Arafat blames Israeli media of publishing false information about his health condition
Dr. Ashraf Kurdi, Yasser Arafat’s Jordanian doctor, on Thursday told Al Bawaba that the PA leader is denying any deterioration in his health and the alleged mild heart-attack he was struck with, and instead has attacked the Israeli press for their accusations saying “the Israeli press is who infected me with the disease (accusing them of fabricating the story).”
Kurdi, the former Jordanian Minister of Health and Arafat’s personal doctor for twenty years, confirmed that he personally called Arafat last night to enquire about his health after hearing in the media reports on the ‘worrying’ state that he was in. According to Kurdi, Arafat denied the reports to him over the phone saying, “I do not suffer from a thing.”
Kurdi, speaking to Al Bawaba, said “despite the fact that I am fully aware of Arafat’s (74) health conditions, what I heard in the press really worried me and so I decided to call him just to make sure he was alright.”
Kurdi added “I asked Arafat to tell me more about his condition, however he told me that he was doing fine and that it was the Israeli media that has infected him with this so called disease.”
Kurdi, in the same conversation, also enquired about the Egyptian delegation of doctors that were sent over from Egypt for Arafat’s health. According to Kurdi, Arafat stated that they were sent over by Hosni Mubarak personally once he learnt [from the media] about his deteriorating health.”
According to some reports, an Egyptian team of doctors had arrived in Ramallah to administer Arafat’s health after a flood of Israeli press reports accused the Palestinian leader’s health of being ‘grave’ following a ‘serious infection’. However, Palestinian sources have come out to deny the accusations, saying the Palestinian is ‘exhausted’ and does not suffer any ‘serious illness’.
Kurdi also told Al Bawaba that “Arafat tried to persuade the Egyptian leader not to send over his team of doctors; however the Egyptian leader - Mubarak - insisted that they go ahead.”
Kurdi believes that the reason why he appears very weak on TV is due to the mental and physical exhaustion and stress that he has to live under on a daily basis. Kurdi also is not surprised by his appearance, stating “the man leaves in a sorry state…I am surprised he made this far as no human can live under the conditions he lives under.” When asked about those conditions, Kurdi noted that “He sleeps in a room that is one meter by one and a half meters…a lot of the time the electricity and water goes out, and the room does not usually receive enough oxygen and fresh air. His room is also quite heavily trafficked by people working for him.”
Kurdi, who visited the Palestinian leader last month, said that Arafat only suffers from an acute gastronomic infection.
Earlier, the Tel Aviv-based Maariv daily reported in its headline story that the life of Arafat is in danger due to his suffering from severe illness. Citing "Israeli intelligence sources", the newspaper said Arafat suffers from gastritis - a mild irritation, inflammation, or infection of the stomach lining. Gastritis may be caused by bacterial or viral infections.
Arafat has been ill for more than a week, and some of his aides are expressing serious concerns about his condition.
A senior PA official told The Jerusalem Post that despite his illness, Arafat received a Turkish delegation in his office on Wednesday. "I can't say that there is a real improvement in his condition," the official said. "Unfortunately, he continues to be very ill."
Another official, however, said there was a "slight improvement" in Arafat's health.
On Wednesday, PA officials denied a report in a British newspaper according to which Arafat suffered a mild heart attack last week.
Nabil Abu Rudaineh, Arafat's spokesman, said Arafat is feeling well and accused "hostile elements" of spreading rumors about his health. (Albawaba.com)
© 2003 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)