On November 11, 2004, Arafat died in Paris. He was 75. In early October he took ill. On October 29, he was flown to France's Percy Military Hospital. Doctors examining him couldn't diagnose his illness.
On November 3, he slipped into a coma. Eight days later he was dead. French doctors prepared a 558-page report. They claimed death from blood disorder complications.
They likely concealed what they knew. They described what they called "disseminated intravascular coagulation (DIC)." It causes malignancy and infection, they said.
They claimed his blood vessels exhibited small clots. They deplete platelets and clotting factors needed to control bleeding. It can cause death by hemorrhaging.
They also called DIC a secondary condition. In other words, it wasn't the main cause of his illness or death. Something else was responsible. That issue was left unanswered.
Arafat's personal physician, Dr. Ashraf Al Kurdi, believed very likely he was poisoned. At the time, nothing was done to confirm it. Kurdi said Abbas blocked an autopsy. He had coverup in mind.
"They didn't want to do it," said Kurdi. "When you talked to them about an autopsy they would get fits. (Abbas) said it would disturb relations with France."
In suspected criminal cases, autopsies are automatic. Given the strong possibility that Arafat was poisoned, failure to determine cause of death was unconscionable.
In August 2007, Haaretz headlined "Arafat's doctor: There was HIV in his blood, but poison killed him," saying:
Kurdi said "the virus had been injected into (his) bloodstream close to his death, and that the real cause of (his) death was poison."
Kurdi was Arafat's personal physician for 18 years. He explained that he'd "usually be summoned to attend to (him) immediately, even when all he had was a simple cold."
"But when his medical situation was really deteriorating, they chose not to call me at all." He was denied access to his body after he died. He wanted France to set up an inquiry commission.
On September 9, 2005, he said "any doctor would tell you that (Arafat's condition exhibited) symptoms of poisoning."
Haaretz added that "Arab journalists and opinion-shapers have repeatedly accused Israel under former prime minister Ariel Sharon of poisoning Arafat."
On July 4, Al Jazeera headlined "Arafat's widow (Suha) calls to exhume his body," saying: