arafat ill chopper 298.
(photo credit: AP [File])
Members of the ruling Fatah party have launched a campaign on the Internet to collect one million signatures to demand that the Palestinian Authority launch a thorough investigation into Yasser Arafat's death.
Meanwhile, Arafat's private physician, Ashraf al- Kurdi, ruled out the possibility that the Palestinian leader had died of AIDS, saying a blood test he had conducted showed he was not suffering from the disease.
Entitled "Who killed Arafat," the campaign is being launched on one of Fatah's official sites. A statement issued by the organizers said their goal was to force the PA leadership to launch a serious investigation to end the mystery surrounding Arafat's death.
Hinting that Arafat may have been poisoned as part of a conspiracy by some of his aides and foreign parties, the group called for an immediate investigation into the case.
"We want the Palestinian Authority to solve the mystery surrounding the death of the Prince of the Martyrs," it said. "We want an internal investigation to reveal if insiders were involved and whether they were aided by foreign parties."
They demanded an investigation into why Kurdi was not allowed to accompany Arafat to Paris, where he was treated in a French military hospital. Moreover, it called for establishing an independent team of specialists to study Arafat's medical file.
Kurdi, a former Jordanian minister of health, accused Arafat's widow, Suha, of standing behind the decision to bar him from traveling with Arafat to Paris. "There were strict instructions not to contact me by his wife, according to Palestinian Authority leaders," he told a French journalist.
Asked about rumors that Arafat was a homosexual and that he had died of AIDS, the physician said: "I heard rumors he died of AIDS, but not rumors that he was a homosexual. I have done the HIV tests many times before on Arafat as a routine test. It was never positive."
He said the last time he had conducted an AIDS test on Arafat was about six months before he died.
Dr. Kurdi said that he was permitted to see Arafat only two weeks after he became ill. "I was told that Suha refused me access. Why, I don"t know. When I saw him, I decided he must go abroad because there were tests he needed that couldn"t be done in Ramallah," he added.
"He had lost half of his body weight. He had this reddish spot covering his face, and his coloring was metallic yellow. He was conscious, talking and joking, even. His cognitive functions were perfect. After that I asked all the doctors to meet. We concluded he had platelet deficiency.
"Some of the causes for this were not clear, so I asked he be transferred to Paris as soon as possible. But even the French doctors didn"t ask me for his previous history."
Asked if Arafat knew he was dying, the physician replied: "Yes. Yes, actually I heard from him in Ramallah, that he thought he"d been poisoned."
Kurdi called for an autopsy to determine the cause of Arafat's death. "I suspect Arafat died of a "killing poison," a catalyst. The death was due to this," he said.
Originally published May 15, 2005