognizing Israel on September 9, 1993. In return Prime Minister Rabin, on behalf of Israel, officially recognized the PLO. (See: Israel-Palestine Liberation Organization letters of recognition.) The following year Arafat was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize along with Shimon Peres and Yitzhak Rabin. Arafat returned to Palestine as a hero to some but a traitor and collaborator to others.
In 1994, Arafat moved to the territory controlled by the Palestinian Authority (PA) — the provisional entity created by the Oslo Accords. On July 24, 1995, his wife Suha gave birth to a daughter, who was named Zahwa after his deceased mother. On January 20, 1996, Arafat was elected president of the PA, with an overwhelming 88.2 percent majority (the only other candidate was Samiha Khalil) [8]. Independent international observers reported the elections to have been free and fair. However, because Hamas and other opposition movements chose not to participate in the presidential election, the choices were limited. The following elections scheduled for January 2002 were later postponed; the stated reason being inability to campaign due to the emergency conditions imposed by the al-Aqsa intifada and Israel Defense Force incursions and restrictions on freedom of movement in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
After 1996, Arafat's title as Palestinian Authority leader was "head" (Arabic Ra'is). Israel and the U.S. interpret the title as "chairman" while Palestinians and the U.N. translate the title as "president". The mass media uses both terms. In mid-1996, Benjamin Netanyahu was elected Prime Minister of Israel. Palestinian-Israeli relations grew even more hostile as a consequence of continued conflict. Despite the Israel-PLO accord, Netanyahu opposed the idea of Palestinian statehood [9]. In 1998, U.S. President Bill Clinton intervened, arranging meetings with the two leaders. The resulting Wye River Memorandum of 23 October 1998 detailed the steps to be taken by the Israeli government and PA to complete the peace process.
Arafat continued negotiations with Netanyahu's successor, Ehud Barak, at the Camp David 2000 Summit. Due partly to his own politics (Barak was from the leftist Labor Party, whereas Netanyahu was from the rightist Likud Party) and partly due to immense pressure placed by American President Bill Clinton, Barak offered Arafat a Palestinian state in the majority of the West Bank and all of the Gaza Strip with an outlying suburb of East Jerusalem as its capital. The final proposal proffered by Barak would have meant establishment of Palestinian State on 90-91% of the West Bank and the whole of the Gaza Strip. Israel would annex the resting 9-10% of the West Bank encompassing large settlement blocs, in exchange for land in the Negev. In addition, under the Israeli proposal, Israel would retain some control of the Palestinian state's borders, customs, and defense. Also included in the offer was a return of a small number of refugees and compensation for the rest, Barak also stated he would be willing accept two capitals - a Palestinian-controlled Al Quds next to an Israeli Jerusalem [10]. In a move widely criticized and even by a member of his negotiating team and Cabinet, Nabil Amr, Arafat rejected Barak's offer and refused to make a counter-offer. However negotiations continued at Taba summit in January 2001. This time Ehud Barak pulled out of the talks to campaign in the Israeli elections. Throughout 2001 the Al-Aqsa Intifada, or Second Palestinian Intifada grew in intensity and following the election of Ariel Sharon, the peace process completely collapsed. Ariel Sharon, Israel's Prime Minister confined him to the Moqataa headquarters in Ramallah, while George W. Bush, president of the United States, claimed that Arafat was "an obstacle to the peace". The European Union, on the other hand, opposed these tough policies. Following his death on November 11, 2004, Mahmoud Abbas won the January 2005 presidential elections and replaced him as leader of the PA.[edit]
Political survival, marginalization and controversy
Arafat's long personal and political survival was taken by most Western commentators as a sign of his mastery of asymmetric warfare and his skill as a tactician, given the extremely dangerous nature of politics of the Middle East and the frequency of assassinations. Some commentators believe his survival was largely due to Israel's fear that he could become a martyr for the Palestinian cause if he was to be assassinated or even arrested by Israel. Others believe that Israel kept Arafat alive because it came to fear Arafat less than Hamas and the other Islamist movements gaining support over Arafat's secular organization. The complex and fragile web of relations between the U.S., Israel, Saudi Arabia, and other Arab states also contributed to Arafat's longevity as Palestinian leader.
