Roger L. Simon

Arafat Deathwatch - Is he already dead?

According to Debka, Israeli TV is on alert in case the Palestinian caudillo does not last the night. Obviously the situation is grave. Temporary leaders have been nominated. His wife Suha is on her way back from Paris. (Does this mean a major vacancy at the Hotel Bristol?) The one thing I dread about Arafat’s death is all the phony encomiums to a man with so much blood on his hands. What will happen to the hundreds of millions of looted aid money distributed in secret bank accounts around the world?

MORE: According to Maariv International, Abu Ala and Abu Mazen – both more moderate than the incumbent – are coordinating to take over the leadership. Who knows if this will hold against Fatah, Hamas, et al?

As for the Jerusalem PostDr. Mustafa Barghouti, a cardiologist who visited PA Chairman Yasser Arafat Wednesday night, told the Jerusalem Post that Arafat is currently conscious and doctors are tying to determine whether he can fulfill his duties.

Normally this would be code for the death of a dictator while the succession is being worked out (See Stalin, Andropov, etc.). I think it highly ironic that Arafat fades from view the day after his arch-nemesis Sharon’s greatest triumph – defeating his adversaries within Likud and gaining approval of the Gaza withdrawal plan.

UPDATE: Charles suspects the same result.