As for the geopolitical aspect, there was a clear Israeli decision not to kill Arafat taken in the 1970s. A much-seen photo of Arafat taken through the scope of an Israeli sniper rifle in southern Lebanon was circulated following Arafat’s 1982 evacuation from Beirut. If Israel had wanted to kill Arafat, it had numerous opportunities to do so when it mattered, not at the end of his career when he was largely discredited.
Incidentally, the Israelis-poisoned-him theme has been used repeatedly in the case of others. The Palestinian leader Faisal Husseini and the publishing mogul Robert Maxwell immediately come to mind. This kind of thing is merely a modern-day version of the The Protocols of the Elders of Zion.
What about the, one might call it, opposite conspiracy theory, that Arafat died of AIDS? I’ve looked into the Arafat-as-active-homosexual and AIDS stories for many years as well as interviewed key intelligence people in several countries. I have never heard any evidence — or even spoken to those working professionally on Arafat who believed it — that these rumors were true.
Again, for a 75-year-old man who took no care of himself, had lousy doctors, overworked himself, was somewhat obese, had severe internal injuries from a plane crash, ate a terrible diet, and lived under poor conditions to die is not exactly a surprising thing that requires a bizarre explanation with the only “proof” being clumsily forged.
The Middle East is, of course, the place where conspiracy theories abound. Yet what can one say of those in the West who swallow every slander on Israel they are fed by Fatah, Hamas, and the new-age ideologues and bloggers whether or not any evidence is provided or even logical sense is made? Would that all of this kind of behavior be buried and never dug up again.