« NY Times Points Out Lack of Credibility of Source | Main | Mystery Deepens II: Why Did Ha'aretz and the New York Times Reach Different Conclusions? »

September 08, 2005

Mystery Deepens: Did Yasir Arafat Die of AIDS?

The circumstances of Yasir Arafat's illness and death last year were shrouded in mystery and secrecy, fueling speculation that he died of AIDS and Palestinian allegations that he was poisoned by Israel. Independent investigations of Arafat's medical records by reporters for Ha'aretz, and the New York Times have only deepened the mystery.


Avi Isacharoff of Israel Radio and Amos Harel of Ha'aretz obtained Arafat's medical dossier from a senior Palestinian official. The Ha'aretz article discusses the chapter in their book, "The Seventh War," that is devoted to the last weeks of Arafat's life.

They make public for the first time the main points of the report drawn up by the medical team of Percy military hospital, in the Paris suburb of Clamart, where Arafat was treated in the last two weeks of his life. The French physicians do not think that Arafat was poisoned, but also refrain from adducing an alternative cause of death. "It is not possible to determine a cause that will explain the combination of symptoms that caused the patient's death," the summarizing report of the hospital's intensive care ward states.

The article discusses the speculation that Arafat died of an AIDS-related infection.

"I know that the physicians in Paris found the AIDS virus in Arafat's blood," Dr. Ashraf al-Kurdi, the personal physician of the late Palestinian Authority chairman, says in a telephone interview from Amman. Dr. al-Kurdi, who was kept from joining the Palestinian delegation that accompanied Arafat on his final trip to Paris, does not say where he got this sensational information. To heighten the mystery, he also maintains that Arafat was poisoned and that the AIDS virus that was found in his blood "was injected into his body in order to camouflage the poisoning."

Strange as it may seem, al-Kurdi is not the only one who says that Arafat was infected with AIDS. Similar allegations are made by an Israeli physician, who was told about it by a French colleague who treated Arafat, and by sources in the Israeli defense establishment. Even though some of the symptoms of the mysterious disease that caused Arafat's death 10 months ago resemble those of AIDS, the detailed report prepared by the French medical team makes no mention of any test that would confirm or rule out the existence of the virus in his blood.

The New York Times reports that Arafat died from a stroke that resulted from a bleeding disorder caused by an unidentified infection. While the Times suggests that its independent review "dispels a rumor that [Arafat] may have died of AIDS", it acknowledges that "the French doctors never discovered the specific cause of the infection", and bases its own conclusion on an unidentified Israeli infectious-diseases expert.

The records make no mention of an AIDS test, an omission the experts found bizarre. An Israeli infectious disease specialist said he would have performed the test, if only to be thorough and to refute the rumors that surrounded the case.

He said news accounts during Arafat's illness made him strongly suspect that Arafat had AIDS. But after studying the records, he said that was improbable, given the sudden onset of the intestinal troubles.

Posted by rh at September 8, 2005 01:25 PM


OH not at all i myself don't think so because yasir was an aged person.and this is the age when all human being has to left.

Posted by: freddy at February 14, 2006 08:09 PM

Guidelines for posting

This is a moderated blog. We will not post comments that include racism, bigotry, threats, or factually inaccurate material.

Post a comment

Remember Me?

(you may use HTML tags for style)