Yassir Arafat and the HIV mystery

Scott Kessler ('09)/ Eastside World Issues Editor

arafat mug shotYassir Arafat’s official reason for death has long been recognized as poison, which until recently, was the only reason for his death. According to news reports, Arafat may also have had HIV, the virus that AIDS mutates from, before his death. Conflicting admissions from Arafat’s former doctor, terrorists inside of PLO and other officials, along with the confidentiality of the autopsy report on Arafat make it hard to know the truth.

“When Abu Mazen came to Damascus with his team, I asked them: ‘What happened to the investigation into the death of Abu Amar [Arafat’s nom de guerre]? The Israelis killed him. He was my colleague ever since 1965 and used to sleep at my home. He and I followed the same path,'” Secretary-general of the Palestinian Front for the Liberation of Palestine General Command Ahmed Jibril said. “They were silent, and then one of them said to me: ‘To be honest, the French gave us the medical report, that stated that the cause of Abu Ammar’s death was AIDS.’ I am not saying this, they did.”

Arafat may have had a secret homosexual life before the AIDS outbreak in the 1980s, leading to the thought of him having HIV or AIDS before his death. A former Romanian Intelligence officer claims to have bugged and successfully caught Arafat on tape having relations with a male bodyguard. Arafat’s doctor denies anything related to AIDS, deeming the reports false, saying that his own tests on Arafat turned up no traces of HIV or AIDS.

Many still believe that Arafat died of a poison administered by an Israel agent or assassin. “It was easy to poison him in the ear, because he was under siege and he used to receive many people and he used to hug them to kiss them and my assumption is that the perpetrator carried a small balloon of gas and he could blow it in Arafat’s ear,” said Ahmed Abdel Rahman, who worked closely with Arafat. Some think that the agent also infected Arafat with HIV to cover up the poison, so that it could not be treated. This assertion, just like the HIV one, cannot be proven without the official report from France.

“Neither the Palestinian, nor the French report arrived to conclusive results regarding the causes of Arafat’s illness and death,” PA Prime Minister Ahmed Qurei said regarding his government’s official investigation. “The reports did not prove that Arafat was poisoned, but they do not void the possibility that Arafat was poisoned by an unknown kind poison.”

For the time being, the head of the Palestinian Authority’s Fatah faction, Farouk Kaddoumi, has gone to the United Nations to attempt to have the UN open an investigative case into the probable assassination of Yassir Arafat.