Arafat's ability to adapt to new tactical and political situations, was perhaps exemplified by the rise of the Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad organizations, Islamist groups espousing rejectionist opposition to Israel and employing new tactics such as suicide bombing, often intentionally targeting non-military targets, such as malls and movie theaters, to increase the psychological damage. In the 1990s, these groups seemed to threaten Arafat's capacity to hold together a unified secular nationalist organization with a goal of statehood. They appeared to be out of Arafat's influence and control and were actively fighting with Arafat's Fatah group. Some allege that activities of these groups were tolerated by Arafat as a means of applying pressure on Israel (see PLO and Hamas.) Some Israeli government officials opined in 2002 that the Fatah's faction Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades began attacks on Israel to compete with Hamas.
On May 6, 2002, the Israeli government released a report, based in part on documents captured during the Israeli occupation of Arafat's Ramallah headquarters, with copies of papers signed by Arafat authorizing funding for the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades' activities.In March 2002, the Arab League made an offer to recognize Israel in exchange for Israeli retreat from all territories captured in the Six-Day War and statehood for Palestine and Arafat's Palestinian Authority. Supporters of this declaration saw this offer, which included recognition of Israel by the Arab states, as a historic opportunity for comprehensive peace in the region, while critics of this offer say that it would constitute a heavy blow to Israel's security, while not even guaranteeing Israel the cessation of suicide bombing attacks. Israel ignored what it deemed to be a facile offer.
Shortly afterward, attacks carried out by Palestinian militants killed more than 135 Israeli civilians. Ariel Sharon, who had previously demanded that Arafat speak out strongly in Arabic against suicide bombings, declared that Arafat "assisted the terrorists and made himself an enemy of Israel and irrelevant to any peace negotiations". Israel then launched a major military offensive into the West Bank (see "Operation Defensive Shield"). Persistent attempts by the Israeli government to identify another Palestinian leader to represent the Palestinian people failed; and Arafat was enjoying the support of groups that, given his own history, would normally have been quite wary of dealing with him or of supporting him. Marwan Barghouti emerged as a leader during the Al-Aqsa intifada but Israel had him arrested and sentenced to 4 life terms.
Arafat was finally allowed to leave his compound on May 3, 2002 after intense negotiations led to a settlement[11]: six militants wanted by Israel, who had been holed up with Arafat in his compound, would not be turned over to Israel, but neither would they be held in custody by the Palestinian Authority. Rather, a combination of British and American security personnel would ensure that the wanted men remained imprisoned in Jericho. With that, and a promise that he would issue a call in Arabic to the Palestinians to halt attacks on Israelis, Arafat was released. He issued such a call on May 8, 2002, but, as was the case before, it was largely ignored. Many feel this was because he secretly supported the attacks, a belief that was widespread among all the Palestinian militant organizations who did not take Arafat's call seriously.
On July 18, 2004, in an interview in Le Figaro, U.S. President George W. Bush dismissed Arafat as a negotiating partner: "The real problem is that there is no leadership that is able to say 'help us establish a state and we will fight terror and answer the needs of the Palestinians'". [12] This decision was criticized by the European Union and Russia, part of the quartet leading negotiations between Israel and the PLO. Arafat had a mixed relationship at best with the leaders of other Arab nations. However, he remained by far the most popular Arab leader among the general populace and was for many years the only elected Arab leader. The most frequent criticism of Arafat by the Western and Israeli media was that he was corrupt to the detriment of the Palestinian people. Arafat's support from Arab leaders tended to increase whenever he was pressured by Israel; for example, in 2003 when Israel declared it had taken the decision, in principle, to remove him from the Israeli-controlled West Bank.
On September 22, 2003, The Wall Street Journal published an article by former chief of Romanian intelligence Ion Mihai Pacepa, a controversial character who defected from the Eastern bloc in the 1970s. Titled "The KGB’s Man" PDF, the article alleged that Arafat had been trained by the KGB, which "in the mid-1960s decided to groom him as the future PLO leader" and that Moscow would have been behind his nomination as president of the PLO. The article mentions as a sidenote that Arafat had headed the Fatah since 1957.
