Roger L. Simon

No News Is Bad News on the Arafat Front

According to Agence France Presse we’re not going to learn much about Yasser Arafat’s condition today:

“There is no change one way or another compared to the health bulletin issued Friday,” said General Christian Estripeau, the spokesman for France’s military medical service.

No statement to the press is planned for Saturday, he added.

On Friday General Estripeau had said outside the hospital treating the 75-year-old Palestinian leader near Paris that Arafat’s health had “not deteriorated” and was considered stable.

So’s Voltaire’s… Meanwhile, in the land of the living, Haaretz reports negotiations in progress that seem to contradict the alarmist Maariv report of yesterday (see below):

As Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat remained close to death in a French military hospital, Palestinian Prime Minister Ahmed Qureia and his predecessor Mahmoud Abbas began taking on some of the powers held by the long-time Palestinian leader, a senior Palestinian official said Saturday.
Top Arafat aid Tayeb Abdul Rahim confirmed Saturday that the PA leader’s responsibilities have been divided between Qureia and Abbas, as has been reported in the media over the past several days.

Currently, Qureia holds economic and security powers within the PA and Abbas inherited power within the Palestine Liberation Organization from Arafat.