Recent reports have some speculating — most prominently his widow — that the late PLO President Yasir Arafat may have died from illicit poisoning.
Larry Ben-David (NOT the Israeli version of Larry David) argues in The Times of Israel that the claim is a distraction from the clear probability that Arafat died of AIDS:
Less romantic and mythical, however, is the more likely cause of Arafat’s death – AIDS.
Arafat’s sexual proclivities have been an open secret for years. The former head of Rumanian intelligence, Lt. Gen. Ion Mihai Pacepa , disclosed in his book “Red Horizons,” that one of his officers reported, “the ‘Fedayee’ [Arafat’s code name] is in his bedroom making love to his bodyguard. The one I knew was his latest lover. He’s playing tiger again. The officer monitoring his microphones connected me live with the bedroom, and the squawling almost broke my eardrums. Arafat was roaring like a tiger, and his lover yelping like a hyena.”
In an in-depth 1976 biography of Arafat, writer Thomas Kiernan chronicled the life of a young Arafat in Cairo. When Arafat discovered his girlfriend, Jinan al-Oraby, was friendly with the daughters of the Harkabis, an Egyptian Jewish family, he arranged for the murder of their father. When Jinan expressed sorrow for her friends, “Yasser went into a rage… he proceeded to beat me, tearing my clothes off…he threw himself on me… He tried to penetrate me, but he could not do so. This made him even more irrational.”
Kiernan also relates Arafat’s relationship with a boy, Ahmed, whose parents ended up on the Israeli side of the border after the 1948 war. An associate of Arafat’s related, “Yasser tried to get the boy to publicly denounce his parents…Yasser really loved the boy. He was delicate, sensitive, like a flower. He was very much a part of Yasser’s inner circle – four of five boys who lived in the same place, and well, you can imagine what I mean.”
Kiernan continued: Arafat held a “kind of formal hearing for the boy” because of his refusal to denounce his parents. “Arafat sobbed and sobbed as [a young associate] proceeded to castrate the boy. The next day the boy was dead.”
Arafat’s own personal doctor shares this opinion: