Fourth, the claims that Arafat was poisoned by Israel using some exotic radioactive means has been made from the day Arafat was planted but have always faded away, at least internationally, because no evidence was offered. Old fables are being treated like new revelations. Such claims of Zionist conspiracies are always promoted in order to slander and discredit Israel when just about anyone significant dies in the Arab world.
Fifth, if Arafat had been poisoned by radioactive substances his symptoms would have been extreme and evident. Moreover, Arafat would have died really fast, but he lingered for a long time.
The history of this myth shows that it is the Palestinian leadership, not Israel, that has something to hide, that has kept everything secret. I suspect the secret is the incompetence of his own doctors.
So did Arafat die of AIDs? After my own serious research on this matter I could find no evidence for this assertion. And I know that both Israeli and U.S. intelligence had no evidence that Arafat was homosexual either. The rumor began with an article by Oriana Fallaci whose only evidence was that his bodyguards at the time were extremely handsome young men. (By the time I was seeing him in the 1990s that was certainly not true at all.)
Of course, Arafat was a weird person and in our biography, Arafat: A Political Biography, Judith Colp Rubin and myself explain his psychology and personality. One of my favorite Palestinian jokes about Arafat recounts that he is patting the head of a little girl and asks her, “Whose daughter are you?”
She answers, “Yours.” Arafat was considered by his countrymen to be so cold that he didn’t recognize his own begotten daughter. The story is almost plausible.
But I repeat: there is no reason to think Arafat was a homosexual or died of AIDs. He was overweight, ate an unhealthy diet, worked long hours, didn’t take care of himself (he believed eating honey would keep him healthy), and had very bad doctors despite their local reputations.
So we know who killed Arafat: his doctors, entourage, movement, and of course his own body. Yet when I go to Yahoo what do I see but Arafat’s “mysterious” death as the lead story in the entire world, as if any accusation made against Israel must be true.
Note: Here’s a history of the Israel-killed-Arafat tale in Palestinian Media Watch.
About the Author: Professor Barry Rubin is director of the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center and editor of the Middle East Review of International Affairs (MERIA) Journal. See the GLORIA/MERIA site at www.gloria-center.org.
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