Photo: AFP
What did he die of?
Photo: AFP
Photo: Yotam Frum
Shalom: An end to conspiracy theories
Photo: Yotam Frum
The medical report
Shalom: Arafat wasn’t poisoned
Foreign minister slams reports suggesting Israel may have been behind death of late Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat; reports are baseless, meant to slander Israel, Shalom charges

The time has come to put an end to the conspiracy theories against Israel, Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom said Thursday following the release of test results suggesting former PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat may have died of AIDS.


"All these publications have no basis or a realistic standing and it is best to remove it from the daily agenda," he said in response to the secret medical report written following Arafat's death last November, indicating signs of the AIDS virus, or perhaps poisoning in his blood.


"Sometimes we also hear that terror attacks in Israel were carried out by Israel – this is just slander," he said.


Israeli and foreign doctors declined to say conclusively that Arafat died of AIDS, and said they could not rule out a third possibility - that Arafat died of an infection.


Mystery remains


Ten months after Arafat died in a Paris hospital, the cause of death remains shrouded in mystery. The official hospital report written at the time is jealously guarded; only Arafat's widow Suha and senior PLO officials have been allowed access.


But the "Ha'aretz" Hebrew-language daily released an exceprt Thursday from a new release of the book "The Seventh War" by journalists Avi Sacharov and Amos Harel, containing parts of the hospital report.


But the medical report does not completely disperse the fog surrounding the cause of Arafat's death.


Doctors say a massive brain hemorrhage brought about brain failure at the base of the skull, but the report also notes a variety of tests and consultations by specialists from many different fields.


"There was no way to ascertain the causes that brought about the patient's death," the report concludes.


Palestinians: he was poisoned


Accoriding to "The Seventh War," Arafat's private physician, Dr. Ashraf al-Kurdi, who was pushed to the sidelines during the last weeks of Arafat's life, said he knows that French doctors found the AIDS virus in Arafat's blood.


Without specifying how he got this information, al-Kurdi said the germs were injected into Arafat in order to cover up signs of intentional poisoning.


Al-Kurdi is not the only Palestinian who believes Arafat was poisoned. Senior PA officials such as Mohammed Dahlan, Jibril Rajoub, and current PA Foreign Minister – and Arafat's nephew - Nasser al-Kidwa have all accused Israel of killing the longtime Palestinian symbol.


- Diana Bahur-Nir contributed to the report


First published: 09.08.05, 08:13
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