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Friday, November 11, 2011

Nephew admits he can't prove Arafat was poisoned

I mentioned yesterday that Yasser Arafat's nephew and former "foreign minister" Nasser al Kidwa has been a broken record for years - always saying he was on the verge of proving Arafat was poisoned by Israel, and promising to be able to prove it Any Day Now.

He promised that he would release the French medical report translated to Arabic, and somehow this was considered news.

Nasser al Kidwa
Al-Qudwa says the report will answer "many questions," as it is the Palestinian people's right to get a clear answer about how Arafat died. The document has not previously been seen in Arabic.

The report by French doctors describes a platelet disorder and speculates on its cause, al-Qudwa says. The doctors ruled out cancer and an acute infection, he told Ma'an.

A third possibility was poisoning, al-Qudwa says, but the records show that doctors were unable to conclusively determine what poison, if any, was in Arafat's system.

"We have said that it is poisoning," he hinted.
There are many conditions that result in low platelet counts - including AIDS.

Anyway, this "news" - and Kidwa's allegations - are a bit old. From the New York Times, November 23, 2004:

Yasser Arafat's death remained a mystery Monday when his nephew said he could not rule out that the Palestinian leader had been poisoned.

Two hours after receiving his uncle's medical records, 558 pages long, from the French authorities, Nasser al-Kidwa told reporters that according to the files no trace of any known poison had been found in Arafat's body.

But he insisted that a "question mark" remained over the exact cause of Arafat's death Nov. 11 in Paris and was likely to remain for some time.

"We don't have proof that it was a case of poisoning, and we don't have proof that it wasn't," Kidwa, the Palestinian envoy at the United Nations, said at a news conference in the French capital.

While he stressed that Palestinian officials trusted the French doctors who treated Arafat during his last 12 days and accepted that toxicology tests ruled out any known poisons, Kidwa refused to exclude the possibility that other, unknown substances played a role in Arafat's death.

"I am not asserting anything, but we are not in a position to exclude anything," he said.

This is in contrast to comments from the Palestinian foreign minister, Nabil Shaath, who said the night before Arafat died at the Percy Military Training Hospital outside Paris that doctors had ruled out poisoning "completely."

Kidwa said the truth about Arafat's death was not just a matter for one person or one family, but for all Palestinians.

"The Palestinian people have the right to know," he said, pledging to share the medical report with the Palestinian leadership "as soon as possible."

When Arafat arrived in France for treatment at the end of October, his aides disclosed that he had a low count of platelets, which aid blood clotting, and a high count of white blood cells. They later revealed that the Palestinian leader suffered a brain hemorrhage that sent him into a coma.

Medical experts say the low platelet count makes hemorrhages more likely, but it is unclear what condition caused Arafat's platelet count to be low in the first place. A wide range of illnesses, from cancer to liver disease, could be consistent with such a condition.

And today, even with all the press rehashing things we knew for seven years, Palestine Todayreports:

Kidwa said during a ceremony last night to commemorate the seventh anniversary of the death of Arafat, "We renew our conviction of the responsibility of" Israel "for poisoning Arafat, but we recognize we have failed to get a definitive answer."
So expect to see identical news stories next year, and the year after....