Roger L. Simon

Arafat in Decline

He’s in intensive care, according to Haaretz – and they are usually pretty accurate about these things.

The deterioration was said to be sudden and unexpected. The cause of Arafat’s disorder is viral, making it difficult to treat with medicine. French doctors treating him had earlier ruled out leukemia.

French authorities have also made it clear that they would not violate Arafat’s medical confidentiality by disclosing the diagnosis. I agree. At this point, there is no reason. Meanwhile, according to Debka, the various factions back in the West Bank are already assuming their caudillo will not return. The recent suicide bombing may have been a salvo fired by the DFLP in this battle. At a moment like this, it is a good thing there is no Ohio legal brouhaha to distract President Bush. The full involvement of the US will be needed to avoid a bloodbath and possibly even advance peace. Stranger things have happened. There may be a window of opportunity.

UPDATE: Arafat’s apparently in a coma. Mahmoud Abbas has canceled a planned trip to Paris as the PLO convenes.