Sunday, October 31, 2004

Arafat said to have lost mental capacity

His aides knew he was losing it when he started shouting out that he supported Bush for President.- EoZ

Senior Palestinian Authority sources say Chairman Yasser Arafat has lost some of his mental capacities and cannot function. Some doubt that he will be capable of resuming his position as PA leader, even if his health recovers to some extent.
In Paris, where Arafat is hospitalized, Palestinian sources said initial tests on the 75 year old leader ruled out leukemia, but his condition remains serious. The Palestinian envoy to Paris, Leila Shahid, said specialists were still looking for the cause of the dramatic collapse of the Palestinian leader's health.

The reports that Arafat's mental state may have deteriorated are worrying Palestinian leaders at home far more than his physical health. Reports say that after his collapse last Wednesday, Arafat lost his mental functioning. In some cases he did not recognize people who came to visit him.

Diplomatic sources said last week he even had trouble recognizing Abu Mazen and Abu Ala who and in some cases his speech was incoherent and confused, but there is no clear opinion on whether such lapses might be permanent or temporary. However, there are grave doubts as to whether, even after a relative recovery, he will be able to make decisions or give orders or even to understand what is happening around him, sources said.