Pacepa also brought Arafat's homosexual tendencies to the fore, an issue much discussed in the months following Arafat's death in Paris. Intelligence on the "Tiger" (an English translation of Arafat's common Arabic nickname) gathered in the 1970s indicated Arafat had had frequent sexual trysts with his male bodyguards and protégés.3 Other reporters also pointed to KGB evidence linking Arafat to homosexual activities (particularly the 1987 book by Lt. Gen. Ion Mihai Pacepa, the deputy chief of Romania's intelligence service under Communist dictator Nicolae Ceausescu)4. In his memoir "Red Horizons", Pacepa relates a 1978 conversation with Constantin Munteaunu, a general assigned to teach Arafat and the PLO techniques to deceive the West into granting the organization recognition:
"I just called the microphone monitoring center to ask about the Fedayee", explained Munteaunu. "After the meeting with the Comrade, he went directly to the guest house and had dinner. At this very moment, the Fedayee is in his bedroom making love to his bodyguard. The one I knew was his latest lover. He's playing tiger again. The officer monitoring his microphones connected me live with the bedroom, and the squawling almost broke my eardrums. Arafat was roaring like a tiger, and his lover yelping like a hyena."3 The issue has been mostly addressed in the dubious context of Arafat's death. It is an alleged possibility that the PLO's leader may have contracted HIV as the result of risky homosexual behaviour in the years preceding the AIDS scare of the late 1980s. Arafat's sexual proclivities have been largely ignored by Arab, and indeed other, state leaders seeking to preserve the controversial figure's perceived legacy.[edit]
Illness and death
First reports of Arafat's treatment by his doctors for what his spokesman said was 'flu' came on October 25, 2004 after he vomited during a meeting. His condition deteriorated in the following days and he became unconscious for 10 minutes on October 27. Following visits by other doctors, including teams from Tunisia, Jordan, and Egypt, and agreement by Israel not to block his return, Arafat was taken on October 29 aboard a French government jet to the Percy military hospital in Clamart, near Paris. According to one of his doctors, Arafat was suffering from Idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP), an immunologically-mediated decrease in the number of circulating platelets to abnormally low levels [citation needed]. On November 3 he lapsed into a gradually deepening coma. In the ensuing days, Arafat's health was the subject of wild speculation. Various sources speculated that Arafat was comatose, in a "vegetative state", or dead. Palestinian authorities and Arafat's Jordanian doctor denied reports that Arafat was brain dead and had been kept on life support.
A controversy erupted between officials of the Palestinian Authority and Suha Arafat, Yasser Arafat's wife. On November 8, officials of the Palestinian Authority travelled to France to see Yasser Arafat. Suha Arafat stated "They are trying to bury Abu Ammar alive". Palestinian officials were reported to regret that the news about Yasser Arafat was "filtered" by his wife.[21] French law forbids physicians from discussing the condition of their patients with anybody with the exception, in case of grave prognosis, of close relatives. (Code of Public Health, L1110-4) Accordingly, all communications concerning Yasser Arafat's health had to be authorized by Arafat's wife. On November 9, at 10 AM, chief surgeon Estripeau of Percy reported that Arafat's condition had worsened, and that he had fallen into a deeper coma. On November 10, a "high religious dignitary" visited Arafat and declared that it was out of the question to disconnect Arafat from life support machines, since, according to him, such an action would be prohibited by Islam.
Arafat was pronounced dead at 03:30 AM UTC French time on November 11 at age 75. The exact cause of his illness is unknown. There are theories that due to Arafat's lock up in his compound for 3.5 years & the lack of sunshine and constant stress contributed to his death. [citation needed] Sheikh Taissir Tamimi, who held a vigil at his bedside described the scene, "It was a very painful scene. There was blood everywhere on his face. The blood was coming from every possible place. My first reaction when I saw the scene was that I didn't understand what was going on. I closed my eyes, and I started reading from the Koran..." When his death was announced, the Palestinian people went into a state of mourning, with Qur'anic mourning prayers emitted from loudspeakers from mosques, and tires burning in the street as a sign of mourning.
