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Palestinians to Open New Probe of Arafat’s Death

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30 Mar 09 | AFP

A foundation devoted to the memory of veteran Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat said on Monday it will open a new investigation into his mysterious death in 2004.


“The committee will include Arab doctors responsible for Arafat’s health before he was moved to Paris and a number of political officials,” Nasser al-Qidwa, Arafat’s nephew who heads the foundation, told reporters.

The Nobel Peace Prize winner who led the struggle for Palestinian statehood for nearly four decades died in a French military hospital on November 11 after being airlifted there from his headquarters in the Israeli-occupied West Bank.

At the time of Arafat’s death at the age of 75, Palestinian officials alleged he had been poisoned by long-time foe Israel, but an inconclusive Palestinian investigation in 2005 ruled out cancer, AIDS and poisoning.

That report repeated previous assessments that Arafat’s death on November 11, 2004 “resulted from a severe haemorrhaging of the brain”.

But it added that Arafat’s “clinical state presented several symptoms which could not be explained in the framework of nosology,” or study of diseases.

A book released by two Israeli journalists in 2005 identified three possible causes of Arafat’s death: infection from a germ that poisoned the blood, AIDS or poisoning.

The new investigation is part of a larger effort to preserve Arafat’s memory. The foundation has launched a website at www.yasserarafat.ps with photos, articles, and a “panorama” tour of Arafat’s modest home and office.

Palestinians credit their late leader with catapulting their cause onto the world stage and leading them through decades of war and political strife.

Israel, which besieged Arafat’s headquarters for the last three years of his life, branded him a terrorist for most of his life and blamed him for the intifada which erupted in 2000, shattering the Oslo autonomy accords.

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Written by Editors

31 March 2009 at 1:58 pm

Posted in Palestine-Israel

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