Arab rulers ‘boycotted’ Yasser Arafat in last months of his life

Palestinian supporters of Fatah raise a poster of the late leader Yasser Arafat, November 2021 (AFP)

Mohammad Ayesh

Al-Jazeera  /  November 7, 2022

Arab rulers boycotted former Palestinian President Yasser Arafat in the last months of his life and no one contacted him, according to a leaked document related to investigations into his death.

The document, published by the Palestinian Safa news agency on Sunday, revealed that then Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak was the last Arab leader to call him, asking him to step down.

The leaked file reveals details about what leaders of the Palestinian Authority and Fatah movement said to the investigation committee, which was formed in October 2010, six years after Arafat’s death.

Nabil Abu Rudeineh, Arafat’s former adviser, said that Mubarak told Arafat: “The call may be recorded… and I advise you to hand over power and I know what I am talking about.”

According to Abu Rudeineh, no Arab president contacted Arafat thereafter, and they “completely abandoned” him.

The adviser said that Arafat requested some Arab leaders to provide the Palestinian Authority with money to pay salaries, but that “their responses were shameful” according to documents. 

Arafat died in a hospital in France in November 2004 after developing stomach pains while at his headquarters in the West Bank city of Ramallah.

A 108-page report by the Swiss Institute found unnaturally high levels of polonium in Arafat’s ribs and pelvis, and in soil stained with his decaying organs.

Mohammad Ayesh is an Arab journalist currently based in London