In September 2005, the Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported that French experts could not determine the cause of Arafat's death. The paper further quoted an Israeli AIDS expert who claimed that Arafat bore all the symptoms of AIDS, a hypothesis later rejected by the New York Times. Dr. Ashraf al-Kurdi, personal physician of Arafat for the past 20 years, later declared that nothing in Arafat's medical report mentioned the existence of such a disease. Another "senior Israeli physician" claimed in the Haaretz article that it was "a classic case of food poisoning", probably caused by a meal eaten four hours before he fell ill on October 12 that may have contained a toxin such as ricin rather than the standard bacterial poisoning. However, in the same week that the Haaretz report was published, the New York Times published a separate report also based on access to Arafat's medical records which claimed that it was highly unlikely that Arafat had AIDS or food poisoning. Both Haaretz and the New York Times further speculated that the cause of death may have been an infection of an unknown nature or origin. However, rumors of Arafat's poisoning have remained popular especially in the Arab community, but also in the rest of the world. Dr. Ashraf Kurdi, which also follows the Hashemite kings, lamented the fact that the leader's wife Suha had refused an autopsy, which would have answered many questions in the case. Calling for the creation of an independent commission to carry out investigations concerning Arafat's suspicious death, Dr. al-Kurdi declared to Haaretz on September 9, 2005 that "any doctor would tell you that these are the symptoms of a poisoning" 5. Al-Kurdi told the Associated Press that Arafat had the AIDS virus and that "it was given to him to cover up the poison". 6 [edit]
Israel refused Arafat's wish to be buried in or near the Al Aqsa Mosque in East Jerusalem citing widespread security concerns. [22] Following a state funeral in Cairo, attended by many world leaders, Arafat was "temporarily" laid to rest on November 12 within his former headquarters in Ramallah in the West Bank watched by a large crowd. On November 16, 2004, the Canard Enchaîné newspaper reported alleged leaks of information unnamed medical sources at Percy hospital having had access to Arafat and his medical file. According to the newspaper, the doctors at Percy hospital suspected, from Arafat's arrival, grave lesions of the liver responsible for an alteration of the composition of the blood, thus Arafat was placed in a hematology service. Leukemia was soundly ruled out. According to the same source, the reason why this diagnosis of cirrhosis could not be made public was that, in the mind of the general public, cirrhosis is generally associated with the consequences of alcohol abuse – even though the diagnosis was not of an alcoholic cirrhosis and Arafat did not consume any alcohol, there would have probably been rumors. The source then explained that Arafat's conditions of life during the last three years did not improve the situation: Arafat did not get health care appropriate to his state. Thus, according to the source, the probable causes of the disease are multiple; Arafat's coma was a consequence of the worsened cirrhosis. Finally, he had a brain hemorrhage. [23] The French newspaper Le Monde quoted doctors as saying that he suffered from "an unusual blood disease and a liver problem".
Paris deputy Claude Goasguen asked for a parliamentary inquiry commission on the death of Arafat in an attempt to quell rumors. [24] On November 17, the French government insisted that there was no evidence Arafat had been poisoned, otherwise a criminal investigation would have necessarily been opened. After Arafat's death, the French Ministry of Defence said that Arafat's medical file would only be transmitted to his next of kin. It was determined that Arafat's nephew, Nasser al-Kidwa, was a close enough relative, thus working around Suha Arafat's mutism on her husband's illness. On November 22, Nasser al-Kidwa was given a copy of Arafat's 558-page medical file by the French Ministry of Defense.
A controversy erupted around Arafat's death certificate. While Arafat's own personal biography list Cairo as his place of birth, French authorities chose to note his place of birth as Jerusalem instead. French officials claimed that Jerusalem was specified by the documents provided to the French ministry of foreign affairs when Arafat's wife acquired French citizenship; however France has refused all requests to make these documents public. [25][26][27] French officials flatly refused Israel's request to provide proof that Arafat was born in Jerusalem and not Cairo,[28]. The Simon Wiesenthal Center for International Jewish Human Rights later called on France "to investigate the circumstances of the false and incomplete registration of Arafat's death certificate, to correct the erroneous details of his birthplace, adding the truth of his parentage and the cause of his death."[29] [30] [edit]
Credit: Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia 
Text Box: Yesser Arafat


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