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Arafat's health failing


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Arafat's health seriously deterioration


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Palestinian Authority chairman Yasser Arafat

Photo: AP






Palestinian officials and doctors rushed to the Mukata in Ramallah Wednesday evening amid reports that Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat was seriously ill.


A senior PA official told The Jerusalem Post that Arafat, who has been ill for nearly two weeks, was facing difficulties breathing.


The official refused to confirm or deny reports that Arafat, 75, had lost consciousness. CNN quoted sources as saying that Arafat has been unable to keep food down for the past ten days and has been vomiting repeatedly.


However, Arafat spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeineh late Wednesday night said Arafat's condition is stable, Israel Radio reported. Ahmed Qurei and Abu Mazen have left the Mukata. President Mubarak of Egypt is sending a medical team to Ramallah on Thursday morning, Rudeineh said.


Suha Arafat, Yasser Arafat's wife will be allowed to visit her husband on Thursday. Shaul Mofaz has allowed Mrs. Arafat's entry into Ramallah, Israel Radio reported.


A source in Arafat's office said preparations were underway to transfer the PA chairman to a local hospital in Ramallah for urgent surgery. An ambulance has also arrived at the Mukata.


PA Prime Minister Ahmed Qurei and former prime minister Mahmoud Abbas were among several officials summoned to Arafat's compound. This is the second time Abbas has been summoned to the Mukata in the past week. Rudeineh said the two top officials had left the Mukata late Wednesday night.


The Palestinian Authority has not yet requested permission from the IDF to allow Arafat to leave his compound to seek treatment, but Israel announced Wednesday night that its previous authorization to allow Arafat to leave the compund and seek medical treatment at Ramallah Hospital still stands.


Palestinian Foreign Minister Nabil Sha'ath, speaking to CNN from Geneva, said he was trying to get Arafat on the phone. "He has no diabetes, no blood sickness whatsoever and his blood pressure is normal. We are all praying for his health," Sha'ath said.


Doctors in Ramallah announced that medical tests have shown that the PA chairman does not have cancer. The diagnosis, confirmed by a blood test, comes a day after a hospital official said Arafat had a large gallstone. Sources close to Arafat said he spent most of Wednesday lying in bed and did not receive visitors. "He's still very weak, but he's slowly recovering," said one source.


The sources said Arafat's aides have asked for medical teams from Arab countries to arrive in Ramallah by Thursday, most likely from Tunisia and Egypt. Three Tunisian doctors arrived last week and have been monitoring the Palestinian leader. PA officials said this week that Arafat was recovering from flu.


The director of the Ramallah hospital arrived at the Mukata, Palestinians reported.


Muhammed Dahlan is also said to be on his way to see Arafat.


Yasser Arafat's latest health problems come at a time of unprecedented political and security instability in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, raising fears that his death could trigger a bloody power struggle among the top brass of the Palestinian leadership.


A day after undergoing an endoscopy test, Yasser Arafat was forced on Tuesday to break his Ramadan fast in order to receive medication and liquids.


PA officials who visited Arafat made every effort to play down the severity of his illness, saying he had been diagnosed with a large gallstone and was on his way to full recovery. The officials dismissed as "lies" reports that Arafat was suffering from stomach cancer.


Prime Minister Ahmed Qurei said Arafat was not in a life-threatening situation, but needed more time to rest and recover. According to Qurei, Arafat is expected to resume his normal activities "within a few days."


However, one of Arafat's aides was less optimistic, saying it was too early to predict when and if he would be back to work. "It could be days or weeks before he resumes his marathon, round-the-clock meetings," the aide added. "I doubt if he will ever be able to work 18 hours a day, as he has done for decades. Clearly, he now needs a lot of medical attention."


Arafat's failing health has once again raised the question about the identity of his successor. Arafat has always run the PLO and the PA as a one-man show, refusing to share powers with any official and blocking the emergence of a possible successor.






I'm hearing on Sean Hannity that he's heard some reports Arafat could have died.

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Who cares.


They've been at each other's throats for centuries. Just insert another fruit loop and let it further degenerate from there.


Although I'm sure a new figurehead will reignite another round of completely futile peace attempts, which will mean nothing more than another opportunity for the US to waste some extra money on both sides.

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