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Sunday, November 07, 2004

Israel expects that Arafat will get his plug pulled in a day or two

By Israel Insider staff and partners November 8, 2004

Israeli officials believe that the decision has been made to disconnect life support Tuesday or Wednesday, ynet reported, citing official sources. They are planning for a funeral in Gaza between Thursday and Saturday. Mahmound Abbas and Ahmed Qurei are heading for Paris to escort the corpse. Security officials are preparing for massive disturbance throughout the territories and in Israel's Arab sector.

ynet reports that a reliable Arab website (it didn't say which) reports that Suha Arafat has been told by doctors that her husband is 'already dead' and that there is no longer any point in keeping him alive. Apparently there has been a request by Palestinian officials to keep him hooked up to life support machines for another day or two to allow preparations to take place.

Debkafile reports that the French government is demanding Arafat's disconnection and removal forthwith. France has set the timetable as a death announcement by Tuesday evening, a memorial ceremony in Paris on Wednesday followed by departure for the Mideast -- Cairo or Amman. In the former case the burial is likely to be in Gaza, in the latter in Jericho.

Debka reports that Arafat's wife Suha will demand that Abbas and Qurei sign documents drafted by her French lawyers guaranteeing her a multimillion dollar inheritance and pension as the price for her switching off life support systems. Apparently Suha has not been successful in extracting from her brain-dead husband the access information for various bank accounts he controls.

Debka describes the behind the scenes bickering over the pretence of Arafat's allegedly reversible condition. 'Suhah Arafat sacked the PLO ambassador Leila Shahid, the Palestinian spokesperson who issued almost daily bulletins after Arafat arrived in Paris.'

At that point, the French apparently decided that enough was enough, Debka reported: 'What happened next was that Christian Estripeau, spokesman of the French military health services, informed Mrs. Arafat that he would issue no more bulletins on Arafat?s condition; neither would Percy hospital. She was given to understand that the hospital had kept her husband artificially alive as long as it intended to. The conversation followed a decision by a top-level conference of French officials, attended also by the president, to disengage from the pretence that Arafat was still alive. They realized it was no longer tenable without compromising the military hospital?s ethical position and medical credibility.' "